The colourful life of globally inspired abstract artist Basma Ashworth
Both a painter and textile artist Basma Ashworth draws inspiration from the surrounding landscape and unique natural light of Cornwall.
We were able to draw her away from her Cornwall studio to find out more about her art and what inspires her…
Tell us about your exotic background…
Been born and brought up in a remote area in the mountain of Kurdistan on the border between Turkey, Syria and Iraq my memories are of a barren and hostile winter landscape with mountains covered in deep snow, which gives way to a glorious spring and summertime.
The people respond by dressing elaborately in beautiful hand-made and naturally dyed material like silk and velvet in riots of colours. Decorated from head to toe by elaborate jewelleries of gold and silver.
What do you love about Cornwall?
Cornwall feels right – the light, the skies, the cliffs and the moors all remind me of home, and of course it has the added bonus of the sea.
It feels cosmopolitan, people choose to live here and that makes a big difference.
Tell us about your style of painting…
My aim is to produce a very pure and translucent painting, the texture comes from the paint itself so it doesn’t crack and it flows.
I use different materials and medium and also apply different techniques, I make my own oil paint, which I finish the painting with or paint with it from start to finish. Also I use top quality acrylic paint.
Being a colourist I am inspired and influenced by the Masters of Colours being abstract expressionist or impressionist painters. My work is to do with the process of painting rather than the image itself, the art work emerges from the interaction of marks I make on the surface with the colours and line and textures.
My relationship with the surface has a major influence on the way I make work. What I paint has a lot to do with layering and finding paths inside shapes; the colour and lines describe my journeys through life.
What are your paintings of?
I try to convey ‘somethings’ through my paintings, because they come from within. People always read ‘something’ in them and are drawn to them.
But I always start with a mark on the canvas which is usually inspired by a fleeting moment, a distant memory. I do have a very photographic one, and that first mark leads me on. The paintings usually take control and I follow on until the painting is resolved.
So I am very happy that people see in them what they want to see and feel connected to the paintings. And I feel that if the people relate to the paintings in any way then my job is done.
Has your background as a scientist influenced your art?
Yes, the highly visual element and shapes and the remarkable colours found in chemistry, microbiology and even in corroded metals, all contributed to the way I paint.
Science is a form of art, nature is the best and most complicated scientist – just look around you.
From ancient time to this day artists have used science to produce great art.
If you could have just one piece of art in your home what would it be?
It would have to be this one…it is called Istar.
I come from the ancient community called Assyrian, and the image is of the ancient gate of the queen, the original is in the Berlin Museum and I painted it after seeing it there.
It was a very emotional moment for me to see the magnificent gate in all it’s glory and more so because I didn’t know it was there.
It was the first painting which emerged in this style, so my style of painting was born.
Basma Ashworth will be exhibiting at the Cornwall Home & Lifestyle Show this May, Pre Register now, meet Basma and see her art.