"True second chances in life are few and far between"
My formal studies began at Syracuse University with a BFA in painting with honors, and postgraduate study at the Sorbonne in Paris, France at the L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
I established my art career exhibiting and selling at the Raymond Duncan Gallery in Paris and later at the Henry Howells Gallery in New York City’s SoHo.
When in my 20’s I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and I moved from Paris to the United States with my French husband and young son. I was fortunate to get gallery representation at Henry Howells Gallery in New York City. In a few short years, my young art career started to take shape. I secured exclusive representation through the gallery. My work sold well and people began to collect my artwork. This then led the gallery to invited me to prepare for my first big one woman show.
Shortly after that, my life and world changed. A severe MS attack hit both of my hands. They were numb except for severe nerve pain. I couldn’t even hold a fork let alone a paintbrush. I’ll always remember that feeling in the pit of my stomach when I gave the gallery the bad news; there wouldn’t be any show since I couldn’t even hold a pastel without crushing it.
A year of painful physical therapy restored many primary functions in my hands but the more “delicate” sensations for textures, wet or dry etc. did not return. I accepted the painful reality that my art career was over.
I returned to graduate school. I completed all the course work for a Master’s in Counseling Psychology at Villanova University and subsequently earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.
I established private practice in Bala Cynwyd, PA as a LCSW for psychotherapy. I used complementary mind body spirit interventions with my clients. Surprisingly and indirectly, this returned me to painting, my first love after a 20+ year absence.
True second chances in life are few and far between. Recognizing this, I knew I needed to devote all of my time and energies to my artistic endeavors, especially because I never thought I would paint again. I ultimately closed my private practice in order to devote all my time and energies to my art.
That was five years ago and now my journey is about discovering what I can do, and building from there. I love every minute of it. I’ve been given a second chance that I never dreamed possible.
That was five years ago and now my journey is about discovering what I can do, and building from there. I love every minute of it. I've been given a second chance at what I never dreamed possible.
At age 60 I completed the Post Baccalaureate program at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA. I was subsequently awarded the honor of an Alumni Fellow studio at PAFA for two years. After that I decided to move to Chester County where I have been for the last year and a half.
With fresh eyes and renewed spirit, my painting is making a significant shift, which continues to evolve. As my health changed, my life changed and my art changed. The foundation of all my work as well as my vision is based in energy, light and a strong spiritual connection.
As a result of this new perspective on life and art I've chosen to be known as Francine Renée Schneider using both my original given first and middle names in my art work. Renée in French translates into the word reborn and defines who I am now and what my work and life represents.
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