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Kristine Schneider Paints Explorations of the Mind – Wandering in Wilderness

A beautiful hopeful depiction of a frontline nurse surrounded by colorful flower blossoms hangs in the subdivision of Wedgewood Forest in the Village of Panther Creek. It was created by Kristine Schneider, a celebrated local artist and longtime resident of The Woodlands.

“I felt a need to celebrate the men and women in the medical community who are sacrificing so much,” explains Schneider.

41-year-old painter/illustrator Schneider has a long history of helping others. Recently, her painting, Isolating Wilderness, was invited to The Assistance League of Houston’s “Celebration of Texas Art” Show. It was juried by Cara Manes, Assistant Curator of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, with a portion of the artwork sales proceeds benefitting The Assistance League of Houston, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving children and adults lacking essential needs.

Schneider holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from The University of Houston and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Sam Houston State University. Throughout her life, and in efforts to aid and better understand the human condition, she has held various positions at The Houston Museum of Natural Science, The Woodlands Children’s Museum, Community Assistance Center, Interfaith of The Woodlands and Catholic Charites of the Archdiocese Galveston-Houston.

In 2019, Schneider decided to focus solely on her art. In her home studio in The Woodlands, she works from photographs she takes and then uses watercolor, acrylic, oils, pen and ink and pencil to recreate the emotion felt during the time the photograph was taken. She credits artists/art teachers Nancy Binford from Knox Jr. High and Ann Marie Hopkins from McCullough High School for giving her the confidence to recognize herself early in life as an artist, and, to therefore give herself license to pursue it as a profession.

Schneider’s Socratic desire to understand what being human means also transfuses her artworks. In her noted Wilderness Series, Schneider’s oil paintings on canvas showcase layers of vibrant color in an enthralling and dreamy mixture of contemporary realism and impressionism. She is fascinated with how the word “wilderness” is sometimes used to describe uncivilized environments—desolate, wild, dangerous, and yet, at other times used to describe just the opposite—tranquil, still and nourishing spaces. For Schneider, walking in the wilderness is both a place and a state of mind. In the 10-piece series, she provokes us to examine today’s human experiences in wildernesses.

Schneider explains her idea of confronting wilderness is more about aloneness than it is a physical location on a map. Through this lens, any place can be a wilderness—a busy city street, a highway underpass, a suburban hike and bike trail—even a baseball game in a large arena filled with thousands of people. Aloneness, like wilderness, can be desolate, wild, dangerous, but also quiet, soothing and a cultivating environment—”a place full of mercy.”

“If we choose to rely only on ourselves in the wilderness, we are lost to chance, limited by our own understanding of how to survive. If we choose, however, to listen for the voice of God our creator, we find everything we need,” smiles Schneider.

Schneider’s Wilderness Series is timely and healing. We are isolated during a virus and how we choose to experience it will forever define how we move forward with ourselves and each other.

This month, Schneider is working on a second gratitude art piece titled V is for Victory (which will also be publicly displayed in her yard) and will virtually exhibit her artwork Longing Wilderness in the upcoming 35th Annual Texas and Neighbors Regional Art Exhibition and Competition.

The Woodlander thanks Kristine Schneider for honoring the medical community’s daily coronavirus battle through her gratitude art, and for challenging us to think about past, present and future wildernesses—whatever and whenever they may be.