Artist-John Houston OBE, rsA, RSW, RGI
Scottish artist of great talent, married to Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, who had an early career as a semi-professional footballer during which he represented Scotland at Under-21 level.There is so much that I could write here about his career as an artist, his time travelling and painting throughout Europe with his great friend David Michie; travelling with Dame Elizabeth thereafter; about his teaching at Edinburgh College of Art between 1955 and 1989 and his exhibitions at the RSA and the retrospective in 2005 at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. John Houston was a keen sportsman and throughout his life he continued to be a very keen golfer as well as fisherman. He played golf to a very high standard. But what of it , I hear you say, this is about art not golf! Well, actually it is an important aspect of John Houston's art and just for one moment we should look at Aberlady Bay, Gullane and North Berwick to the South shore of the Forth, and Largo to the North. These locations have featured time and time again in John's paintings where he depicts the different lights and times of the day and the reason is simple, Largo bay has Scoonie Golf Course, Levens Links Golf Course and Ludin Golf Course running parallel to the bay, while Kilspindie , Luffness, Gullane, Muirfield and Archerfield Golf Courses are to be found to the Southern shore. John would take his sketch book and watercolours to these familiar places and paint the emotion of the light on the sea and return to his studio to paint in his preferred medium of oil.
He primarily painted landscapes of the Eastern coast of Scotland in an expressionist style and Bass Rock features widely in those compositions. His work goes beyond the simple representation of the countryside his use of colour is unique with bold, warm vibrant yellows ,orange and pinks mixed together to form unforgettable work. I am always drawn to his large works depicting sunsets and sunrises . These atmospheric paintings are wonderful and date from the 1970's and 80's . I remember those days well and look upon these paintings with a sense of wonder. I wish I had been there to see the Scottish landscape as John did and to paint it in such a colourful manner.
see the Elizabeth Blackadder Pages here at Blondes.