This screen print has the expressive rich qualities of an oil painting, with painting being used on top of the print to add this richness and texture. The painting has an eastern theme, with the subject being that of a pagoda. The trees and roof profiles accentuate the Japanese motif. There is a sacred, tranquil, peaceful and earthly quality about the piece which mirrors the sentiments associated with these sorts of temple gardens.
The centre point of the waterfall focuses the eye on the quality of lightness, mirrored in the sky. The painting appears to open outwards, welcoming the viewer into the peaceful scene. The rich texture and warm earthly colours of the piece elevate the sensation of spirituality present in the scene.
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