Salmon Ladder and Falls
Spirit of The Highlands Collection
Paul Taggart Masterworks
Oils on Gesso'd Wood Panel
Available for Private Purchase : POA
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) 82cm[w] x 108cm[h]
FRAME - Hand-made by Frinton Frames. 120mm wide frame. Featuring several, ornate, running patterns with corner decoration of Agapanthus leaves – gesso covered moulding, white base hand-painted with red & green highlights, +light pale gold highlights, finished with light grey wash. Inner slip-edge finished in cream.
“As a child my imagination was fired by a small sculptured egg, in which was encapsulated a miniature village scene. The fascination with a world-within-a-world has begun to re-emerge in several of my latest paintings; in which I set out to create a landscape that is complete within itself, a world-within-a-frame.
The most successful of my miniatures possess this quality and now this work, ‘Salmon Ladder & Falls’, follows in their footsteps – although on a much grander scale.
COMPOSITION - Sunlight hits the tree line at the top of the composition and filters into the damp river gorge below, with its cool lights and multitude of luminous greens.
Technically, this painting presented a not inconsiderable challenge. With the top of the view exposed to full sunlight, the rest of the scene would normally appear in shadowy gloom. Therefore, the balance of light, value and colour needed to be incredibly delicate; especially since the luminosity of the greens across the floor of the chasm was something I was also determined to capture.
To successfully paint the waterfall, I first had to fully understand the nature of the rocks beneath, in order to describe the water’s character, as it rolled, tumbled and cascaded. Equally, the structure of the salmon ladder had to be determined, before the swirls and eddies of the water it contained could be successfully rendered.
Layer upon layer of paint was necessary for there is no other way to produce the qualities of depth required. So complex was the task that I had to dig deep into my repertoire of techniques and in the process of adapting some, developed a number of new methods.
Grasp of advance perspective is fundamental in such a composition - for although you the viewer are looking down the salmon ladder, your gaze is then drawn from the base of the waterfall up its full height to the head of the cascade.
Furthermore, the scale and dominance of the bridge needed to be carefully weighed against the waterfall, so that it would enhance rather than overpower the latter.
There are in fact two compositions in one.
The finished result, I am pleased to say, is something with which I am delighted and represents one of those special moments in my life as a professional artist.
METHOD & TECHNIQUE - the traditional techniques I employ in my oil paintings involve a succession of layers. 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.
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.
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.
As always, we thank you for reading and watching, with best wishes from Eileen and myself,”
Artist : Author : Presenter : Producer