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Nicolas Cage, Academy Award winning actor on Anne Sudworth's work

      "Anne Sudworth's art awakens the inner glow I felt as a child when I beheld a tree for the first time under moonlight. She recalls in me a soft, light green illumination that restores my imagination; gives me strength in my adult life, and never stops burning no matter how dark the night gets. Like Graves' "White Goddess" her paintings are poetic, magical gifts direct from the source."

Review of "Out of the Light", exhibition of Anne Sudworth's work.
SW1 Gallery, Belgravia, London, October 2012 from 'London Reviewer'.
Review by: Alexa Williamson

      Where does one start with such beautiful art? Anne Sudworth's work is visual poetry and majesty. Working with pastels, Anne's pieces are graceful genius that make one recall beautiful works of the past although of course this is her inspired and unique work. Comprising many outdoor scenes that are all based around the use of natural light (which is in many cases the moon), we are invited in to her world. And, her world in this exhibition, is one that gives the audience visions of actual places in Britiain, which are portrayed, generally, in dark and deep colours and very fine detail.

      Out of the Light, which was held at the modern SW1 Gallery in Victoria was a short but wonderful step in to the beautiful world and body of work she has created. Showing about 30 original pastels, we saw many breathtaking places throughout Britain presented in many different types of light (from sunlight to moonlight and the cloudy or different and veiled times in between - including sunrise and sunset). We visit Stonehenge, Tintagel in Cornwall where we come across (King) Arthur's Caste, Merlin's Cave and the coast (at Tintagel)l, St Nectan's Glen in Cornwall, various areas of the Lake District and more.

      The pastels also include various pieces of poetry with them - at times from Christina Rossetti, Percy Bysshe Shelley and others. Some of my favourite pieces on show were Bonny Amrethryn, Crummock Water, Ascension (a beautiful moonlit picture of Stonehenge), The Sorceress, White Goddess (another beautiful moonlit picture of Stonehenge with a huge white moon and clouds over it), Stealer of Hearts and Keeper of Dreams (a beautiful white cat in the moonlight) and many others - with most of them being outdoor scenes in the countryside or woods.

      For those who love deep colours, clear detail, natural scenes and various forms of light to view all of this in, then viewing her work is highly recommended - it reminds one very much of some of the romantic artists of Britain and is maybe perfectly seen with the Pre-Raphaellite exhibition at the Tate Britain now on. Her work also reminds me of some pieces by Caspar David Friedrich for the sweeping, powerful and confident portrayals of, again, many natural settings.

Brian Froud on Anne Sudworth's paintings.

   "Anne Sudworth is an artist aligned to the great European tradition of Dark Romanticism. She presents a re-visioning of our landscape, where the poet communes with enchanted phantoms, and is bathed in a mystical illumination in which the very soul of nature is revealed. She reminds us that it is the purpose of great art to express true and transcendent spirit."

"Gothic Fantasies" the new book on Anne Sudworth's work
Review by Jay for Vision 27 Magazine

      This is a beautifully presented book, the cover is striking, the pages are all edged with silver - this book really is something special. Prepare to have your breath taken away! There is page after page of the most beautiful paintings, in particular the ones of the trees and the moon caught my attention, I just wanted to climb inside the picture! With an uncanny knack of turning a beautiful scene into a mesmerising painting, she will stun you! There is also well-written text, which I eventually got round to reading, (the paintings completely absorbed me!). There are five chapters in all, which open with a brief passage about their titles such as "Darkness" and "Ruins". As the book closes there is a piece on the artist herself. This really was a pleasure to review, and I cannot rave enough about this book, it's stunning.


Ancient Evenings
John Grant
Article featured in Artists and Illustrators Magazine

     There's an old tale about three blindfolded men who're asked to identify an elephant. The first touches the tail and says the mystery object is a rope; the second, grabbing a leg, asserts that the object is a tree; the third, encountering the trunk, declares this is a serpent. The point of the tale is that we're like the blindfolded men; although we can see, we cannot see -- we recognise only a part of what is in front of us, and on the basis of that we constantly misidentify and misunderstand the totality.

