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We met during an art gallery stroll down my favorite avenue, fabled Royal Street in the French Quarter. Actually, I knew something about Louisiana artist legend Tanya Dischler’s paintings, having received a solid recommendation from an avid fan, her husband Nick, at a memorable wine dinner at Restaurant Indigo the previous evening. I assumed a loving husband like Nick could never be an art critic regarding his spouse’s work. The Royal Street meeting was my wonderful opportunity to hear from artist Tanya face to face. I became very interested and proceeded to view some of her works.

Soon, I forgot about all those priceless treasures on Royal Street.

Tanya Dischler is not of this world. She came from another universe where the artist reigns, agreed to share her talents for a while, build a noble family and show us how important the artist’s brush is in our quest for peace, understanding and pure joy. Her paintings make the statement that only through art will we ever see such things. Flowers literally explode; birds flutter; a bug-eyed owl seems to know too much; exotic bronze masks harken to long-disappeared civilizations; bowls, jars and wine bottles are omnipresent.

Georgia O’Keeffe meets Georges Seurat.

Tanya Dischler, by her own description, paints what she has seen and experienced from her years in South Louisiana. Tanya and her family live in Mandeville near Lake Ponchartrain. Her journey as a cerebrally gifted woman began in her birthplace of Bayou Sale, then to education at two Louisiana colleges and artist workshops in the U.S., Mexico, France and Indonesia. Her creative process seems complicated to those mortals like me who love great art for what is—something stirred up in the heart and soul, but who don’t always appreciate the intricacies of taking a vision and transferring it to a surface permanently through drawings and the exquisite use of a paintbrush.

Tanya told me that once the vision is fixed, she makes a drawing, and with a mixture of acrylic and watercolor, transfers everything into one of her brilliantly colored and detailed paintings. There is a juxtaposition of realism with abstract, muted with the vivid, soft and faded with bold but gentle clarity. Cows assume a spiritual place. Neon-propelled fish dominate a room. A glass of wine near a bowl of fruit suggests it should be seen by us rather than consumed.

“I dig deep inside,” Tanya said, “and locate fantasy. Everything from that moment on is an effort to portray the fantasy for others to see and understand.” Within that parameter, Tanya’s images are a tour de force, high-octane images often jumping off the canvass or, alternatively, hiding in the painted shadows.

After you know an artist, everything about their works takes on much deeper meaning. You get to know them through media: biographies, movies or the stage, the way most of us “met” Picasso, Da Vinci, Frieda Kahlo, Van Gogh and Andy Warhol. There is suddenly an added intimacy and mere admiration becomes obsession - the good kind- more akin to devotion than madness.

Tanya Dischler is the undisputed master of her supernatural soul, allowed by an unknown and mighty power to create, transform, display and communicate in the loveliest of all universal mediums. Nancy Dawson, who lives in Australia, had the great fortune to visit Tanya’s studio in Mandeville: “Her work intrigued me from the moment I walked into her studio," she shared. "Each of these paintings by Tanya now represents stages of my own life: healing and the loss of a loved one.”

Artists are subjected to style-based categories, an exercise better left for academics. Most worthy art on the market today is, I believe, beyond this. After all, we are multicultural beings, an amalgam or synthesis of what has gone before. Better to enjoy what is on the canvas. Tanya Dischler’s place of origin was some gentle, naturally perfumed land filled with friendly wildlife and scattered fields of magnificent wild flowers. So peaceful and quiet; so enduring.

Is she really from South Louisiana or here on a celestial visit?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tanya Dischler’s remarkable paintings continue to earn critical praise and attract discerning collectors from the four corners. Enthusiasts may contact Tanya directly by email at and view many of her works at . Doc plans to add a few of Tanya’s creations to his own magnificent art collection.

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