This lithography print by John Houston is a bold recreation of a Scottish seascape set in strong cadmium colours on archival paper. In this print his use of gestural washed out brush strokes, alongside his vibrant colours, enables him to capture the atmospheric mood and a sense of energy in this scene. It also highlights his artistically romantic feelings for this beach. In reality, the beach would have been calm and quiet. However his colour choices; the way the washes define themselves in the print and the way that the colours dance through to the bottom of the page show he was overwhelmed with the intrinsic nature of this scene when creating this print.
John's work returns again and again to the sea's horizon as he attempts to convey the sense of grandeur of what is in front of him, as well as his feelings of awe, through the intensity of his response.
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