This woodcut print depicts a spectacular sunset over the sea at Gullane in East Lothian. The blazing sun at the centre of the picture is the source of a bust of white and orange rays, while the vast red sky is criss-crossed by orange streaks and arcs, many of which are reflected in the sea below. The scene communicates both a constantly shifting skyscape and the artist's exuberant emotional response.
John was best known as a painter of expressionist landscapes: his obituary in the Guardian observed that "...it was the landscape - a sea and sky-scape reduced often to near abstraction and fraught with an unspoken symbolism - that would always be his truest subject".
This piece has a strong thematic link with Houston's other sunset paintings in Art in Healthcare's collection, such as "Sunset Sea" and "Sunset Over Fife".
John Houston (1930-2008) was born in Buckhaven, Fife, and studied at Edinburgh College of Art. From 1948 to 1954 he subsequently taught at Edinburgh College of Art as the Deputy Head of the School of Drawing & Painting (1955-1989) and was also Staff Governor from 1955. In between working for the university he kept his career as an artist alive and in 1957 he helped start the 57 Gallery in Edinburgh, exhibiting there in his first solo show in 1958.
John works in the tradition of Scottish Expressionism and is renowned for his intense atmospheric landscapes which explore the dramatic effects of both weather and light so very typical of Scottish landscapes. In fact it is often said that painting was the vocabulary through which John articulated his passion for land and sea.
He is also recognised for his exciting studies of flowers -obviously influenced by his wife, Elizabeth Blackadder, whom he met during their studies at Edinburgh College of Art In 2005, John was honoured with a major retrospective at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
With thanks to Edinburgh College of Art for artist information
With thanks to the Scottish Gallery for artist information
Houston's obituary in the Guardian