Painter and printmaker Elizabeth Blackadder was born in Falkirk. She studied at Edinburgh College of Art under William Gillies, and lectured at the college from 1962 until her retirement in 1986. In 1956 she married fellow artist John Houston. Blackadder was well known for her delicate paintings of flowers and still life subjects, however, she also painted landscapes and portraits. She painted with both oils and watercolour, but used the latter most frequently as it was well suited to conveying her sensitive brushwork. Regular trips abroad, particularly to Japan, helped stimulate her interest in colour and pattern.