Artistic License: David Coyne - The Gloss Magazine

Artistic License: David Coyne

David Coyne’s vibrant landscapes and lively compositions portray the idyllic summers of childhood memories …

‘Tug of War,’ by David Coyne

Who or what kickstarted your interest in art?

I am self taught. Painting genuinely started as a hobby when I was attending the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art & Design. At the time I was studying film production. I enjoyed the course but I found it a little too collaborative. I knew I wanted to exercise my creative side but I also knew I wanted to have a little more autonomy over the process. I always had a keen interest in paintings and was a regular visitor to various galleries in Dublin. Around that time I interviewed a full-time working artist for a project I was doing in college and I was surprised and delighted that he was making a living for himself and his family by doing something he loved and had complete control over. So, I went out the next day and purchased some basic supplies and enrolled in a ten-week evening course. My new hobby suddenly started to make more sense to me and I took a chance on trying to make it my full-time profession. Nearly 20 years later I am relieved it still is.

‘The Roofer’, by David Coyne

How and where do you work?

I am lucky to have a purpose-built studio in my back garden. It has been a labour of love over the last few years but it means I have access to the canvas whenever the mood takes me. I use a lot of thick paint applied generously which can be difficult to keep control of when painting outside, so I prefer to work from the comfort of my studio.

In terms of content I like to work from photographs or the memory of a place I have been. My initial sketches tend to be pretty reductive so I don’t get too bogged down in detail. I paint 90 per cent of the time with a palette knife. The idea is to be loose and brave. Too much detail and one might tighten up and slow down. I like to paint from the wrist relying on expressive swathes of paint to shape the composition.

‘Overlooked,’ by David Coyne

Your current exhibition “Onward” is joyful and captures an Irish summer at its best …

I certainly like to paint Ireland in a favourable light. Many of us remember our childhood summers as being endlessly sunny when, of course, they weren’t. But I think that memory bleeds into how I like to depict Ireland.

When the sun shines on the west coast of Ireland there isn’t a better place to be. Perhaps my colours are an antidote to the fact that we get too much rain, or perhaps I’m trying to remind people and myself of what it looks like on a good day. The subject matter or settings is really dictated by how I spend my time. I’m quite outdoorsy and I love discovering new parts of the country, especially the islands.

Need to know: David Coyne’s “Onward” solo exhibition is at The Oriel Gallery, 17 Clare Street, Dublin 2;


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