ALISON Peebles is instantly recognisable from her many TV roles, including Isobel MacKenzie in River City, currently struggling to come to terms with Alzheimers, and Mrs Juniper in the CBeebies’ Molly and Mack, who runs The Wobbly PotCafe.

She may be best known for her reputation as a diverse performer, writer and director in theatre, film, and television, but she is also a talented artist.

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Peebles has picked up a paintbrush for the first time in 44 years, to complete a stunning oil on canvas self-portrait that will go on exhibition in The Dundas Street Gallery in Edinburgh, next week, from June 18-30.

The National:

I can’t begin to tell you how daunting it was,’’ Peebles said. ‘‘And talk about getting the fear. Painting yourself, is really very strange thing to do.

“This particular image was one that Simon Murphy had shot for My Shrinking Life, a play that was also a self-portrait in many ways, exploring the impact of MS for the National Theatre of Scotland 10 years ago. I have always loved it. I guess I suppose I also felt a little detached – painting your 10 years younger self, you are slightly less critical. In the original image I have my crutch. I added the brace and the shoes as I really wanted to properly include my MS.”

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The exhibition of new work came from a chance encounter in an art shop involving four graduates from Edinburgh College of Art that hadn’t seen each other since their graduation ceremony in 1975.

They quickly established that they were still just as passionate about creating art today as they were then and the idea for the exhibition was born.

The four graduates set about tracking down more of their classmates through social media.

Peebles said: “I had stayed in touch mainly with Brian Henderson who has been teaching art in Shetland, has won multiple awards and has exhibited in the US and Jerusalem.

The National:

‘‘Brian roped me in and what has been completely fascinating is what everyone has been up to in the last 40 odd years. Our Class of 75 have been incredibly successful.”

Two of the exhibitors graduated from the Design School: costume designer, Annie Hardinge and a glass designer, Alison McConachie. The others graduated from the School of Drawing and Painting. Chrissie Orr has been living in New Mexico and has produced a large body of work whilst living alongside and painting Navaho Indians. Rob Fairley was the artist in residence on a Himalayan Expedition, he also lived for years in Mallaig and Shona Beag. His work quite literally takes your breath away. Lindsay Moran runs the Leyden Gallery in London whilst taking commissions for his own work, and Tom Watt is a hugely successful artist and has lived in France for years.

Tom has recently returned to Scotland and has focussed a lot of his work on Canals in Venice, Fife Fishing Villages and Mediterranean Harbours. Fiona Grant Robertson is the artist in residence for the National Trust for Scotland. Peebles added: “One of my favourites is Liz Holmes – Departed. I could cry for the dog in this picture.”

Their studies at Edinburgh College of Art were presided over by Sir Robin Philipson as the head of the School of Drawing and Painting, and by John L Paterson, head of the Design School. Their stellar list of tutors included Elizabeth Blackadder, David Michie, John Houston, William Baillie, George Donald, David Evans, James Fairgrieve, Alan Alexander, James Cumming and John Lawrie.

Peebles said: “Last year when I started painting and it felt terrifying, although it was hard to get started, I had forgotten what that feeling of being so completely absorbed in something was like. It’s therapy! You are so engrossed, you just completely switch off from everything else… other than your internal critic!”