Little Gems Collection
Paul Taggart Miniature Masterworks
Oils on Gesso'd Wood Panel
Private Collector Ownership
Frame Size (outer) 28cm[w] x 28cm[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 creative sanctuary in which I produce works of art such as this miniature oil painting on a gesso panel.
For our 2012 Christmas Special we celebrated one of the many amazing life-cycles that permeate our annual lives in the Northern Highlands of Scotland.
In the mid 2010’s, work had been completed on our longed-for private studio, a lovingly restored stone ‘steading’ in our garden; which, for many years, had been adopted as the nursery for a breeding pair of swallows. Every year in Spring, we are privileged to welcome many tens of these aerobatic wonders as they announce their arrival – looping the loop, swooping, ducking and diving at colossal speeds through our trees, chattering and twittering away as they do so.
It always seems to us as if the large flock are checking out any changes we have made from the previous year; seemingly to give their approval to the pair that intends to make our garden their home for the six months residency. Settling on the ridge of the steading tin roof, the couple take possession of our garden with a surge of chattering, our signal that life will be starting anew in the not-too-distant future. From that day on we are accompanied everywhere in the garden by the resident couple as they swoop and dart around us, twittering away in conversation – they seem to particularly enjoy ‘teasing’ me as I work my grass mower.
Most spectacular is the evening aerobatic display, when the entire flock gathers to ‘hoover’ up the myriad flies – helping to keep our garden a relatively fly-free zone. We wouldn’t be without it.
SUBJECT - But for us the crowning glory of this yearly migration are the two broods and on the particular year depicted here, the first brood was seven strong, the second, three strong. We were there to witness their first hesitant flights and on this particular day, were getting quite worried. It was the morning of one of our summer parties and these three little ones showed absolutely no intention of flitting the safety of the nest; which had been constructed on one of the trusses within the steading.
Plans to relocate the barbecue, the Jenga challenge and our garden games was looking likely; but, as if to keep us on our toes until the very last minute, there was a stirring and out they popped. First one, then the next and finally the third, hopped from one roof beam to the next – will they, won’t they, we debated? A final flurry of feathers and then they were through the stone window opening; perching on the fence post for one last look at their first ‘homestead’, before taking to the wing for their ‘first flight’.
METHOD – these miniature Masterworks oil paintings are created in exactly the same manner as my larger paintings; using traditional techniques, which are progressively worked through in 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, with glazes and tints used extensively to enrich and subtly enliven the oil painting – it is through these techniques that the ‘art’ of oil painting comes into its own.
But what of the Swallows previous sanctuary? Where do they settle now that we have made the stone steading our creative sanctuary?
We are thrilled to report that our feathered friends continue to return and this year (2023) they safely built their nest as usual, within the deep recesses of one of the original windows.
As always, we thank you for reading and watching, with best wishes from Eileen and myself,”
Artist : Author : Presenter : Producer