Donna Howell-Sickles was in Lubbock in late January for the opening of a retrospective exhibition of her paintings at the National Ranching Heritage Center. She graduated from Texas Tech’s School of Art in 1972. In the years following, when she had to negotiate being both an artist and a mother, she would regularly begin painting as early as 4:30 in the morning, so that she could get three hours in the studio before the day began. “It sounds heroic,” she said to a group of students during her visit to campus on Friday, “but it wasn’t; it was necessary.”
The students were Studio Art majors enrolled in Tech’s senior seminar course, the focus of which is on professional practices and career development. Donna had these words of advice for them: “You want to go where the buyers go—travel destinations, not big cities. Big cities are where people buy artwork for other people. You want the man and wife on vacation, who say, “Yes!—that is exactly what we need.””
Indeed, it would seem Donna’s career has followed her own advice to a tee; she having had work frequently featured in the galleries of such popular vacation spots as Santa Fe, New Mexico and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“I try to honor the requests of galleries,” Donna said in response to a student’s question about galleries who ask that a body of work be extended or manipulated, “but I don’t—for instance—go so far as to change the colors of my artwork for a specific decorator or gallery owner. Thankfully, the cowgirl image is still one that speaks to me, as well as to others.”    read more >>