     Some people are able to see better than the rest of us. If they're then capable of rendering their vision onto canvas or paper in such a way -- whether abstract, surreal or mimetic -- that we, too, can have at least a glimpse at what they see, then we describe the person as a gifted artist: their works offer windows onto a more profound, more insightful reality than the one we are accustomed to. But the true artistry is, arguably, that initial act of seeing; the technical rendition, while of course extremely important, is secondary.
     The British artist Anne Sudworth is a supreme technician – her evocative, often broody pastel works are superbly rendered and display an almost uncanny mastery of light in all its many manifestations -- but it is the vision inspiring her work that differentiates her from so many other artists who are likewise able technicians. Her pictures have a powerful affect: they pulse with meaning, with the sense that there are many more levels of reality than the superficial one that we normally accept as being all there is. One could think of the world of Anne Sudworth as the world you can only ever see out of the corner of your eye, and which disappears when you turn to look at it face-on.

She is an artist who rejects labels, even though labels are often applied to her. Certainly she is a fantasy artist, and on occasion she tackles straightforwardly fantasy subjects, as in her brilliant fairy painting Breath of the Bright Fey -- which easily stands comparison with the work of any of the great fairy painters, such as Dadd and Rackham -- or in her teasingly fantasticated landscapes, like the one depicted in Sanctuary. Yet simply to call her a fantasy painter is to call her something less than what she is: to distinguish, she is a painter of fantasy, and I have argued at length elsewhere that, considered as such, she is probably the most important practitioner at work today.

She has also been described, again with justification, as a mystical painter, a term that unfortunately conjures up notions of the more self-indulgent fringes of New Ageism. There is mysticism a-plenty in her paintings, if by mysticism one means the yearning to penetrate the outside skin of our world to the truth that lies behind, and indeed the philosophical underpinning of her work -- and what makes it so individualistic and affecting -- is mystical; yet you can search a Sudworth picture in vain for meaningless mandalas or any of the other trappings that too often pass for profundity. Hers is a mysticism that is born from the subject matter -- born from earth and air and sea -- rather than from the projection of artificial human thought patterns onto it. It might seem odd to call her a realistic painter, in that the affect of her pictures is utterly different from that of a photograph, yet in a way she is -- with the proviso that the reality she is painting is the reality she sees, not just the surface decor but the underliers. This, of course, is the heart of the mystical vision.

It is perhaps in her landscapes and in her tree paintings that this is most evident. For example, we've all seen countless paintings of Stonehenge, and some of them have even been quite good, but Sudworth’s vision of this ancient site, in Giants' Dance, is unlike any other. The stones of the megalith are relegated to the bottom most area of the picture; yet, though small and almost indistinguishable in the gloom, they remain a primary focus of the painting. Dominating the area is the night sky, and in particular the crescent moon. One could spend many pages merely describing the cascades of meaning that pour from this picture; here we can merely note the implication that the landscape and its stones are incomplete in isolation -- that they are complete only when taken together with the moon.

     The earth has its magic, the picture seems to be saying, and so have artefacts; but in this instance these are unfinished without the admixture of moon magic. In her extensive series of paintings called Earth Light Trees, Sudworth seems to focus more exclusively on earth magic, and yet in many of them moonlight -- moon magic -- plays an integral part. One of the most mystically affecting of these, The Enchanted Tree, shows this to perfection. The most cursory of glances would suggest that the picture's source of illumination is the moon, but immediately thereafter one realises this is not the case: the main light is coming from the base of this grand oak. This is the Earth Light that gives the series of paintings its name.

Sudworth explains: "It's a kind of symbolic, sometimes spiritual, sometimes physical light which shows the earth's power – particularly in trees. It's the main theme running through my work, and one that I'm continuing to explore -- the idea that the earth has a darker, lesser known side, perhaps one of which our ancestors were more aware." She adds: "In olden times people would use rhymes and charms to try to make visible the Earth Light of a particularly special place or tree. The Earth Light was said to give great strength and energy as well as promote a more harmonious relationship between man and nature."

