Highland Heritage Collection
Paul Taggart Miniature Masterworks
Oils on Gesso'd Wood Panel
Available for Private Purchase £9,750
This original Masterworks oil painting is exclusively available for purchase through Paul Taggart’s studio. If you are interested in discussing a possible purchase please click here to message us privately and we will be pleased to make contact to take it from there.
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.
"Welcome to our Highland studio and this Masterworks ‘Bonspiel #1’, one of four oil paintings in the suite, inspired by our day spent at an impromptu Bonspiel in 2009 (curling match). Having completed the first painting as a Grande Miniature, in which I concentrated on the characters and activities; the process of doing so inspired me to produce another three paintings – approached in three different ways.
On the day of the Bonspiel, we stayed for the full match and as the day progressed and the sun got lower and started to touch the top of those dark hills behind us, the light became tremendously exciting. The sky was warm and the hills were cool and so I decided that I would really like to capture this as a landscape, with the magnitude of the hills and to place all these figures within the same painting – re-arranging the composition, so that the figures now ran along the bottom of the painting, with the hills large and magnificent, behind them. To further challenge myself, I decided to place this all in a much smaller scale.
The light coming from the sun, although dramatic at the time, was almost impossible to photograph and the glow around the sun came to me much later on, when I was standing in a railway station, looking along the track - the low sun, skimming across the track, was catching the exact same light as I had seen on that day.
In this version, I wanted to show the furrows of the ploughed hillside and the way the snow creates that sculptural quality and although the silhouetted land is almost flat, it’s almost two-dimensional - the pattern on its surface gives the roundness and depths of those hills.
COMPOSITION & METHOD – each figure-packed painting in this suite was worked in ‘miniature’ style, varying in size, from what we term a Grande Miniature, down to something a lot smaller; each composition based on different criteria. These are paintings filled with light - the whole spectrum of light - offered by the low-lying sun of this Mid-Winter day.
As you will note in the reveal, the traditional techniques I employ in my oil paintings involve a succession of layers. With each layer the overall colour and balance across the entire painting is refined, in order that I can achieve the impression of space and light which I am aiming for. Layering is essential - it allows the initial build-up of texture through to the finer layers of glazes and tints. Not only this, it allows the gradual build-up of colours, from dark to light and the finishing touches of absolute highlights.
There is absolutely no rushing this process, it requires meticulous attention and considerable patience; for the paint surface must be discovered and explored - it cannot be contrived.
This is what makes painting particularly exciting for me and especially so in using traditional techniques. The result is almost inevitably a discovery, an unexpected delight that can be exploited and it is this element of the unexpected that drives me to push the limits of my work.
SUBJECT – In 2002, along with the rest of the UK, we were gripped by the unfolding excitement of a little-known sport that was being revealed at the Winter Olympics. Although around for at least 500 years; the sport itself had only returned to the Olympics four years earlier, after a break of some 70 years.
Visit the British Pathé news archive and you will find rare black and white footage of the annual Grand Match, traditionally held on the Lake of Mentieth, going back to the early 1900’s. Thousands poured onto the ice, resplendent in kilts and bonnets, to sweep the ice and throw the stones. Not since 1979 had an outdoor Grand Match taken place and although hoped-for in the ideal freezing weather of January 2010, it never came to be – the issue of crowd safety and risk assessment thwarting all plans for such a happening!
The term ‘curling’ comes from the curl of the stone as it slides across the ice and a Bonspiel describes the gathering of clans or alliances in a tournament; mostly these are now held indoors, or on specially constructed outdoor rinks. As such, an outdoor Bonspiel is now becoming an even rarer sight and is precisely what we had resigned ourselves to. For although a subject on the list of paintings to include in the ‘Spirit of the Highlands’ collection, we had all but given up any hope of chronicling such an event – that is, until in the last days of 2008, upon overhearing a chance remark from one of the local curlers at a social gathering to which we had been invited.
Which is how, a couple of days later (the first days of 2009), we found ourselves invited to witness an outdoor Bonspiel on one of the frozen fields of Morvich farm, in Sutherland, where members from a number of clubs were busily clearing the snow and preparing the ice for their required sheets (the playing area).
As always, we thank you for reading and watching, with best wishes from Eileen and myself,”
Artist : Author : Presenter : Producer
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