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"Ann Gardner’s “Snow, Upstream” is one of the first images that greets me at home after a day at work. It’s a view from a bridge outside her own home. An oblique glance along the Loire on a January morning. But no matter how hard my day or how gruelling its work, the picture still prompts me to stop and wonder.

What lies beyond that horizon? Who might be just waking up under that snow-topped roof on the left? Does the towpath border the river to its very end, or deviate to a home, a field, a warm watering-hole?
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To own one of Ann Gardner’s paintings is not just to enjoy what it portrays there and then, but to constantly, joyously ponder on what lies beyond."

Andrew Jolliffe
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"If you are thinking about engaging Ann as a teacher, my only advice would be – do it!

If you are serious about taking your art to the next level, Ann is absolutely the perfect instructor. In less than a year I am delighted to say that I have gone from ‘promising amateur’ to ‘competent artist’ under her tutelage – to the extent that I am now taking commissions.

I am sure I wouldn’t have done this without her help. I took some time to think about what makes her so effective before writing this recommendation, and I think it breaks down into 3 main areas:

1. She teaches how to paint ‘properly’
Ann’s training at the Slade under Euan Uglow and Lucian Freud means she teaches a ‘pure’ method of painting which very few people do these days. Whilst you may not adopt the approach 100%, I found it taught me any number of invaluable ‘foundational’ techniques, which have resulted in fresher, brighter, more sensitive, and ultimately more ‘painterly’ paintings. I think this is something every painter aspires to.

2. She has an extraordinary eye
I am constantly amazed at how quickly Ann will spot the issues in a painting and how she seems able to give really actionable, practical advice which invariably solves the problem. Compositionally she is very strong and has introduced me to new ways of thinking about organising a painting which has yielded tremendous results.

3. She is exceptionally generous
With her time, with her guidance, with her praise when something has been done well. For me, this is the hallmark of a great teacher, she really holds nothing back.

I am aware that this recommendation reads like a hagiography! I really can’t sing Ann’s praises highly enough. A fantastic artist and teacher that anyone who is serious about developing their painting practice can learn immeasurably from."

Leigh Brownlee
"The improvement in my work has been remarkable since Ann Gardner has been giving me tuition. I am naturally edgy about criticism even when I am looking for advice and Ann makes taking advice easy with her very sympathetic way of guidance. She has given me much more confidence than I had before and has helped me improve my technique no end."

Gerald Stubbs
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"The view from La Foce is a view I know well, so the painting has particular significance for me. But “View from La Foce” would be an enriching and delightful work of art with which to live even if I were not familiar with the area of Italy it depicts. It hangs above the fireplace at one end of a long room in an Islington terraced house, and it lights up the whole space with its verdant slopes, deeper areas of foliage, long slanting shadows, mysterious falling-down hilltop cottage, and single corner of brilliant blue Tuscan sky. In daylight it opens a permanent window on to a different, warmer, brighter part of Europe; but as dusk falls and the light trained on it comes on, it increases in exoticism and luminosity.

I’ve had the painting for over 6 months now, and still often spend time gazing at it and allowing it to evoke the early morning birdsong or the shimmer of midday. Living with one of Ann’s paintings is a genuine joy."

Linden Ife
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"We're a bit like that old advert where Walter Kayam liked the razor so much he bought the company. Ann Gardner exhibited (very successfully) at our annual house exhibition and we loved her work so much we couldn't part with it. We would have bought the whole collection as it looked so wonderful in the setting of our home but we couldn't afford to. We could manage one painting so we chose her stunning large oil study of light through trees and over water – 'Crescendo'.

Ann captures light with an extraordinary vibrance and everyone who sees the painting is captivated by its unexpected mixture of kinetic energy and calming tranquility. I can't wait for her to exhibit with us again this autumn but I am also already fearing the wrench of her work leaving us!"

Joe Harmston
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"I commissioned Ann to paint a landscape for my Silver Wedding. It was of a place which is very special to us and involved Ann travelling from France to the Lake District in the autumn of 2014 and sitting in the rain in a boat in the middle of a lake for three days waiting for the sun to shine (which it never did).

It also involved a very tricky problem. For what I have always perceived to be the most perfect mountain surrounded by other perfect mountains is in fact three summits on a very long ridge and how do you paint that? Where do you cut off the ridge but still capture the essence of a peak whose profile is immediately recognisable to every Lake District walker? How do you give the painting symmetry and balance? The answer is that you have to be a truly wonderful painter, as Ann is.

The other thing is that I had anticipated a modestly sized landscape which you might look at from time to time and think fondly of where you might be in a few months' time. Ann had something different in mind. I can only say that I am very glad indeed. What I got is a majestic painting which fills an entire wall. We get up every morning and find ourselves transported to the Lake District and (I am not biased) to the most beautiful view anywhere in the world.

