Ross Ashmore gets through gallons of paint. He uses an industrial kind, spreading it thickly to give his paintings a three-dimensional, textured finish.

“It gets everyewhere,” says Ross, 56. “As you lift it onto the canvas, strands of paint just start flying around. I have to wear a big black hat so I don't get it on my glasses and in my hair. It is a bit of a crazy process and it does fly.”

From the edges of his easel, dried strands of paint form multicoloured stalactites, while in the parts of his studio not filled with paintings, the room has taken on a ruddy grey hue: “Everything goes grey in the end, if you get enough paint on anything.”

Ross is prolific. Three years ago he embarked on a project to paint every station on the London Underground network and he's fast reaching his goal, with 214 completed and another 53 to go.

He uses an impasto technique, building up depth by piling on the paint, which is often mixed with tea leaves, sand, ash and marble dust, with a butter knife.

“It's hard to push it around and make it do what you want it to do,” explains Ross. “Depending on the temperature, the humidity, also the type of canvas, sometimes it slows down or speeds up. It's always dripping, you're always fighting it.

“Because you can see the brush marks and knife marks, it creates a tension. The depth and the movement of the paint, it begins to talk, it gives you an idea of an artist.”

The father-of-three worked for many years as a commercial artist - a world where perfection was key.

“I was always given a brief, I was always told what to do,” he says. “You always had to airbursh everything and make it look highly finished and it had to be accurate - you couldn't step out of line at all.

“These are me, this is me not having the conditions, not having the worry of trying to please other people. They're not perfect and they're not meant to be perfect. It's about the feeling it creates.”

Working from photographs and Google Street View, Ross uses multiple angles to build up an image of the station and its surroundings. His paintings capture the atmosphere at that moment, and serve as an emotive record of the location.

“There's a responsibility to try and document the history of today,” says Ross. “What might seem to us as being terribly familiar and ordinary, in ten or 20 years’ time people will want to look back on. If we don't give them that we lose something about our history and our culture.

“The buses have changed, the trains too and I've noticed changes to the buildings since I've been doing it. Some of the shops have gone bust – there’s a Blockbuster in one. With all the relentless change, very soon we may forget the way things were.”

More than 100 of Ross’ paintings are being exhibited together for the first time in Going Underground at Space Art Gallery in Southgate. He aims to complete all the stations by the summer, in this the Underground’s 150th year.

“You can read a poem and the words portray an emotional response to something,” he adds. “It’s a lot different than just reading a list of facts.

“A painting is only paint on canvas, it’s a trick – it’s about the information it’s putting into your mind.

“Enough people can do a technical painting, I want to convey something personal; an energy, emotion and mood.”

Going Underground is at Space Art Gallery, Southgate from March 4 to April 5. Details: