Spirit of The Highlands Collection
Paul Taggart Masterworks
Oils on Gesso'd Wood Panel
Available for Private Purchase £16,500
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) 74cm[w] x 44cm[h]
FRAME - Hand-made by Frinton Frames. 85mm wide frame tailored to the painting. Ribbed moulding surrounding Ivory Liner, hand coloured in Beige/Blue/Red with Light Grey Wash.
“Welcome to our Highland studio and thank you for dropping by to view my Masterworks oil painting, ‘Winter Solstice’, one of a trilogy of paintings from which we have published fund-raising prints in aid of Highland Hospice, alongside ‘Gates of Dawn’ and ‘Swan Loch’.
An uplifting view that warms the heart as the sun sets on this exceptional Winter’s day. When setting out on our fund-raising project in aid of Highland Hospice, we knew the choice of subject would have to be very carefully considered and would probably take some time to manifest itself, which some time later it did - all thanks to a last-minute trip to Inverness for various bits’n’pieces for Christmas.
SUBJECT - We have two favourite routes home - one goes through what we call the magic woods, a route saved for twilight and deep night time, so that our car headlights can pick out the lichen-draped trees. The other goes past Loch Eye, where thousands of swans and geese settle after their migration from the far North. It was three thirty in the afternoon as we drove along the single-track road, when we spotted the full moon in the cloudless sky above Rhynie Farm over the other side of Loch Eye and stopped the car.
The day was golden with the slowly setting sun. Streaming in from the right of the view it clothed the bales of hay in the field immediately in front of us and picked out the delicate tracery of the frosted stalks and weeds, which so resembled lace-work. The frozen mirrored surface of Loch Eye had been slowly melting all day, but trees in the shadows were still stiffly white. Two horses grazed contentedly in one of the fields on the opposite shore – and yes – they can be seen in the finished painting!
This was it, the perfect image for Highland Hospice that became ‘Winter Solstice’, from which we would publish the first of our fund-raising prints.
COMPOSITION - Never before had I seen the colours of field and bales so clarified and contrasted against the cool frosted hues that framed them. Unlike a covering of snow, the hard frost had not covered the ground; instead it embroidered the trees and grasses with its cold touch. The rainbow banded colours in the sky were an inspiration, overlooked by the ghost of a moon. Surely anything is possible in such a magical landscape.
In an instant I felt drawn to capture the whole expanse of this incredible scene – but the composition was by no means simple. The sky, distant hills, trees, loch and foreground grasses all fell into parallel bands across the painting. Handled badly this would have resulted in a painting with no balance, or interest to the eye.
To overcome this, I took the view from the field corner, so the perspective of the cut corn could be used to pull the viewer’s eye to the centre foreground, where the most beautiful of the frosted grasses and seed heads are placed. To the left I introduced the field gate – providing an entrance to the painting.
The irregularly placed bales now break the line of the distant field edge. Note how many variations of warm sunlight become possible on their simple geometric forms and the ever-present frosting in their cool shadows. Behind these, a gap in the trees frame the loch and the distant undulating terrain – look very carefully and you will spot the two horses grazing in the furthest field.
The distant frosted miniature landscape was a joy to paint, soft and rising up into the cold frozen sky beyond.
As always, we thank you for reading and watching, with best wishes from Eileen and myself,”
Artist : Author : Presenter : Producer