It was exactly a year ago this week when Jamie Primrose staged his 10th Anniversary exhibition entitled Reflections on a City. Wandering around the Dovecot Studios, was like taking an inspiring stroll around Edinburgh itself - Classic architecture, tree-lined parks, the Shore, Leith.
In my review, I wrote that Primrose had, during the past decade,
“perfected a precise artistic palette to create his own distinctive impressionistic landscapes … which show a true passion for the city of Edinburgh”.
It is particularly apt and timely that his new exhibition, "Light and Shade" takes place in the week in which we commemorate the birthday of Robert Louis Stevenson on 13 November.
The locations - East Lothian to the Royal Mile and New Town - are exactly the places which RLS would have known so well, from his home on Heriot Row up the Mound to the University, with summer holidays in North Berwick.
“ … nets a-drying, a smell of fish, a genial smell of seaweed; whiffs of blowing sand at the street-corners; shops with golf-balls and bottled lollipops; such, as well as memory serves me, were the ingredients of the town."
The Lantern Bearers, RLS, 1892
Seaweed and salt sea air is clearly evoked in “Clouds sweeping over North Berwick” and other beach scenes at Tyninghame and Yellowcraig. The expanse of sky, sunlight piercing through rain-heavy clouds, a sandy shore, waves lapping over rocks, the shimmering islands of Fidra and Bass Rock.
At the other side of the gallery, see Edinburgh through the seasons. It is quite extraordinary that Primrose can return again and again to the same or similar city views, but his artist’s eye observes the scene with a distinctively fresh perspective.
As he says, he is “continually obsessed with investigating ephemeral light ..” in his paintings.
In particular, a series showing the skyline at dusk emphasise a vibrant use of pure colour contrasting with the darkness of nightfall. “Twilight approaching over the City” features the shadowy silhouette of church spires under an amber and mauve sky, its textured pattern like snakeskin. Stand well back to see the best effect of these dramatic panoramas.
Primrose has revealed that the city’s best secret is the Water of Leith - the curving river bank from Stockbridge to Dean Village in soft afternoon light. Here too is The Meadows, blossoming in Springtime and in golden Autumn; Inverleith Place covered in winter snow.
A black and white Indian ink drawing “Morning Light on India Street is a fine composition: Tall Georgian townhouses, rough stone cobbles with delicate shafts of sunlight beautifully sums up the title of the exhibition.
Private Commissions are also welcome - perhaps a favourite landscape or your own street. Limited Edition Prints available too - the ideal Christmas present.
I think Robert Louis Stevenson would have been enchanted with such a subtle sense of place captured in these tranquil seascapes and the timeless beauty of his beloved city:
“The New Town of Edinburgh seems … not only gay and airy, but highly picturesque. It is what Paris ought to be.. these gardens in the cool of the evening .. to see the moon rise from behind Arthur's Seat and shine upon the spires and monuments and the green tree-tops in the valley.” Picturesque Notes, RLS 1879.
Dundas Street Gallery
Friday 7th - Saturday 15th November, 2014
Monday to Friday, 11am-6pm.
Saturday and Sunday, 11am-5pm.