John Nelson

"I produce paintings which I hope encapsulate my natural joie de vivre and love of colour.

Always suspicious of the archetypical, I work directly onto the canvas – no preparatory drawing. As something emerges, I follow and shape intuitively. Ideas for my paintings are drawn from a variety of sources although I am particularly drawn to landscape motifs."

John Nelson, 1933-2013

John's interesting life story below
Image representing John Nelson

John was born in Edinburgh. It was while he was working as a slater/plasterer that an art teacher noticed John always sketching during breaks. He looked at the sketches and asked if John had more at home, which he did. This led to the art teacher saying he had too much talent for a building site and helped John put together a portfolio and obtain an interview at Edinburgh College of Art where he was accepted on the strength of his portfolio alone!

He loved art college where he won several painting and drawing prizes, including an Andrew Grant Scholarship and a Post Graduate Travelling Scholarship.

After that he needed to find a job, perhaps teaching? In one year at night school (while working on building sites by day) he obtained the necessary qualifications to enter Moray House Teachers Training College! There's inspiration for you! If you need to or want to - you can!

Robbie Coltrane was at Moray House at the same time but was not a 'serious' student!

John was a natural teacher, loved his subject and loved inspiring his students. He first taught in Edinburgh schools then became an Art Lecturer at the new Edinburgh Stevenson College which was leading the way in adult and further education. He was central as a pioneering lecturer in arts and crafts. He did not aspire to promotion because he loved teaching.

He travelled round the country in his spare time as an approved Scottish Arts Council Speaker. He was the first Artistic Director of the Craigmillar Festival Society and Chairman of the Livingston Art Foundation.

As an 'Edinburgh' man he was very proud to have been a member of the 'Glasgow' League of Artists and became their Chairman in 1975.

John was always busy, always finding time to paint, always developing his paintings to his own exacting standards. He always produced work which showed his natural ability with colour and his love of colour.

He did not actively promote his work. He preferred it to be found and bought because people really wanted it.

His work is in many private and public collections throughout the world.

His work and now his prints are to be enjoyed.