Original fine art since 2007

Semi-abstract oil paintings

The semi-abstract oil paintings you can see for sale in the gallery result from repeated painting sessions over time. There are many expressive ways to use the medium of oil painting, and my process has evolved gradually over time.

Rolling back the years, I started being interested in oil paintings after learning about and seeing artworks by the London School of Painters in galleries around the country. The Tate in London at Millbank and Manchester Art Gallery were galleries I enjoyed going to to see work by Lucien Freud, Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon and Leon Kossoff.

Although my preferred subject is the sea, and the London School artists primarily painted portraits, they stood out to me for how different their paintings were from what went before.

I learnt to appreciate that oil paint marks can have a physical quality of their own. They can take on a life of their own as you look over the canvas and can generate emotions and feelings in the viewer. My early semi-abstract oil paintings took some inspiration from these artworks, and I began to develop a style from these beginnings.

Side view of semi-abstract oil painting Open seas, Lindisfarne by Timothy Gent
Side view of semi-abstract oil painting Open seas, Lindisfarne

My current way of abstract painting has taken my earlier influences and directed them into minimal, abstract images of nature and the sea.

I’ve developed a personal way of abstract painting, frequently using the traces of brushstroke and textures as a vital part of the finished image, as markers of my painting process and style. I also create compositions of geometric shapes and blocks of patterns within the artwork.

I use the alla prima method (wet into wet) to create the shapes or forms of my abstract oil paintings while the paint is still pliable. Over a few consecutive days, the qualities of the paint surface change, leaving creative abstract brushwork and textures in the final picture. I am happy to keep many of these marks if they help with the artwork.

I usually try to work over the whole image every time I work on an oil painting, blending and joining areas of paint together, moving over the canvas and always considering each brushstroke within the whole image.

Detail of semi-abstract oil painting Over the shore by Timothy Gent
Detail of semi-abstract oil painting Over the shore

It can sometimes be a slow process involving an accumulation of several painting layers before the final image reaches a finished state through this process - although the result may seem spontaneous, free and immediate.

My oils usually take me longer than I expect, leading to a relatively small output of work. Painting one of my semi-abstract oil paintings on canvas can sometimes feel like a tight-rope act - a performance that requires my total concentration to keep the artwork going in the right direction. There is always some element of experimentation. Some experiments end up down a creative blind alley requiring a rethink, while others seem to work better and lead towards the final image.

The quality of oil paint, its physical mass, the density of colour and its natural malleability make it a great medium to use. The semi-abstract oil paintings showing in the gallery convey the natural beauty of the seascape from the UK coastline through oil painting - expressing the light, colours, movement and patterns found out in nature.

Published July 2021