Alan, Four Dogs and A Crook
Paul Taggart Miniature Masterworks
Oils on Gesso'd Wood Panel
Private Collector Ownership
Frame Size (outer) 36cm[w] x 31cm[h]
FRAME - Hand-made by Frinton Frames. 75mm wide profile. Gesso covered dome-shaped reverse moulding, hand-coloured in black and red distressed with an antique wash. Inner edge finished in cream/green.
“The Highlands of Scotland is a land steeped in history, it permeates through everyday life. Whilst each community has its own personality and characteristics, they are linked by an invisible thread, whether historical or contemporary.
Throughout the year, life is largely governed by the seasons. Fields full of grazing sheep, pastures on which cattle feed, barley for the distilleries, oats for the table, feed for the farm, hay for the winter months, straw for bedding, ponds for the wildfowl - the product of a farmer’s life. For so many, this is a life that has been handed down from father to son, spanning many generations and so it is for Alan Mackay and his family.
From childhood, I have been captivated by the contrast of light and atmosphere when walking from bright, warm sunlight into the cool darkness of a barn. Within the still silence, all exterior noise of bird or wind is immediately muted, footsteps echo and one's breathing suddenly becomes audible - which is just what I wished to portray in this painting; the idea being to have Alan and his dogs emerging from these quiet darks, into the spotlit warmth of the late afternoon sun.
See Alan Mackay and his dogs at work, shepherding Alan’s flock of sheep across a watery inlet, from their summer grazing to over-winter closer to home – in this Masterworks oil painting ‘Homeward Bound’.
The composition is triangular, with Alan at the bottom left corner, rising to its apex with the collie standing in the back of the truck, before flowing down to the right, where the eldest dog rests his head, seemingly asleep and anything but so. And the unexpected, that little bit of magic; Alan's favourite crook, lovingly carved by a friend, which forms a wonderful shadow across the foreground to complete the base line of the triangle.
Although there are many sharp focussed details throughout the painting, these are contrasted against softer areas. Note the slanted window [top left] and how the darks below are soft as the light appears to fall through the dusty air within the barn. So it is throughout the painting, where these atmospheric effects around sunlit highlights are produced with soft tints of semi-transparent colour.
Look also at the detail of Alan's fine check shirt - many hours of painting and repainting here, but an essential part of the finished painting.
As always, we thank you for reading and watching, with best wishes from Eileen and myself,”
Artist : Author : Presenter : Producer