Looking out to sea - an artist's perspective

Looking out to sea photographed by fine artist Timothy Gent

The attraction of the open seashore is something which many of us appreciate. When you look over the coast anew, you see new forms sculpted by the light, weather and the tide.

Places which are once part of the land become part of the sea. The mood of the sea transitioning from one hue to another.

The different gradients of light, texture and colour are moving. They capture your attention in a quiet way. The seascape is unlike anything else we know and to be reminded of it regularly is something precious.

I enjoy it when I have the chance to look out over miles of space and water. Breathing in the fresh air and watching the mesmerising movement of the sea in all its forms. Often you sense the rhythms of nature in the background. The space of the shore, opening wide before you. Inviting you to take it all in.

It’s lovely to be standing on the shore, the boundary between the unknown and the familiar. The watery mirror of the sea revealing its beauty beyond the hard sandy ground we know.

When you look out to sea, nature speaks to you quietly and to your heart, like a conscience. These encounters frequently stay with me and often feed into my artwork - creative pictures of the ever-changing seas.

Sketching then painting

Looking out over the shore, from an artist's perspective, you see the principle lines, structure and forms before you. Then you notice the symphony of natural movements as you look around. The repetitive and the gradual changes in one direction which forms the content of the 2D picture surface.

I usually photograph or sketch these important lines of composition. The drawings are made in a semi-abstract, dynamic way illustrating what I’ve seen. Sometimes I write descriptions of where I am. Or I write down a particular visual quality I’ve seen and want to include in the painting.

The initial sketch or photograph offers a personal record which jogs my mind when putting paint to canvas or paper. I often much prefer drawings to work from rather than photographs. They contain a lot more personal reaction and guidance. Although they do not reveal the colours, textures and detail of a photograph.

The oil paintings and watercolour paintings then grows organically from the sketch, together with the image I have in my mind’s eye.

Published June 2019