Tundra , rough - experiment with new paper, watercolour, 2016

Tundra, rough - experiment with new paper, watercolour, 2016

   Anna-Marie Ferguson was born in the historic New Forest of southern England and immigrated with her family to western Canada at the age of nine. Her life has since been divided between the two countries. Both the mediaeval roots and ancient woodlands of her birthplace - and the vast, wild landscapes of Canada are reflected in her art. As a self-taught artist she began her career with a British graphic design studio at the age of sixteen. It was her interest in history and mythology that led her to paint and later write about the characters of legend.

    In her early twenties Anna-Marie both wrote and illustrated Legend the Arthurian Tarot and its accompanying book, A Keeper of Words, which retold the legends surrounding King Arthur. The work brought multiple language translations and the coveted contract of illustrating Sir Thomas Malory’s classic Le Morte d’ Arthur, first published in 1485. Malory is demanding of its illustrator in scope and diversity of subject from battle, to romance and the visionary nature of the Grail Quest. Ferguson’s illustrations went on to international acclaim. In 2006 Anna-Marie returned to the tarot with the special commission of The Llewellyn Tarot, a flagship title to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its publishing house. The opportunity to resurrect lesser known histories and mythologies was the deciding factor in her committing to The Llewellyn Tarot which showcases the Celtic culture and history of Wales.

   While drawing on many cultural and literary sources, Anna-Marie explains “The land itself is my first inspiration, as the legends which grow out of it carry their own distinct scent. The realistic treatment of landscape in a painting - light, figures, etc. - and the realistic depiction of the unreal creates a tension in an overlapping of worlds…Not fantasy in the typical sense removed from this world, nor photographic realism, but somewhere in-between...It is this borderland of mystic realism that I strive for, and the thrill of painting what cannot otherwise be seen.”

   As classical watercolour, the paintings serve as book illustration and individual works of art, making for popular museum exhibits and additions to private art collections.

   Artistic work aside, Anna-Marie has devoted much time to the welfare of wildlife (please see documentary Unnatural Enemies: the War on Wolves; winner of the Genesis award given by Humane Society of the United States).  Her current project is an ambitious, original story set in the 14th century.