“Cowboy” is the common vernacular when it comes to speaking of ranch hands, but these artists know the strength, capability, and joy of women on the range, having been there themselves. Enjoy this selection of work from Donna Howell-Sickles, and view Wild and Wonderful, our current exhibition showcasing the wild, diverse, bold, refined, playful, and exploratory work of our women of the arts.
Donna Howell-Sickles was born in Gainesville, Texas, where she was raised on a 900-acre farm. The artist knew the true strength and joy of women in the ranching world, and yet, they were often depicted on the fringe of the culture: waiting for or watching the men come and go, gloriously, on horseback. Before long, powerful, joyous, exuberant, capable cowgirls became the central theme in her mixed-media artwork.
In the artwork, the cowgirl achieves the status of a heroine, and these images have brought her national attention, recognition, accolades, and success. Donna works on paper and canvas, in a mix of charcoal, pastel, and acrylic, most often leaving her under-drawing visible. Her work is rich with symbolism and allusions to classical mythology, but the viewer does not need to be familiar with the references to appreciate the female affirmations and the joy of life apparent in each piece. With an ageless grace and timeless stories, these cowgirl heroines will live on forever in vibrant colors through Donna’s artwork.
In 2007, Donna was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, honoring her body of work about the cowgirl. Her work is in the collections of several museums, and in 2011 she was voted one of the 40 Prominent People in the Western Art World by Southwest Art Magazine. She was President of American women artists from 2000 to 2003 and an honored guest artist at both the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and at the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana.
Donna’s work has been in many exhibitions and featured in several publications. Currently, her work is represented by Mountain Trails Gallery, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Big Horn Galleries in Cody, Wyoming and Tubac Arizona; Davis & Blevins Gallery in Saint Jo, Texas and McLarry Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.