Selma Coulthard was born in Alice Springs in 1954. The first years of her life were spent at Tempe Downs where her father was a stockman. She then moved to Hermannsburg for her education at the mission school. Her interest in painting was kindled by watching the sons of Albert Namatjira. Initially Slema painted in water colour but then made the transition to acrylic on canvas. Selma spends some of her time at various schools teaching the children about both landscape dot painting.
Her work is lagely based on the dreaming stories from her family's country along the Lerra Pinta (Finke River) and Irrmakara (Running Waters) south of Hermannsburg.
She has five children and a number of grand children.