Special skills lost to a wide circle of people

ANNA CHILTON: An inspiration to the art world.
ANNA CHILTON: An inspiration to the art world.

Southland's art world shrank with the sudden passing at the end of June of Anna Schneideman Chilton, an artist of note who shared her skill with so many others, tutoring for more than 20 years through the Southern Institute of Technology and in classes held in her studio at her Gladstone Terrace home.

She was just 54.

Her death was unexpected and her passing leaves a studio full of work in progress: her own and those of the many others who came to work and paint with her, valuing her guidance, her readiness to accept whatever style or medium they chose, her ability to see what was needed, to offer a word, a nudge, a guiding line.

"Anna was inspiration, just painting with her there gave work a lift. She could somehow see what was intended and help it happen," said Tony Smith, one of a number of artists who began studying with her many years ago and stayed on to paint with her each week.

Born in Auckland in 1960 to the German Jewish Schneideman family, she attended nearby St Cuthbert's College before going to Australia to study art.

In Sydney she met Southland- born musician Peter Chilton, fell in love, married in Auckland, home of her late parents Lorna and Arthur Schneideman, and came south to settle among a host of Chiltons who believe music is the food of love and who also include a host of good chefs among their number.

Peter and Anna had celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary a week before her death, celebrating the joy of their children Amelia and Maisie with partners Lyle Pe'a, Dunedin, and David Tressler, Wellington, looking forward to a new stage in their own lives with daughters grown and gone.

Anna was a beautiful woman who loved clothes and jewellery. She could mix Liz Thomas design with an op-shop find to create a look as distinctive as her art and she was always willing to share both, appreciating the work of others as much as her own.

Her untoward passing leaves family, friends and fellow artists at a loss.

She leaves her husband Peter, daughters Amelia and Maisie, sister Lisa Walton and the brothers Schneideman in Auckland.

Her quarter century in the southern Chilton clan brought her a host of friends in music and art circles and others with whom she shared her own special skills, warmth and her gift of friendship.

The Southland Times