There are many things that influence my work; these include Islamic Art, Classical music, Alchemy & the various places I have travelled to. Although these influences are of some importance to me, it is however the creative thought processes that I am involved with whilst painting which determine the outcome of the work.

The references to alchemy relate closely to the material processes I am involved within my studio. I wish to create a particular feeling of depth & space through the use of opaque & transparent colour. The expressive colours I use create a changing mood and atmosphere in the painting. The colour reflexes that occur in my paintings stimulate the eye and are a response to the systematic as well as the fortuitous conjunctions of colour on the canvas.

Painting should have a quality of sustained immediacy, in that it has a visual presence both close up and at a distance, it should hold the viewers imagination. I wish to communicate an emotional feeling to the audience, what that emotion is can be dependent on what particular colour I use to create the mood and atmosphere in the in the painting. I do not wish to mimic the world of appearances, but invent my own through the process of painting and a recollection of the various places and images that preside within my imagination.

For me research is never the starting point for my creative output, it is my imagination and the way I can find a relationship between things that previously did not exist.

Neurologists talk about cognitive fluidity; this phenomenon allows information stored in different parts of the brain to join up with information tucked away in other areas. The fluidity of painting links creative action with visual experiences, memory & the imagination. I wish to find a visual quality that awakens the senses. What is important and indeed exciting for me is that at a certain stage in the process of painting an image appears that seems to give the work a life of its own. There is a conjunction of colour and image that surprises me in some way.

Exploring the material processes and language of painting develops a `cognitive fluidity’ of mind, hand and eye that helps me to find a unified language of colour, form and image. This aspect of the painting process has been central to my practice.There is a constant battle between form and content, idea and medium. It’s a yes/no process of deciding what works in a painting and what doesn’t work .As the painting progresses, it is a time to reflect on the whether there is enough form to sustain one’s interest in continuing with the piece or re-consider and often re-work a painting.

For me paintings evolve over a long period of time, it’s not a case of getting the message over quickly. What is working early on in the painting process can often seem unresolved later on. I enjoy and celebrate the decorative qualities of my painting, but also look to find a deeper meaning that inhabits a more magical and spiritual world.

The organic richness, the intuitive freedom and the dialogue between colour, texture and form, all these aspects are qualities I wish to find whilst painting. What are hidden from the viewer are the various emotions experienced whilst working on a painting, the excitement, frustration, the successes and failures. The act of painting is a dialogue between message & medium, both formal & abstract; mirroring shapes & forms to create a unified relationship of colour, gesture, texture & structure in a painting, thus I want to create an organic richness in the painting.

For me painting becomes a signifier for thought and movement, a harmonious totality that completes the interchange between artist, colour and surface, and begins the quiet unforced merging with memory and experience. Memory plays a significant role within my practice as an artist; I sometimes recollect places and visual phenomena whilst in the act of painting. One might say that the painting is previously created elsewhere in the artist’s imagination. I recollect places and visual phenomena whilst in the act of painting. I have often thought that painting is a form of visual poetry. There are also moments when painting that there is a change of direction, it is often when something accidental occurs that the image is grasped and the idea comes to the surface. The Chinese Sung painters had a very simple way of expressing this idea about painting. `When the form is grasped the idea will fill it’.

The idea that painting is as much about application, being in the studio, cleaning brushes, good preparation and having a critical eye. In the end I wish to engage the senses to create a contemplative art that is caught between a representational image and abstract form.  Within this balancing act care is taken to maintain a dialogue between message and medium. The important thing about any form of creative activity is to accept risk taking as an integral part of the creative process; if it does not work then I try again.

Mark Ainsworth 15 May 2009