As a child I grew up surrounded by fine art, my father being the hugely successful painter Gerald Coulson. I always loved to draw, cars being a passion of mine and I dreamt of becoming a car designer. I came out of school at 16 with a grade D O level in art, this being the sum total of my formal art training to this day and fell into a succession of jobs in retail that I didn't really enjoy, or excel at.
At the age of 21 my father encouraged me to have a go at painting and set me the exercise of copying a Victorian landscape. He gave me a few tips and pointers but pretty much left me to get on with it. I enjoyed the processes of trying to match my stumbling technique to what this old master had created and the end result was proficient enough to encourage me to do more.
After a while a local pub landlord suggested hanging a couple in his lounge bar, sensibly priced at £30.00 each, and sure enough, upon returning the following week, both had sold. The seed was sown. Gradually I built up the confidence to approach a couple of local galleries, up the prices a little and slowly but surely start to build a reputation for myself, by now pursuing the dream of becoming a full time painter.
This continued right up until 1996 when I realised that things weren't happening fast enough for me. The work was improving but I was frustrated at the lack of good exposure. At this point a local restaurateur was hanging my paintings; it worked well, low lighting, a couple of glasses of wine and a lady to impress; the paintings trickled out at about once a month. I was then offered the entire restaurant as a one night exhibition venue, so I produced 25 paintings, hired in some good lighting and placed an advertisement in the local newspaper. The masterstroke was inviting Paul Green of the Halcyon Gallery (and Washington Green) to the show, he had been selling my fathers work for many years.
Now, Paul Green is a very busy man so when he arrived I was happily surprised to say the least. When after half an hour he agreed to buy virtually all of the paintings I was almost speechless. The icing on the cake was a phone call six weeks later to say all had been sold and 'could we have some more please.' I worked feverishly for 12 months while still maintaining my retail position, which seemed to becoming more irrelevant day by day. It was in July of 1997 that Paul Green and his right hand man Lee Benson gave me the necessary support and encouragement to make the jump into full time painting. I've never looked back.
The work continued to sell and in 1999 Glyn Washington chose three pieces to publish as limited edition prints and the rest as they say, is history. I have enjoyed sell out editions, countrywide promotional tours and the pride of winning two awards from the Fine Art Trade Guild.
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