Born in Pennsylvania, he studied at the Cleveland School of Art, and became an illustrator, painter, author and teacher. Focusing on natural history subjects early in his career, he won a prize in an exhibition of bird art at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in 1939. Sweney contributed articles and illustrations to national magazines including Sports Afield, Nature, Outdoors and Outdoors Man. He created the artwork for the Minnesota-based Brown & Bigelow publishing company’s wildlife calendars for 10 years. By 1956 he was a professor at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida and wrote several instructional art books in the years to follow. Technique of Painting and Drawing Wildlife (1959), Painting the American Scene in Watercolor (1964), The Art of Painting Animals: A Beginning Artist's Guide to the Portrayal of Domestic Animals, Wildlife and Birds (1983) and Cityscape: The Art of Painting the Urban Environment (1985). His first name also appears as Frederick or Frederic.
Reference: Gilbert, Dorothy B., ed. Who’s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts and R.R. Bowker, 1959. p. 558.