Coastline (6-11yrs)


Artwork and Artist

'A Ground Swell, Carradale' by William McTaggart

This artwork can be found in GALLERY 16: Shoreline in Aberdeen Art Gallery. 



A Ground Swell

This painting shows a small fishing boat carrying children into a small harbour. The artist has shown the movement of the boat as it lurches on the water, buffeted by the wind.

Inside the boat are red-cheeked, curly-haired children who are enjoying their adventure and are no doubt looking forward to eating the fish that one of them gamely clings on to. 

The artist, McTaggart, was interested in nature and showing how weather can change quickly. He liked to paint 'en plein air', which means he painted outside instead of in his artist studio.

McTaggart has used lots of quick, messy brushstrokes to show the choppy movement of the sea.


Look and See

How many children are in the boat? There is an adult in the boat, but the adult is painted less clearly than the children - can you see him? What other things can you see in the painting? 



Can you think of a word, or words, that describe the weather or how the children feel in the boat?

You could act out how the water is moving or how the children are behaving in the boat too!

You can play the sound of waves to act along with:


Did you know?

The artist William McTaggart grew up by the sea in Kintyre, a western peninsula of Scotland. As a little boy, he would have been used to the smells and sounds of the sea and he loved to paint the landscape and changing weather.



Make a Paper Boat

•    Here are easy instructions on how to make a paper origami boat. 
•    You will need a rectangular piece of paper – the smaller or bigger the piece of paper, the smaller or bigger the boat will be.
•    Once you have made it, test it on some water to see if it will float! 


Have a look at some other artworks by McTaggart to the tune of 'Scarborough Fair'


Older children and adults might want to hear a little more about William McTaggart’s painting style: