there wasn't a Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth - Donna Howell-Sickles'
art might've made one necessary.
The following is reprinted from Donna Howell-Sickles' bio for a lecture
in early 2006 from the North Central Texas College, Gainesville,
in Good Standing"
Howell-Sickles said her lifelong fascination with the cowgirl image
"all started with a postcard." In her last year of college at Texas
Tech, she acquired an old postcard from a friend that featured a 1930's-era
cowgirl seated on a horse and captioned: "Greetings from a Real Cowgirl
from the Ol' Southwest."
"The image spoke to me and I had no idea why," she said. "Although
I had grown up on a farming-ranching operation in Texas, we never
really thought of ourselves as western." But she "surrendered" to
the attraction and began using the imagery in her own art. The richness
of her work developed over the years along with her research into
the lives of real cowgirls and a deepening love of the wonderful mythology
"The cowgirl has become my icon for women in general," Howell-Sickles
said, and I'm using her to portray someone of warmth and humor with
whom to laugh."
In the beginning in 1972, she said, her image of the cowgirl was that
of the old postcard - "a wonderful, fake, glamorized image, something
someone just made up."
"By 1979, I had learned of the real cowgirls from the rodeos and Wild
West Shows of the 1910s and 1920s. " "Their loud bright costumes and
eccentric lifestyles fascinated me." "My work from 1979 to 1984 used
the cowgirl with little or no facial features, with the intention
of projecting a general western persona - not a specific person."
"As my work is now progressing, the cowgirls are expressing more joy,
friendship and self-esteem, and they need more specific personalities
and facial features."
has had more than a dozen one-woman shows and was named the featured
artist at the American Woman Artist Show at the National Museum of
Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming. Her works have also been prominently
featured in exhibits at the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort
Ms. Howell-Sickles currently resides in Saint