Photograph of Christopher Bent

Christopher Bent

Exhibition of work at Cank Street Gallery
(7 December 2015 - 30 January 2016)

Comments
View all current features

Categories

Featured Artist (18)Videos (4)Techniques (1)Spotlight (3)Inside My Sketchbook (2)


I am inspired by land and seascape. I read some time ago about an artist who painted a sky a day. I thought this was an exciting challenge to take up. I started to look at the abstract quality of skies more closely and to experiment freely with the wonderful shapes and variety of edges in cloud formations. . . .

painting by Christopher Bent

Christopher Bent, Landscape Series 12.7.15, oil

Chris Bent started as a technical illustrator, then worked for 5 years for a Leicestershire based design group in their visualisation studio.  After taking a BA in Graphic Design and Illustration he worked in television for 20 years for the BBC in London and then for ITV in Birmingham as an onscreen graphic designer producing animated sequences for programmes and channel presentation. He moved on to freelance work, and now divides his time between graphic design commissions, teaching animation at De Montfort University to BA students and his own painting. He has been a member of the LSA since 1996.

A DAY IN YOUR LIFE

Tell us about what you do

painting by Christopher Bent

Christopher Bent, Flood Series 4, oil

When I am free from the demands of commercial work I like to set days aside to immerse myself in painting. I need a run of 2 or 3 consecutive days to get things going properly.  I have drawn or painted since I was a child, it satisfies a need within me and is something I feel compelled to do. I do so enjoy the freedom of painting to please myself without the constraints of a brief!

 

 

What does a typical day as an artist look like for you?

Coffee, emails, staring out of the window, thinking, walking, coffee, rearranging the paint tubes. sharpening pencils, cup of tea, check emails, thumbing through sketchbook, lunch, preparing canvas or board, coffee . . .

painting by Christopher Bent

Christopher Bent, New Coast Series, oil on canvas

What is the most challenging part of your work?

STARTING!

painting by Christopher Bent

Christopher Bent, Flood Series 10, oil

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

When I get something going with the paint. It has to feel free and spontaneous. I try to project as much energy into the mark making and application of the paint as possible.  

painting by Christopher Bent

Christopher Bent, Lakes Series, oil

What skills are essential to you?

Drawing, composition and understanding colour.

 What media do you usually use?

Oil paint at the moment. I used to work only in watercolour, but needed a change of direction from my familiar illustrative style to something more free and vigorous.  I started working with large oil sticks, and now I use oil paint. I love this versatile medium which challenges me to work in a more direct and painterly way.

 

How did you choose your current theme, if you have one?

I am inspired by land and seascape. I read some time ago about an artist who painted a sky a day. I thought this was an exciting challenge to take up. I started to look at the abstract quality of skies more closely and to experiment freely with the wonderful shapes and variety of edges in cloud formations. This coincided with a change of medium from watercolour to oil.

painting by Christopher Bent

Christopher Bent, Lakes Series, oil

Do you plan your paintings?

My landscapes aren’t painted from life and I don’t use specific references. I do keep a sketchbook. I very often start by just mixing colours directly on the board or canvas and seeing where the paint takes me. Often a mark will suggest something and gradually the composition will take shape. I’m not interested in painting beautiful landscapes, I enjoy painting skies that are characterful and a little threatening.

 

How did you get to where you are now?

Can’t be precise but I know that my love of art and design has been my constant companion and I count myself very fortunate that I have always been able to earn my living by it.

What were your best subjects at school?  What and where did you study?

Art, English and Sport at Lancaster Boys School Leicester.

painting by Christopher Bent

Christopher Bent, Flood Series, oil

What challenges have you faced along the way?  How did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I find as a painter is progression, and finding fresh directions.  I love to visit galleries and exhibitions as often as possible to keep in touch with what other people are doing.  The experience of exhibiting, putting your artwork into the public domain is also challenging. You have to develop self-confidence and belief in what you are creating.

 

What’s the proudest moment of your artistic career so far?
My last sale of work – each time that a work is sold I find it a great compliment that anyone would like what I produce enough to display it in their home.

 What advice would you give your 22-year-old-self?

You learn more by listening than talking.

EITHER/OR

Painting by Christopher Bent

Christopher Bent, Lake Series, oil on Ingres paper

Coffee or tea?

Both at different times, but if I have to choose, it would be tea.

Michelangelo or Picasso?

Turner

Mac or PC?

Always Mac

Morning or night

Night – the phone is quiet.

FAVOURITES

Band

I have eclectic taste in music finding great beauty and peace in many classical works but I grew up with the Beatles and they occupy a special place in the soundtrack of my life. I have also to include Freddie Mercury and Queen and also Eric Clapton all wonderfully talented artists.

painting by Christopher Bent

Christopher Bent, Coast series, oil

Song

Imagine – John Lennon. This is an anthem for the troubled times in which we live.

Book

I am not a big reader but I do enjoy the writing of Peter Ackroyd about London and most recently Turner which is a fascinating insight into the Artist, his life and times. I also very much enjoy the work of Bill Bryson especially - Notes from a Small Island and Notes from a Big Country. Love his gentle humour!

painting by Christopher Bent

Christopher Bent, Lakes Series No. 8, oil

Three artists

This is a tough ask as there are so many artists whose work I like and respect but if you push me to just three then I think - Andrew Wyeth, Fred Cuming and Lucian Freud not necessarily in that order. No, it has to be four because I cannot exclude Mark Rothko!

Things to do on a Friday night

A good film, particularly a trip to the new Phoenix Cinema in Leicester.

Holiday spot

Cornwall

painting by Christopher Bent

Christopher Bent, Lakes Series, oil

Piece of advice you’ve been given

Keep your pencil sharp!  We all get a lot of advice, but the best I’ve ever had was the encouragement of two very dear friends to take a degree, which opened up a whole series of new, exciting and challenging opportunities.

An exhibition of landscapes by Christopher Bent is showing at Cank Street Gallery from 7 December 2015 to 30 January 2016.


Read our terms      Accept      Decline

Leicester Society of Artists Comments

Your comment will appear with your name and the date it was posted. Please use text only, not website links or images.

If you have not commented on our blog before, we will send you an email. Please reply to our message, to verify your email address. Please allow time for your comment to be checked and posted.

×


Comments (1)

Jenny Cook 20 December 2015

Thanks Chris, I really enjoyed reading your chat and I'm very impressed by the LSA web site. My huge thanks to everyone involved with its development.

A Happy & Healthy Christmas & 2016 To You All.

Love Jenny x

Reply