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Erlend Tait – Aetherness

Erlend Tait is a visual artist from the Highlands of Scotland. In 1996 he received his BA Hons. in Fine Art from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen where he specialised in drawing and painting, and then spent seven years working at a leading stained glass studio learning the ancient techniques of the glass painter-stainer. Now both traditions of oil painting and stained glass inform his portraits of imagined people. Erlend exhibits his drawings, paintings and stained glass internationally. He lives on the Black Isle with his wife, the artist, Pamela Tait, with whom he also collaborates and exhibits. In 2020 he was made a Professional Member of the Society of Scottish Artists.

Artist Statement

In recent years I’ve been creating portraits of imagined people. A two-dimensional image can transport the viewer (and maker) to an imaginary place, and I’m most interested in the people who inhabit these odd worlds.

As I start a piece, I often don’t know exactly how I want this mystery person to look and therefore a lot of my time is spent readjusting the features of a face. When working in fine detail it can be difficult to see anyone emerging, then I come back from a break and see a personality evolving into a kind of familiar stranger.

My main tools are brushes and I work mostly with oil paints on either linen or smooth panels. I also paint on glass using the ancient techniques I learned as a stained glass artist, and although both mediums are very different, the working processes complement each other in many ways.

For this show I’ve been looking to the night sky, and I’m finding that isolation and communication are becoming common themes in my work. Although I don’t always know what I’m trying to convey, I’m hopeful that the works I’m presenting share a sense of optimism.

Read our interview with Erlend to get an insight into his process.