     The Earth Light is portrayed even more starkly in Gowrim Idhree. The painting's title is the name of a tree spirit specific to the yew. Yews are taken in legend and folklore to symbolise many things, but one of the most important can be inferred from the yew's alternative popular name, the Death Tree. The Earth Light in this picture displays none of the approachable warmth of that in The Enchanted Tree: instead it is cold, alien, chillingly inhuman. Even if we knew nothing of the yew's connotations, this picture would tell us what they are. The spirit is no cheery little leprechaun.

Sudworth's intoxicating mixture of fantasy and mysticism – and of something that is more than just a combination of the two – has brought her considerable success. The most recent of several solo exhibitions is the inaugural display during March and early April at the significant new regional museum The World of Glass, in St Helens. And April also sees the publication (by Paper Tiger) of the first book on her work, with commentary by myself - Enchanted World: The Art of Anne Sudworth. A further solo exhibition, at the Grove House Gallery in Keswick, follows in May. Her art is gaining increasing attention in the United States, where she has been the subject of several magazine and website features in the past few months. In short, she has come to be recognised as the major artist she is -- major because of her vision, her ability to see.


21st Century Goth
The Goth Rock Book by Mick Mercer

One extraordinarily talented artist. Look at the works here......
      -Mick Mercer

The Hex Files
The Goth Rock Book by Mick Mercer

       Take my word for it, Anne whose work I cannot reproduce here, because it's all twilight scenes, in colour, is an amazing artist. Outside of the music in this book, she is the most talented individual here, her talent going way beyond awesome. You'll simply have to hope you get the chance to attend one of her gallery exhibitions sometime. If she does one, pop along because she does do limited runs of prints of certain paintings.

Excerpt from an interview for Cresent Blues
Anne Sudworth: Light from the Earth
by Jean Marie Ward


      The words "fantasy art" usually conjure images of battling barbarians, monstrous apparitions and decadent sorceresses enveloping both covers of a paperback book. You think in terms of "illustrations," not "paintings," and small canvases designed for reproduction and occasional display on the pegboard aisles of a science fiction convention art show. English artist Anne Sudworth defies these cliches on several levels. With very few exceptions, her voluptuous renderings of magical landscapes and legendary creatures tell no one's stories but her own. As at home in the reverent hush of an art gallery as in a cavernous convention art show, Sudworth's paintings use "Earth Light" to invoke the concentrated life force of the planet and strengthen the links between ancient myths and modern enchantments.

Crescent Blues: What is Earth Light?

Anne Sudworth: I think the best way to describe Earth Light is exactly that - "earth light" or light coming out of the Earth. It's interpreted in many ways, sometimes physical, sometimes spiritual but always as a symbol of the earth's energy and life-force. I have been told that the idea of Earth Light is a very ancient one.

Crescent Blues
: How did you develop this concept?    

Anne Sudworth: I've been influenced a great deal by the idea of this natural phenomena, this symbol of natural energy. In my work, Earth Light is an ongoing theme and one which I am continuing to explore. I like the idea that the Earth has a darker, lesser known side -- perhaps one of which our ancestors were more aware. I usually paint the Earth Light flowing from a particularly special tree, or perhaps a wood. For me this represents a concentration of the Earth's energy and power. Over the past few years it's become more and more a part of my painting.

Crescent Blues
: How does this relate to your feelings on the symbolic value of color?

Anne Sudworth: Color is a very powerful thing, used symbolically or otherwise. I don't always choose a color because of its symbolic value. I tend to use colors which will create the mood or atmosphere I want in a piece of work. In some pieces though, the symbolic value is very important. I use certain greens for example in many of my paintings to do with death or the afterlife like The Path or Stay Not On the Precipice. Here the symbolic color plays a major part in the work.

