One of the most distinguished painters of the post-war Scottish school, John Houston, who was born in Buckhaven, Fife, played football for Dundee United (and Scotland under 21s) until his career was halted by a knee injury. He then attended Edinburgh College of Art where his contemporaries included David Michie and Alan Davie. After graduating he began teaching there, and remained till his retirement in 1989, while also working as a prolific painter.
John Houston painted mainly landscapes in the expressionist style. He was married to artist Elizabeth Blackadder.