Through a wood darkly with Anne

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Anne Sudworth is a British artist, internationally known for her magical trees and haunting moonlit landscapes. Drawing and painting since early childhood, she presented her first exhibition in 1993 called Visions and Views. She has since exhibited widely and her work can now be found in many collections around the world including Germany, Australia, America, Russia, India, Japan, New Zealand, and the UK.

She is a self taught artist, always preferring to explore her own ideas and she has experimented with many different media including sculpture, oil, watercolour, clay and pen and ink. She now works mostly with pastel and charcoal.

Her dark, moody pastel paintings are deeply involved with nature and its more mystical aspects. This is probably most evident in her Earth Light Trees, an ongoing series of paintings which represents a central theme in her work. Moonlight is also a dominant feature, with the moon in various phases providing an important part of the symbolism, which runs throughout her paintings.

Her inspiration comes from many things including dreams, nature, death, fairytales, mythology and folklore.

Her work has been described as ethereal, visionary, magical, gothic, fantastical and occasionally surreal and her strange, haunting works, particularly her moonlit scenes, have influenced many.

Anne Sudworth’s work is beautifully described by Academy Award winning actor, Nicolas Cage, who wrote: “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.”

Her dark, moody pastel paintings are deeply involved with nature and its more mystical aspects.

She says: “In much of my work I use aspects of magical imagery and ancient beliefs, a mixture of the natural and the arcane. I like to explore the idea that the earth has a darker, lesser known side, perhaps one of which our ancestors were more aware. This is probably most evident in my Earth Light Trees.”

Her Earth Light Trees are an ongoing series of paintings which represents a central theme in her work. These pictures all show imaginary scenes in which trees, forests and woodlands glow with their own “earth light” and life force, symbolizing the power and energy which the earth holds. Moonlight is also a dominant feature, with the moon in various phases providing an important part of the symbolism which runs throughout her paintings. She says “ I have always been fascinated by moonlight and often walk at night, especially on the hills and in woodlands. I love wild places, and at night time they seem to take on a particularly magical feel.” The stony path is also an important motif in her work and appears in many paintings.

Anne is well known for her depiction of many of Britain’s megalithic sites including Avebury, Stonehenge, Wayland’s Smithy and Casltlerigg Stone Circle. These wonderful sites have become an important part of her work and have taken on a spiritual significance, similar to that of her trees. She calls these ancient trees and stones “the silent watchers of our world”.

There is something dark and alluring about them, something of the esoteric. Indeed they have become entwined in her own personal mythology which manifests itself in the many layers and motifs in her paintings.

Ethereal, detailed deptictions of nature at night give her work a feeling of quiet solitude. At times restful and peaceful there is also a reassuring sense about her night scenes.

The show at the Pannett is perfectly timed, especially in light of the recent lunar eclipse and thoughts turn to halloween.

Anne’s darkly romantic paintings can be seen at the Pannett Art Gallery from tomorrow to November15. The gallery is open Monday to Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 9.30am – 4.30pm, and is free.