John Boyd was born in Stonehaven, Kincardineshire in 1940. He studied at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen (1958 - 1962) where he was taught by Robert Henderson Blyth. He briefly studied at Hospitalfield where he met John Byrne and Sandy Fraser, who was to become a lifelong friend. From 1967 - 1988 he taught at Glasgow School of art before turning to painting full time.
His first solo show was held in Edinburgh in 1967, after which he exhibited regularly at the RA, the RSA, the RGI and RSPP. A major retrospective of his work was held in Glasgow, in 1994.
Boyd has won numerous awards and was elected a member of the Royal Glasgow Institute of fine arts in 1982 and a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1989.
His work is held in private collections owned by, among others, the Earl of Moray and Lord MacFarlane as well as the corporate collections of Robert Flemings, Bank of Ireland, Murray Johnson and Arthur Anderson. Public collections include the Paisley Art Gallery, the People's Palace and the Lillie Art Gallery, Milngavie.
He is noted for his strongly coloured landscapes, portraits and still lifes, mostly in oils, with his best work being produced in the last few years of his life.