When Tania Schmieder contacted me with a note of appreciation for ‘the awakened eye’ website there was no mention of her wishing to be included on the site. But she had left a cybertrail; I followed it to her paintings, which in turn delivered me to an uncommon depth of silence. She had come upon the site while seeking out the writing of Frederick Franck, and said that his books had been a great inspiration for her. Readers here know that Franck was a profoundly important teacher for me; the site takes its name from his 1979 book, The Awakened Eye. It was clear that Tania’s work would be a perfect fit for the artisans’ gallery. An invitation was offered, et voila!
Tania Schmieder, Lemon, blue bottle and white freesias, oil on aluminium, 20″ x 32″
Tania is quiet about her work. Currently, she has no website, although you can see her work at a few online links included on her page. There’s no big sell, no complicated concepts about what she’s saying, no long lists of exhibitions, publications and/or awards. Her works are similarly quiet, yet their potency is undeniable.
Born in Kenya, Tania grew up in Brunei and has travelled widely. She graduated from Edinburgh Medical School in 2006, but after a year working as a junior doctor realised she would never thrive in the medical environment.
Tania Schmieder, Eggs in Okada cup, pencil on watercolour paper, 7″ x 6″
She is now thriving as a self-taught artist, working at her home in Freiburg, Germany.
It was in England that Tania experienced an interaction with a still-life painting that “brought her to her knees” and made her take up painting seriously. Hearing this made me think of Albert Camus’ observation:
A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.
The blessedness Tania experienced when her heart opened in front of that “great and simple image” is her companion as she draws and paints, and the possibility that her work might invite the same blessing for someone else provides its meaning for her.
The ability to take an ordinary everyday vessel and re-enchant it to our eyes; to capture and suspend the transient beauty of a flower, plant or fruit in timelessness; to gently guide us towards a tranquil, simple suchness that cannot be wordified – this is Tania’s genius.
Tania Schmieder: Fern, oil on linen, 16″ x 12″
The purpose of ‘looking’ is to survive, to cope, to manipulate …
this we are trained to do from our first day.
When, on the other hand, I SEE, suddenly I am all eyes,
I forget this ME, am liberated from it and dive into the reality that confronts me.
– Frederick Franck
The artist who SEES thus, and whose expression can also help others “dive into the reality” and experience its immanent immensity, is a blessing to us all.
Giorgio Morandi described himself as “essentially a painter of the kind of still life composition that communicates a sense of tranquillity and privacy, moods I have always valued above all else.”
In her quiet and modest way, Tania Schmieder exemplifies the same values. Same species: rare, and increasingly endangered in the frantic overwhelm of an image-driven digital world.
Tania Schmieder at the artisans’ gallery
the 10 commandments (guidelines for the creative life)
This is the first time I’ve been brave enough to ask directly:
If your work has been freely featured on the site,
whether by invitation or submission,
or if, as a reader,
you’ve found the site’s content helpful,
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUPPORT THIS PROJECT?
(A deep bow to those of you who didn’t need to be asked.)
8 thoughts on “an uncommon depth of silence”
Thank you Miriam. Her work is, well, words don’t express it. Let’s just say it will influence my photography.
The still beauty and dazzling purity of Tania’s work leave no doubt as to the depth of silence it has emerged from… “an uncommon depth of silence”; your qualifying is spot on, Miriam. And I really love what Tania says about the meaning of her art being to inspire others to “see”, in the same way that she was inspired herself by Helen Simmond, and to share and connect with others who “see” too, and to support each other. I totally agree.
I meant “I can totally relate to that.” (Ah I wish there were a way to edit comments here before they get inscribed in cyberspace for eternity… or is there? :-))
Tania’s work is so very beautiful! I can relate to the silence she connects with through still lifes, and can feel it in the beauty of her work. So glad to be acquainted with her paintings. A wonderful addition to the TAE artist’s pages.
WordPress unfollowed me from you. This happens so often I am finding and only realise when I see a like on my Cloud and wonder where the person has been for so long (Esme’s brain is in drain mode always, unfortunately), lovely to see you dear Miriam! Lovely paintings too, I shall return when it is not the dead of night at some point. x
– Esme blowing a kiss from upon the Cloud
Well I’m so pleased you are drifting overhead again dear Esme… one can’t help but wonder how many other followers have been unhitched, and why.
Kisses coming back!
It’s happened both ways I’ve noted in the past few years and is incredibly frustrating; also some people have thought I had just unfollowed them and been hurt which is even more annoying! I know a few folks in the same boat and there doesn’t appear to be any answers coming from WordPress sadly.
– Esme hugging Miriam upon the Cloud
Beautiful use of “ma” (negative space) in those works.