Oh, and somehow it is bathed in glorious sunshine as it was on 26 May 2015 when we celebrated our Silver Wedding among friends and Ann presented us with this most wonderful painting."

Tom Leech QC
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"Ann absolutely captures the essence of the person in her Portraits. Not the staid Portrait of yesteryears – they feel modern and vibrant. She has in all three of our children managed to bring them to life on canvas so we can remember that moment in time. Modern in approach too, no lengthy sittings, a good photograph is all that is needed.

Ann keeps you up to date with the progress of the painting, encouraging feedback from the client so one always feels part of the process. We look on the portraits as fondly now as we did when they were presented to us."

Lisa and Andrew Balhiemer
"I have been buying paintings by Ann Gardner for over twenty years. Currently I have six of them on the walls of my flat in various rooms. They range from small still lives to watercolours and to large landscapes.

They have always given me joy to look at. Not only do they greatly enhance my home but they also inspire me daily."

David Holland QC
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"What is it that I most admire and love about Ann Gardner's paintings?

Above all, it has to be their generous, apparently inexhaustible response to the beauty of the natural world – combined with Ann's stunning talent, surely amounting to genius, for transmitting that beauty onto wood or canvas.

Each one of her paintings that I am lucky enough to possess – about a dozen in all – reflects that response and that talent, starting with the first of them (roses in a tall vase, acquired more than thirty years ago) and leading – via, for example, a walled garden in Sussex, or the cornfields of Quercy, or the vineyards of Tuscany – to the most recent of them, a celebration in green and gold of the sunlight penetrating a woodland glade, "somewhere in France".

The colours that pervade these paintings, vibrant but never too vibrant, blaze from my walls. Together with the evident passion with which they are applied, they entrance my visitors and enhance my daily life."

Richard Sachs, Lewes, Sussex, November 2019
‘Working with Ann was one of the most valuable experiences I have had as a young artist.

Ann taught me the value of looking, and how to successfully translate what you see onto canvas. I learnt the skills to construct a painting from composition to the application of considered colour. She not only helped me to improve my physical work, but encouraged me to pursue becoming an artist.

Ann’s teachings will stay with me as I develop as an artist. It was a truly inspiring experience that I could not recommend enough!‘

Jenny Campbell, February 2020
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"I have been extremely fortunate in possessing a several of Ann Gardner’s uplifting paintings for over a decade I have been buying. They give me immeasurable pleasure, serenity and joy unequal measures on a daily basis. The paintings have the unique ability to enhance both a classical and contemporary interior, they both compliment and stand above their setting.

I have been delighted with the Perrault I have commissioned. This I have found to be an extremely easy undertaking, Ann comes to photograph the sitter and once we have decided upon the image she goes away and undertakes the work sending an image just before completion so any adjustments can be made. She has an ability to create the essence of the sitter.

I have also commissioned portraits painted from life – witnessing the portraits of my three children being created in front of my eyes which was a uniquely thrilling experience. I am already planning my next commission...!"

Vicky Jolliffe
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"After seeing a wonderful double portrait of friends painted by Ann I was an immediate fan.I have six of Ann’s pictures in a collection that ranges from Hodgkin to Hirst, Mediaeval to Modern British. Ann’s have an individual personality that artists of real quality all possess, and it’s the Holy Grail for collectors. Her landscapes demonstrate wonderful brush work and use of colour. Her still lifes are wonderfully detailed and show the power of observation of an amazing “draftsman’s” eye, and delight me daily."

Philip Talboys, September 2020
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"Popped in to Konditor and Cook in Waterloo this evening and took this picture not realising that it was of the very talented Gerhard Jenne 'The Master' who happened to be in the shop at the same time. Great picture it has to be said and the salted caramel brownies were pretty good as well. "

Anonymous, September 2020
"Ann’s mentoring has been invaluable for my painting. She is generous with her time and in sharing her prodigious knowledge and experience – both from her own practice, and from passing on what she learned from the legendary painters who have taught her.

Ann gives confidence-boosting praise where she feels it is due, alongside insightful and honest feedback where she feels something hasn’t worked. She always provides constructive advice with something specific to work on, usually accompanied by reference images or links to historical or contemporary artists to research. As well as painting, Ann also provides great advice on other aspects such as materials, framing and sales.

Ann has provided remote mentoring to me via email – she is always quick to respond and lets me know if she can’t right away. It has been a pleasure and privilege to learn from Ann and I look forward to keeping in touch!"

Sean Monaghan, October 2020
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"When I first decided to open the gallery 'she has a space' – it was so important to find the right artist for the initial show. It took some time and then I stumbled across Ann Gardner's work at a small Notting Hill gallery. The paintings were beyond mere interpretation of a landscape; beautifully drawn, they were subtle yet intensely lyrical and a symphony of colour.

The show was a great success and now I am the happy owner of two wonderful small pieces."

Francesca Gonshaw, December 2020
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