The Carolynne Coulson Interview

A relatively new artist to Art Pistol, Carolynne’s work is a very welcome addition to the gallery. Whether you’re drawn to try interpret the story hidden in her paintings, or to the agreeable abstract technique, or to the fact that she produces very affordable art, or perhaps to all three of these or even something else… we suggest you have and look and see for yourself.

Art Pistol (AP): What’s the first thing you can remember painting?
Carolynne Coulson (CC): The first thing I remember painting is butterfly prints, folding the paper, daubing on the paint, folding, pushing the paint around, and the absolute delight of opening the paper up to see what you have made. Even then I guess the thrill was looking for the happy accident, I still enjoy the frisson of bringing into the process in a factor which diminishes my control, and then working on from that.

AP: When did you first realise you were an artist?
CC: I think that weirdly it was while I was studying fine art, I guess I should of had the feeling long before signing up on the course but I didn’t really, I was just using it as a form of catharsis more than anything else. Naturally I knew I had some skills, I always had been making things right from being tiny, and can turn my hand to just about anything, but to be an artist I have always believed is more than that. About half way through the first year I did a piece of mixed media work, that was purely driven by instinct, with no expectation of the finished piece, when it was done and I stood back and looked at it I thought “well, looks like you are an artist after all”, I am not saying it was brilliant or that in any way it was a work of genius, but it conveyed the feeling and emotion I had within, it was art.

AP: How would you describe your art to someone that has never seen it before?
CC: My art is neither fully abstract nor really figurative but somewhere in between, the forms, colours and textures of my paintings often hint at people and situations, but nothing is clear, nothing is answered. I am purposely vague, often blocking out any distinct elements; I want people to be able to interpret the imagery on their own terms and find a meaning or maybe not, maybe just enjoy the colour and the surface. “I believe the eye not told what to see, sees more.” Brian Rutenberg.

AP: Is your work on any famous person’s wall?
CC: It may have, I must admit I have not been the best at organisation, I have sold a lot of paintings and yet have an empty address book, I know I should of kept a record of collectors of my work and I honestly intended to, but it just never happened. The last exhibition I was in, all five paintings I was showing sold within minutes of the opening to one individual, and even though I asked for the purchasers details, then never came my way. A lot of it has been this way, I know my paintings are in local authority collections and I have sold my artist’s books to collectors internationally but a specific person or place is not something I know.



“the meeting” by Carolynne Coulson

AP: If you had the opportunity to change something in the art industry what would it be?
CC: I am not sure that it is really the art industry but I would like to change general attitudes to art, I would love it for people to feel that art was for everyone and to have confidence in their own tastes, so instead of buying factory produced artworks or a familiar print they bought something original, something individual that speaks to them. Original art is something that can deliver lifelong pleasure and is often just the same price or even cheaper than the mass produced versions; This is why I was delighted to see your Own Art scheme, this will hopefully enable more people to get great original art for their homes and offices and spare us all the ubiquitous prints we are all far too familiar with. Go on be an individual, after all you would hate to be seen wearing the identical clothes as everyone else, why get the same art?

AP: Do you have any other interests or talents that you’d like to share?
CC: I am also an illustrator and a web designer/developer, so I’m part geek. I enjoy woodwork, DIY, gardening and ceramics, both collecting and making. I love both history and science and grew up wanting to be a palaeontologist or maybe an archaeologist, I nearly did follow that path too as I was accepted on an archaeology degree course before I applied to do fine art, but the course didn’t run due to insufficient numbers.

AP: Describe yourself in 3 words, one has to be a colour?
CC: Approximately 60% aqua.

AP: Tell us your perfect scenario for painting.
CC: Perfect, I guess would be in a custom built studio, French doors open and a gentle breeze lifting the heat of the sun, bird singing outside and the sunlight streaming in onto the huge canvas I am working on with a glass of wine in one hand and my palette knife in the other. But realistically that is not how it is, for starters I live in north Yorkshire, heat and sun are rare!

My most productive time to work is and has always been between midnight and 4 am, when the rest of the world appears to be asleep, and there are no distractions I can work away listening to rock music ideally, and it’s not wine sadly but coffee that I have in my other hand.

AP: If you weren’t an artist you’d be..?
CC: I have had a lot of jobs, I have been a nurse, a support worker, an art teacher/lecturer, worked in bars, worked in shops, set up my own business a couple of times selling greetings cards and then jewellery. Currently I’m a freelance designer and developer for websites and offering illustration and graphic design services. I embrace the inner geek.

AP: Do you have any advice for artists just starting out?
CC: Be true to yourself, do what you enjoy and are good at, focus on that. Don’t listen to detractors, the world is full of them and look at the state it is in, it needs creative people so create!

AP: And finally, what are you working on just now?
CC: I am always working on about 4-5 pieces at a time, I hate it when colours muddy so I tend to work on one and then let it dry and move on to the next. Currently I am working on two small canvases, one elongated panoramic one and one huge one. All have figures in them and feature the scratched back paint which is a common element in my work. I have also got a new ink which I am anxious to try out by making some new monoprints.


See all of Carolynne Coulson’s work on Art Pistol…