Crescent Blues: What are the wellsprings of your symbolism? Are the symbolic elements in your paintings deliberate or do they arise naturally from the subject matter?    

Anne Sudworth
: The symbolism in my work comes from all sorts of things. It's usually deliberate but probably done subconsciously as well. I draw on many things for my work, dreams: mysticism, nature.... There are many Celtic influences in my work too.

Crescent Blues: Do you see the many paths in your paintings as real roads or spiritual journeys? How do you decide which is which?

Anne Sudworth
: Most of the paths in my paintings do symbolize spiritual journeys or are gateways to somewhere or something normally closed to us. Sometimes the paths are boundaries. There are very few paintings which depict real roads as most of my scenes and landscapes are imaginary.

Crescent Blues
: Are there any other landscapes you'd like to explore and paint?     Anne Sudworth: I love seeing different landscapes and there are lots that I'd like to explore but I'm not sure I'd paint them. The landscapes that I paint are usually imaginary (though as I've said, these are sometimes based on real places). They are for me more than a pleasing scene to capture. The landscapes that I paint are more concerned with the mystical aspect rather than just the aesthetic one -- something which would perhaps take too long to explain.

Crescent Blues
: Your chosen medium is pastels. What prompted you to start working in this medium?    

Anne Sudworth: I used to work in all kinds of media, oil, watercolor, pencil and still do, occasionally. I started working in pastel some years ago when my mother bought a small box of artist's soft pastels for me. Since then I just can't seem to leave pastel alone.

Crescent Blues: What technical challenges do working in pastels present an artist? Are there some textures that lend themselves to pastels more than others? How does this affect your choice of subject? (Or does it?)

Anne Sudworth: Well, I think it's quite a messy medium and the dust can be a bit of a problem. It's also a very direct medium -- you don't need to add anything to it, or use any implement to apply it. (Pastel is basically pure pigment held together with a bit of gum.) My choice of medium doesn't affect my choice of subject at all. I think you should take the medium you choose and make it do whatever it is you want it to do. I don't think it should limit or dictate the choice of subject matter in any way.

Crescent Blues
: Family and friends frequently serve as your models. Do you have a favorite model? What makes that person such a joy to paint?

Anne Sudworth: I don't really tend to paint people that often. (I think there are only about 12 paintings of people in the whole of the book on my work.) When I do paint figures I usually already have an idea of how I want the figure to look, so I try to find someone with similar characteristics to help get the anatomy right. Warren, my partner, is always a good model and has sat for me a number of times. He's always very patient no matter how long he has to sit and is also a good critic -- brutally honest.

Crescent Blues
: Do you have any special rituals related to your painting? For example, do you like to paint to music? If so, what kind?    

Anne Sudworth
: I'm sure there must be lots of special things I do without noticing them. There is one thing that I always do, whenever I start a new piece of work I mark out a boundary in black or brown pastel. I almost always listen to music while I'm working. The kind of music depends on what mood I'm in and what I'm painting. I also have to be on my own. I just can't work with someone in the room (unless they are sitting for me or bringing me a supply of chocolate). When I'm working I become totally involved in the piece and tend to lock myself away.

Enchanted World - The Art Of Anne Sudworth
Book review by -- David V. Barrett, "Freelance Informer".

"The best of this bunch, though, is "Enchanted World: The Art of - Anne Sudworth". Few of these [pictures] have been done for book covers; most are simply beautiful paintings, of Lake District scenes, trees, ruins, all with gorgeous skies, and the most incredible lighting I've ever seen in paintings. Think of ruins painted by John Martin, or those haunting Victorian street scenes by John Atkinson Grimshaw. The lighting in these paintings, magical, mystical, fantastical, suggests the land of faerie; it comes from the paintings themselves, from the moon, from the trees. Some of her paintings do have dragons, unicorns, faeries and other fantasy creatures; but it's the trees, the ruins, and above all the skies, which make these paintings so wonderful. Of all the art books I've reviewed in this column over the years, this is the one I would most want to buy as a special gift for a very special friend."

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