I am sat in a small coffee shop on an early summer’s afternoon to gather my thoughts and to prepare to write about Alan Coulson, father and portrait artist. In response to a conversation had with Coulson I look out the window and reflect upon the people passing by. It is a warm day and in true English fashion pallid people have taken immediate advantage to expose their skins and soak up the sun’s dose of vitamin D. At the same time, as if emerging from their hibernation by the peeling back the layers of attire, the glorious artistic tattoos are revealed and come to life. I notice too how the sun has in return left its token of pink tan lines across bare shoulders and necks which in days to come will be a gentle reminder of this day. I examine people of all walks of life and ethnicities passing by; an elderly couple out for their daily stroll, holding hands as they shuffle by , a mother with her push-chair weaves in and out of the office workers and tourists. I am constantly surrounded by people, be that in reality when we step onto the street or virtually when logging into social media with a click of a button. I do not usually give myself this time to pause and contemplate the people around me, to notice the small things that make them so unique and interesting in their own ways.
Coulson is a portrait painter who devotes his time to looking and discovering the little quirks that make people individual; from wrinkles and birthmarks to piercings and hairstyles. Coulson’s realistic technique and style means he is trained in observing details that can be so easily overlooked. He expresses that there is a true satisfaction in capturing every line: “If something looks real, I’m able to pour over it. That’s the thing about portraiture you can look and scrutinise over someone, inspect their every pore if you want to.”