fire escapeJohn Colles is based in Biggar within the Scottish Borders.

After a career as an inventor and lecturer in optics, lasers and creative thinking he began drawing and painting. Now, after following a number of courses at Edinburgh College of art and, more recently, two years of full time painting at Leith School of Art, he practices from a studio in Biggar.

John has had work exhibited in a number of places both solo and with other artists such as the Madainn group (a collection of artists from the local area). His work formed part of the end of year exhibition at Leith School of Art where his paintings and drawings focussed on a response to the events unfolding in Syria.Currently his interests are towards narrative works using a variety of media including ink wash, oil and wax and, in the case of the Syrian series, glue, pigment, ash, sawdust and soot.

A painting (see archive gallery) is available to clinics and hospitals through the ‘Art in Healthcare’ collection. (purchased in 2013).

Past Exhibitions:

With the Madainn Group

  • Aroma coffee House, Biggar, Various exhibitions, 2008-2013
  • Tolbooth Gallery, Kirkcudbright, February-March 2009
  • Tolbooth Gallery, Kirkcudbright, April-May 2010
  • Eastgate Gallery, Peebles, July-August 2011


  • ‘Inside-out’, Aroma Coffee House, Biggar, April-June 2012

With others

  • AnTalaSolais, Ullapool, March 2012
  • Leith School of Art, Edinburgh June 2013
  • Leith School of Art, Edinburgh June 2014

From The Blog

One of the difficulties an artist faces on leaving college is how to maintain a disciplined working practice. No matter how dedicated the sudden absence of the regular and required studio attendance comes as quite alarming. Sketch something everyday, anything you like however small, simple or [...]
After a very concentrated 6 months engaged with a series of large works influenced by the terrible events in Syria, my wife and I went for a relaxing holiday touring the West Coast of Scotland from Durness via Skye to Strontian. Highlights included our visit to Ullapool and the opening of the [...]