More than a Picture


To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone. -Reba McEntire

I walked into the Steamboat Art Museum  during the First Friday Art Walk not knowing what to expect of the Cowgirl Art exhibit, I was about to see. I was immediately drawn into the large scale images of Donna Howell-Sickles. Besides the wonderful use of bold color, the spirit of the images attracted me.

Donna-Howell-SicklesStrong women living larger than life  and a love of all things Western is depicted in each of the artist’s images. The work of this Texas artist from St. Jo, are highly recognizable branded images which she has worked to perfect since she was in college. Her art all came about after seeing a 1930’s vintage postcard that made its mark on her psyche. Her dreams of becoming a notable artist have been fulfilled. Her original paintings are in the NationalCowgirlMuseum and Hall of Fame and in prestigious galleries and major museums. Her art has been featured in Southwest Art Magazine.

Cowgirl Rising bookThe exhibition at the SteamboatArt Museum runs until October 13, 2013. Do stop by to see it, and visit the gallery store, next door. Donna Howell-Sickles’ prints, note cards, an independently published book “Cowgirl Rising,” and a stylish neckerchief with her images are available for purchase. Other gift items, such as jewelry, dishware, teeshirts and purses which incorporate her brand images are available on her website. Click for info & ordering

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Wisdom from Artists

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“A good teacher, like a good entertainer, first must hold his audiences attention, then he can teach his lesson.” ~ John Henrik Clarke

Last week, when I was pouring over Southwest Art Magazine, I came across an article called Drawn to the Garden, featuring artist Kathy Anderson and her gorgeous floral still life paintings. Being an avid perennial gardener, I was instantly drawn to the article, even though dabbling in paint is not a medium I work in.

Anderson spoke of the honor she felt when invited by Richard Schmid to “come paint with the Putney Painters.” She discussed in the article what she learned from working side-by-side with Nancy Guzik,  co-founder of the group. Guzik’s advice to Anderson was “to look over every single spot (on a painting) and make sure it is beautiful.” To read the full story, pick up the April issue of Southwest Art in your library, at the bookstore or at the newsstand.

These words of wisdom are useful to anyone who wishes to become a craftsman in any profession. After all, the definition of an artist according to the dictionary is “person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria.”

I am taking Guzik’s words to heart, and spending time once more, looking over every spot of my manuscript, to do all I humanly can to provide a narrative that will help others understand the path I’ve walked, and perhaps bloom and grow aesthetically, themselves, when they read my story.

Today, I am feeling grateful that in my gardenful of experiences in life,  I have come to know some of the finest painters of our time, such as Nancy Guzik, the late Timothy Thies and Richard Schmid, just to name a few. And I continue to learn from mentor, Kristen Thies,Click here for Guzik & Thies publications  who gave me roots  to understand the value art has in my life. Click for Richard Schmid painting videos

timothy thies painting

  Painting by the late Timothy R. Thies©

Photo credit:© Terry Leonard

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Faith in the Path Less Traveled

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Weave in faith and God will find the thread. ~Author Unknown

I was without my computer for awhile yesterday; it was in the “shop.” I took advantage of the freedom away from digital technology. Since so much of what I do is on-line based, a close relationship with all things paper has nearly been trashed. I often read the news and magazines, and sometimes books, via the computer these days, subscribing to fewer print publications.

Yesterday, for a few blissful hours, I sat in the Bud Memorial Library and read the April 2013 edition of Southwest Magazine from cover to cover. How I enjoyed myself!

The first great article I encountered was about artist Michelle Dunaway. It was superbly written by Gussie Fauntleroy. Dunaway, an artist who lives and studied at the MastersAcademy in Albuquerque, NM mentioned the importance of finding the joy in unexpected things by getting off the beaten path. She told of her childhood hikes with her father, and whenever there was a choice to make about what direction to travel, he taught her to take the path least followed which, more times than not, led to discovering things she didn’t anticipate.

art faithAs a painter, each time Dunaway faces a blank canvas it presents her with opportunities to make choices of color, lines, shape and other design elements that make a good painting. She has been taught to make right choices in art through workshops with the most influential and impressive painters of our time, such asRichard Schmid  and Jeremy Lipking And by studying the book Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting.

Dunaway says she “has always had an  interest in capturing  human expressions in paintings.” Her image “Faithfulness,” shown in the 2013 issue of Southwest Art, is an exquisite example of her portrait painting talents. It can also been seen on Dunaway’s website.

Next time I am in Santa Fe, NM, I look forward to visiting Sage Creek Gallery where Dunaway’s work is represented. Legacy Gallery, M Gallery of Fine Art and Insight Gallery also exhibits and sells her work.

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