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First Cast

First Cast

Spirit of The Highlands Collection

Edition Size 100

£325 framed

Frame Size (outer) 68cm[w] x 50cm[h]

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“Welcome to our Highland studio and this Limited-Edition Print, published from my original Masterworks oil painting ‘First Cast, River Helmsdale’. In this painting, I capture a scene on the acclaimed fishing river Helmsdale; one of the Masterworks oil paintings in my dedicated series celebrating the glorious fishing locations around the Highlands of Scotland.

SUBJECT - it is January the 11th 2012, Eileen and I arrive at Helmsdale, where the renowned fishing river Helmsdale reaches the North Sea; having left our home an hour or so earlier in the darkest of mornings, our drive northwards being slowly bathed in the pink blush of the rising sun. We had expected a cold grey day, but instead, our visit, to capture this long-standing tradition that opens the fishing season, was blessed with the most glorious of weather. Local and worldwide visitors gathered by the old stone bridge to watch as Sir Michael Wigan and William Jappy, were escorted down the length of the village by the Sutherland Schools Pipe Band. Here, those present, were to be welcomed by Sir Michael and witness the honour of the first cast being made by William Jappy. Following which, fishermen from far and wide, would then take up their positions along the river to make their first casts of the season.

We were captivated – this was going to make for a most auspicious start to my new fishing series – for who would credit a sun-drenched day in January, filled with rainbows.

COMPOSITION & METHOD - having no idea where William Jappy was to make his first cast, I scrambled down the bank behind him, camera in hand, knowing the cast itself would take but a minute or two and I couldn’t waste any time, if I was to get a meaningful stance depicted in the composition. A delightful scene unveiled itself, as I took my position a few feet away, looking towards the bridge. There are a number of individual paintings, within this painting; each of which could have been chosen as my final composition. The low sun was playing its part, coming in from the east , bathing the far bank, it caught the underside of the bridge, as if a light had been switched on under the left hand arch; providing a magnificent frame of light for the figure, which, although detailed in its rendition, appears silhouetted against the water. The clock tower and its reflection in the flowing water provided a much-needed stop to the eye. Everything I could want for a dramatic composition, right there in front of me; heightened by the dense cloud being pushed through the scene from the south travelling eastwards, exposing a corner of blue sky to the right, which appeared to follow the contours of the rising land.

For this plethora of illumination, varying from the ticks of sparkling lights that scattered across the flowing water surface, to the full spectrum of colours exposed across the sunlit-face of the cloud, I extensively turned to the traditional art of glazing. Subtle, almost diaphanous, glazes of rich, unsullied colours were selectively applied to capture the lustrous palette of hues that permeated the dense rolling cloud. Here you can see purples, greens, yellows, oranges, reds, blues, just as you can in the reflections on the surface and within the depths of the flowing river.

All of which relies on the traditional techniques that I employ for the unique method that I have developed for my Masterworks oil paintings; a method in which I progressively and gradually work through layers from dark-to-light, a process that cannot be hurried, nor short-cuts taken. First, the underlying thinned colours of the underpainting, next the impasto stage (applied with thick brush-strokes for texture, or thinly-brushed for smoother areas, such as in this painting), with glazes and tints used extensively to enrich and subtly enliven the oil painting – it is through these techniques where the ‘art’ of oil painting comes into its own.

As always, we thank you for reading and watching, with best wishes from Eileen and myself,”

Paul Taggart

Artist : Author : Presenter : Producer

  • Only 100 prints in each edition (unless otherwise stated)

  • Limited to stated quantity

  • Individually signed by Paul Taggart

  • Individually numbered by Paul Taggart

  • Published exclusively by Paul Taggart's Studio

  • Each print individually passed by Paul Taggart

  • Printed on archival acid-free paper

  • Acid-free window mount fixed with archival tape

  • Hand-framed with polychrome 'glass' to prevent damage in transit.


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