Donna Howell-Sickles, a Texas based artist, has taken the image and idea of the cowgirl beyond charcoal lines and into reality. In the Western art genre, she has been exploring the layers beneath the Cowgirl’s engaging exterior for more than 40 years. Howell-Sickles herself identifies with the self-reliant and hard-working spirit of the cowgirl. In 2007 she was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame by the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas. Howell-Sickles’ work is a part of the art collections of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Booth Western Art Museum, the Tucson Museum of Fine Art, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, the C.M. Russell Museum and the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Her work has been in many exhibitions and featured in several publications. Currently, Donna’s work is represented by Big Horn Galleries in Cody, Wyoming and Tubac Arizona, Broadmoor Gallery, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Ann Korologos Gallery, Basalt , Colorado, McLarry Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico and at home in Davis & Blevins Gallery, Saint Jo, Texas
On the Edge of My Seat
Down By the River
There is Magic in the Water
A Near Miss
Gathering at Last Light
Red Sky Morning
My love of figure drawing, the American West, and mythology fueled my creative process from the very beginning. Before I discovered the image rich identity of the women who shaped the west, the horses alone were enough to hold my interest. They spoke to me of strength and beauty and the ability to survive. I still use the cowgirl to tell very current stories for, and about, women using an eclectic collection of images and ideas from both the past and the present.
I have long been in a position to create art that tells the stories of western women, our animals, and this rich land on which we depend, with dignity and joy. My artwork reflects my admiration for the strong western women of both past and present and connects those women’s stories to other women's stories from around the world. Stories worthy of telling about the beauty, the depth, and the joy of a living with an appreciation of the hopes and struggles we share.
The figures in my work are living in their ‘now’, and we viewers are allowed a glimpse into their lives. Lives that are filled and complicated by partnerships, friendships, beliefs, and companions. These Cowgirls know who they are, and they know that there are no dead-ends – just detours filled with opportunity. The vision of self they hold burns like a flame and keeps them company in the dark; it reminds them they are not alone, and never have been. Because, subject and viewer alike, we are all on an interconnected journey. When reality is messy, or complicated or even painful, I find solace in these reflections of hope and joy that I am privileged to create. I strive to communicate the value found in embracing the beauty and vitality that continuously surrounds us, and the importance of choosing joy whenever the opportunity arises.