‘Shimmering Light’- an exhibition of new paintings by Jamie Primrose capturing his favourite walks and waterways around Edinburgh at the Dundas Street Gallery

“The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.

Seascape … it changes at every instant, the weather varies several times in the same day.  It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way”.

Claude Monet

As well as depicting the wild natural beauty of the Hebridean islands and the lush, languid Mediterranean coastline, Jamie Primrose is renowned for his paintings around Edinburgh.  Each of his biannual exhibitions takes us on a different journey of discovery observing new perspectives from city streets to the seashore, where he is “continually obsessed with investigating ephemeral light.”

This new collection of over 50 original oil paintings, ‘Shimmering Light’ was completed over the past year focussing on a theme inspired by favourite and familiar childhood haunts across North Edinburgh: Inverleith Park, Royal Botanic Garden, Water of Leith, Cramond, Newhaven, Portobello and the Forth Bridges spanning the Firth of Forth.   

Shimmering Light on the Botanic Pond, Jamie Primrose

The glorious golden, lime-green and amber shades of the leaves and scattering of Monet waterlilies floating like flowering boats, against a baby blue sky in Shimmering Light on the Botanics Pond.

Across the road from the RBGE is Inverleith Park with its real Swan Lake – there are three cygnets this year.  This large boating pond is painted from different views to study the avenue of trees as well as south over the city.

Here, a flurry of white wispy Spring Afternoon Clouds over Inverleith Pond scurry across the azur sky with such delicate luminosity and detailed clarity. This is an extraordinary panorama leading the eye from the reflection on the dappled water over the rugby ground to Stockbridge and the far horizon with the Castle Rock and the round mound of Arthur’s Seat.

Spring Afternoon Clouds over Inverleith Pond

Very much a trademark of Primrose’s painterly style is a range of sunsets following the slow shifting hues of dusky light, shade and shadow.   

Amongst other boating scenes of this old fishing port, Winter Sunset over Newhaven Harbour is a majestic painting which simply sizzles in a palette of coral, ochre, peach with a splash of molten gold dripping across the horizon. 

The criss-cross pattern of rose-tinted clouds and the streak of the dying sunlight glinting on the sea, like a beam from the lighthouse, has such a dramatic effect. 

In quieter mood, Last Light at Cramond, shows the row of waterfront white-washed houses and bare winter trees under a chilly, dark sky suggesting the threat of rain. The glimmer of soft pink rays on the water is a painterly snapshot of this specific moment in time, akin to the click of a camera shutter for a photograph.

Moving away from this finely crafted realism, Twilight Skies over Cramond, is a mesmerising burst of indigo and orange with a sharp shaft of yellow casting a white pool of light on the waves, framing the shapely silhouette of distant hills.

This semi abstract seascape, blending layered blocks of rainbow colours, offers a fresh experimental style with Rothko-esque vivacity and verve.

Take a trip too in the early morning and the end of the day along the Water of Leith, the Shore in Leith, Portobello beach and along to Queensferry to view the three iconic rail and road bridges, in many other evocative, richly colourful compositions.

For instance, this is a wonderful view of the river walk past the weir near the Dean Village, where the sunlight glints through the trees to sparkle on the water in Reflections on the Water of Leith.

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of his professional art career in 2013, Jamie Primrose presented a retrospective exhibition, ‘Reflections on a City’ at the Dovecot Studios.  In my review, I wrote that he had “perfected a precise artistic palette to create his own distinctive landscapes which show a true passion for the city of Edinburgh”.

In this charming exhibition, Primrose continues to follow in the brushstrokes of Monet, Cezanne, Pissarro et al, to capture the natural world through the daily shifting, shimmering quality of light from dawn to dusk with such a tangible sense of place through his masterly impressionistic style.

There is a accompanying Video which has been edited and crafted brilliantly, moving seamlessly from film footage of these locations to images of the associated paintings.  A magical wee movie with a soundtrack piano music and lapping waves to create a delightful, dreamlike atmosphere. 

Shimmering Light:  4th June to 12th June:

No appointment necessary – just walk in

Restricted number of visitors at one time with health and safety precautions in place.

The Dundas Street Gallery
6a Dundas Street, Edinburgh

Thursday 10th June, 11am – 6pm
Friday 11th June, 11am – 6pm
Saturday 12th June, 11am – 5pm

View images on line:


Shimmering Light video tour of Edinburgh locations and paintings.

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About vivdevlin

I am an international travel writer, specialising in luxury travel, hotels, restaurants, city guides, cruises, islands, train and literary-inspired journeys. I review dance and theatre, Arts Festivals and love the visual arts. I have just experienced an epic voyage, circumnavigating the globe, following in the wake of Captain Cook, Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson.

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