Night Sky Over The Bass Rock
By John Houston

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Year
1999
Media
Printmaking
Subject Matter
Sea and Boats
Reg. Number
G998

John Houston's art is renowned for its bold, atmospheric treatment of his subject matter, which often includes the Scottish landscape. This screenprint shows a wild, stormy seascape in black, grey and dashes of cream: this monochrome effect adds to the turbulent atmosphere. The horizon is low and the Bass Rock is in the distance, just to the right of the centre, lit against the dark sky and sea. Houston's work often aims to convey the grandeur of the sea's horizon, 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.

Obituary on the BBC website

With thanks to the Scottish Gallery for information about this artist