David Coulter – Manchester’s Painterly Painter

(Anyone looking at this post for information about a Grand Prix racing driver, that’s David Coulthard. If you’re looking for information about a musician, that’s a different David Coulter.)

Last night I was involved in a discussion about “painterliness”. “I don’t use painterly as it isn’t in the dictionary,” said Rachel. Well, it is in that major academic resource that is Wikipedia. (For the Sheldons of the world, that’s sarcasm – Wikipedia is not peer reviewed and must not be referenced to academic essays, but this is a blog so it doesn’t matter!)

“Painterliness is a translation of the German term malerisch …. An oil painting is painterly when there are visible brushstrokes, the result of applying paint in a less than completely controlled manner, generally without closely following carefully drawn lines … Some artists whose work could be characterized as painterly are Pierre Bonnard, Francis Bacon, Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, Renoir, and John Singer Sargent.” Wikipedia

Strangely enough, the first name that occurred to me was David Coulter. “Who?” you say. Well considering he has only had two exhibitions your ignorance is understandable. David has made his living from painting for half a century – painting, as well as restoring, central heating radiators salvaged from building reclamations. But in his spare time he has taken his easel around central Manchester to capture the city in oil and acrylic paint. After two heart attacks and advice from doctors telling him to take life easier, David is now spending more time with his hobby paints.

“I’ve been going out for years sketching and painting the city because I absolutely love it and it helps me calm down.”

He is well known to the local police. As you can imagine, parking up a van with canvases, paint and other equipment in a major city centre can cause the occasional problem. Nevertheless it was a policeman, PC Dave Vose who, after seeing David’s paintings, contacted Saskia Metcalf at the Zion Arts Centre, and his first exhibition was arranged there.

Oxford Road, Manchester

Unfortunately we missed his exhibition at the Zion Art Centre so, after hearing an interview with David on Radio Manchester, my wife and I made sure we caught his second – brief – exhibition at Colourfield Gallery in Poynton. I just loved his “painterly” style. Perhaps it has developed from having to finish quickly before being moved on but his rapid brush-strokes really captured the atmosphere.

“I like to call my style of painting “Manchester impressionistic”. Manchester is a fantastic place and I want my pictures to show people what they might have missed as they go past the same places every day.

“I think the city comes to life with a bit of rain – it makes it look a bit grittier and I try to capture the reflections and the people around me.”

Water World

St. Ann’s Square

David paints many scenes against the light which, with his preference for painting in the “golden hours” of the two hours after dawn and two hours before sunset, results in long shadows towards the viewer. Although it is not apparent in the reproductions, David is not afraid to use his solid underpainting layer as part of the finished painting.

If you get a chance to see some of David’s work “in the flesh”, grab it with both hands!

Going To Work

Sorry We’re Full


About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
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One Response to David Coulter – Manchester’s Painterly Painter

  1. Pingback: Annie Lennox’s Cabinet of Curiosities | notes to the milkman

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