Justin Prigmore painting in his studio.
Justin Prigmore painting in his studio.

Scottish Game Fair artist: ‘I’m painting a grander side of Scotland’

Cairngorms-based artist Justin Prigmore has been selected as the Artist in Action for this year’s 30th anniversary edition of the Scottish Game Fair, taking place from 29 June to 2 July at Scone Palace.

Justin’s first task has been designing the cover for this year’s event, which is themed around the grey partridge.

‘It’s a new one for me, I’ve never done the grey partridge before and trying to find them in the wild was difficult,’ he admits. ‘Their conservation status isn’t great in Scotland either but I did manage to see them and I’m excited with what is ahead with this painting.’

Justin Prigmore painting in his studio.

Justin Prigmore painting in his studio.

Central to Justin’s work is a keen interest in conservation, which he explored by studying a master’s degree in ecology shortly after setting in the Cairngorms with his Swedish wife Carina in 2002. Carina’s paintings are also inspired by the beautiful landscapes of the Cairngorms, but crafted in a very different way from Justin’s.

While Carina layers with acrylics, using muted greys and tawny browns to capture the misty, subdued scenery of Scotland, Justin strives for realism in his paintings and prefers to play with the effects of light to bring his subjects to life.

‘I’m trying to make people feel as passionate as I do about the pieces,’ says Justin. ‘We have some amazing things here in Scotland but we need to put the effort in to protect them, and art is a great vehicle for doing that.

Carina standing in front of the beautiful Cairngorms scenery that inspires her work.

Carina standing in front of the beautiful Cairngorms scenery that inspires her work.

‘The Cairngorms is one of the last wild places in Britain and it’s certainly one of the most forested areas of Britain. Most people when they think Cairngorms they think mountains, but we’ve also got extensive areas of Caledonian forest left in this area.’

For Justin, telling the intricate stories of nature is what makes him tick.

‘I’m looking for these special moments that play out in the wild, so that’s what inspires me and gets me excited. I think I’m almost painting a grander side of Scotland, Scotland at its best, the little spectacles that happen.

‘The exciting thing about being an artist is that you can look for those stories that make the painting more than just a pretty picture. It takes it to another level,’ he explains.


Justin and Carina with Justin’s large red deer portrait ‘Monarch of Braulen’, commissioned by the owner of the estate.

Justin is currently working with the Cairngorms National Park Authority, and has been putting his efforts into capercaillie conservation for the last decade.

He believes this has been ‘instrumental’ in the development of his art, allowing him to study his subjects first-hand, while getting the opportunity to photograph this rare species with a license from Scottish Natural Heritage.

‘I’m really fortunate with my work in the Cairngorms National Park in that I can monitor the leks, where the males come to display at mating time,’ said Justin. ‘I hide the night before and I’m able to see their battle for breeding rights at dawn and capture something really unique.

‘It’s a way of raising the profile of these species and showing the public what they are all about; the capercaillie is one of the most charismatic species we have in Scotland and epitomise these ancient forests we have in Caledonia.’

The public will be able to watch Justin ‘in action’ during live demonstrations over the three-day Scottish Game Fair. The celebration of conservation and the countryside will also feature a cookery theatre, arts and crafts and the return of the Four Nations International Gundog Competition.


Justin with his latest painting of ptarmigans – one of his favourite subjects.

Justin has also been commissioned to paint a new piece for the Princes Trust auction at Gleneagles on 15 June, having sold his work last year for well over the asking price. This year’s piece, October Prime (20x20in), features a stag chasing after a hind and a big calf and Justin hopes it will fetch around £1,500 for the charity.

Another important focus for Justin is striving to meet the growing demand for his work from Scottish country clothing specialist, House of Bruar, with whom he has been partnering for the past five years.

Justin is auctioning off October Prime at Gleneagles on 15 June.

To ensure he has the space to do so, he is building a new studio to share with Carina. This will allow the couple a bigger space to host their clients, display their artwork, and continue expanding their horizons.

‘I’ve got commissions booked up now well into the middle of next year,’ says Justin. ‘I’ve got fantastic clients, so I’m mixing between that, getting my work out at the Scottish Game Fair and supplying the House of Bruar – I’m keeping things going!’

The Scottish Game Fair will take place at Scone Palace from 29 June – 2 July. For more information and tickets, visit www.scottishfair.com