There’s no doubt that we love all things bright, colourful and vibrant here at Art2Arts, and the wonderful creations by Carolynne Coulson certainly satisfy our craving for this. The way she works with a distinct set of hues and method of mark making certainly inspires our creativity, so much so that we had to learn more about the artist behind these beautiful paintings! Here we spoke to Carolynne Coulson, a truly bright imagination…
You say that you have always been a ‘passionate scribbler’. What kind of things did you love to draw and paint as a child?
I would draw anything and everything. As a child, my very favourite things were new pens, pencils and naturally paints, which I stored away like treasures. I still remember the delight of unwrapping a set of new pencils and putting them back after each use carefully in the right order. I enjoyed the colours, the feel and even the smell of them. I still like it to be honest; it is right back to childhood for me with every delivery of supplies I get.
I grew up in the countryside so would take my watercolour set and head off to do studies on wildflowers but was just as happy catching someone in a rough stretch while they walked their dog, not noticing me sat watching and drawing away.
Your style is very recognisable now. At what point did you start to develop this distinctive way of working?
It has developed over time. At college I experimented widely and learned that art was pretty much like writing in that your style is your own. I would see and try to do work like that I admired, but it would never work. I find I can do the controlled accurate style of work, but it doesn’t please me. In time I learned to just follow my own style and let myself go. It is the work which is the most uncontrolled which I find the most pleasure in so that is what I do, allowing each painting to follow its own destiny.
Your colour palette is also very consistent throughout your work. What inspires these tones?
I find I am attracted to certain colours, I love my pink tones as you will have seen. These colours work for me, they are like old friends and I tend to feel very comfortable using them and how they work together. I do still love finding a new pigment though and am constantly on the lookout for new colours and mediums to add to my palette. My favourite paints have the added delight of being translucent, so I can achieve the layered textured effects with vibrancy of colour, which I love. I am too impatient to use oil paints; I need the rapid drying time of acrylic but with the depth of colour of oils.
You studied art at an academic level, with a degree in fine art and a masters in creative multimedia. What role did these studies play in your artistic development?
They gave me the opportunity to experiment in many forms of art making, from sculpture to printmaking and even digital. It gave me the knowledge and understanding of the processes and materials for each, allowing me to understand all the parts needed in a technical sense to make artwork. It also widened my artistic horizons vastly, it exposed me to much more of the art world, the history of art and range of contemporary art, not to mention challenged me and my understanding of what I made. But the main thing was it gave me the confidence to create and trust in my skills and my eye. I don’t think it is necessary at all to have the letters after your name to be an artist, but it give me the confidence to express myself in my art.
|What inspires your work?|
I’m addicted to finding the happy accident; it is the best feeling of all when the painting all of a sudden works. It’s looking for this that pulls me back each day to the easel. I find paintings that don’t tell me what they are about immediately more visually interesting – abstract paintings offer more play for me to enjoy the textures, forms and colours.
How do you approach each new painting? Is it planned out or do you let creativity run its course as you start each new piece?
I don’t work with a fixed idea or sketches, it’s really just about the interaction of the colours and the textures they create which suggest to me the composition. I work without any expectation of the finished painting, I like to just trust to chance and intuition, and by embracing processes which minimise my control I find eventually provides the happy accidents I am looking for in each work.
What feeling or thoughts to you aim to inspire with your work?
Sometimes I am influenced by an event or an emotion from the outside world, I occasionally start with a rough sketch or a plan in mind, but the painting always becomes more about the paint itself, the colours and mediums interacting, the scratched back technique delivering linear elements and revealing the hidden layers below the surface. I love to work with layers as they build depth, texture and are of prime importance to my work. Figures and narratives appear and disappear during the process. I not only enjoy discovering these stories in the paint and I also perversely enjoy hiding them either partially or entirely, so that only I know and can see the trace of the hidden meaning. Ideally leaving some part behind that hints at a meaning but allows the viewer to bring their own story to a painting, to interpret the forms and elements into a meaning individual to them is what I aim for.
Are you influenced by any classic or contemporary artists?
I love several contemporary artists, not so much the names you find in the Tate and textbooks on art, but names well represented online in the visual feast that is the Internet. I find many on Pinterest which is a lovely website for a visual hoarder like me. I always used to keep scrapbooks, now I have digital ones on Pinterest that I get to share with anyone who’s interested.
I love the beautiful jewel bright oil abstracts of Hiroshi Matsumoto, the inspirational abstracts of Michelle Armas, the colour palate of Claire Desjardins and the free spirt and energy of Trine Panum to name just a few. I love several contemporary artists, not so much the names you find in the Tate and textbooks on art, but names well represented online in the visual feast that is the Internet. I find many on Pinterest which is a lovely website for a visual hoarder like me. I always used to keep scrapbooks, now I have digital ones on Pinterest that I get to share with anyone who’s interested.
You create work in digital formats as well as using traditional mediums. Do you use the same style and imagery, or are these digital works totally different pieces of art?
These tend to be quite different, more multi layered collages. They still feature the bright colours and abstract marks, as I often use my artworks to become layers in the work. I blend these with old photo or text, adding digitally created marks and effects and work with sometimes up to 30 layers of imagery, again looking for my happy accident only in a digital form.
Where do you create your work? Do you have a studio, do you stay at home in your own space, or do you have a communal space with other artists?
I am lucky enough to have a little studio at the back of my cottage, it is small but with plenty of natural light and really quiet. I am starting to do some much bigger canvases and admit it is a tight squeeze in there. Occasionally it is hard to get far enough back to see the work properly, but I wouldn’t swap my little studio, I love it. I find I work better alone, I get myself into a certain zone and any distraction pulls me back out and I lose the muse, as the saying goes.
Do you have any exhibitions coming up, so we can see your work in person?
I don’t have any planned currently, it is one of the things I have set that I must do, but I do find I get side-tracked by the painting. The social side of the art world has always been a part of it that I was a little at odds with to be frank. I am a solitary soul, happiest when I am left to paint away. Networking events and exhibitions always seem like a good idea but I never seem to get around to doing much about them. Even when I do exhibit, I like personally to be very much in the shadows. I’m not a person who enjoys attention and given the opportunity I prefer to hear what people think about my work when they don’t know it is mine. That way you get to hear more truth than flattery, sometimes not as easy to take but much more valuable and occasionally entertaining. Generally it is only when I’m approached that I exhibit. Last year I had my first solo show at a little bricks and mortar gallery just opened up in Whitley Bay, and earlier this year some works were in a pop up exhibition in Tower 42in London.
Carolynne Coulson regularly updates her online art gallery space at Art2Arts with her latest jaw-dropping creations. Every piece of her original art is incredibly popular amongst our community; keep checking her page to view her latest pieces of work before they get snapped up!