The Latest from American Women Artists

Carrie Waller Abundance

In the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Art of the West museum director and writer Michael Duty included Howell-Sickles work in his feature, What is a Masterpiece? Howell-Sickles stood out as the only woman included in a list of highly respected and gifted artists.


Awards for upcoming show exceed $35,000

The record-setting prize packages for the 16th Annual Juried Competition and Member Show now exceed $35,000 in cash and merchandise awards donated by our generous sponsors.  

Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded to both Signature Members and to Master Signature members – six awards in all.  

In keeping with tradition and our mission to maximize recognition and exposure for our members, the Associates who’ve been juried into the show will receive a full slate of sixteen awards and awards of merit for both painters and sculptors inclduing a Best in Show for the Juried Competition.

Reminder – September 6th deadline for images and consignment sheets 


If you haven’t already sent in your show images, please do so to:    
Your consignment sheet can be sent regular mail to: American Women Artists, PO Box 4125, Queensbury, NY 12804.  Don’t forget to email us your top-ten list of buyers for our show mailer.  Hanna Gallery needs this asap.  Send to 

Coast to coast and international representation with new Master Signature Members



Canadian sculptor Cathryn Jenkins, pictured right, joins fellow sculptor Diane Mason of Colorado and painters Ann Larsen (New York), Judith Mackey (Kansas), Kaye Franklin (Texas) and Kathrine Lemke Waste (California) as AWA’s newest Master Signature members. Congratulations all! 

You won’t want to miss Demo Day November 2 in Fredericksburg! 

243Master Signature member Elizabeth Robbins (work pictured left) joins plein air painter Jeanne MacKenzie and sculptor Judeth Davis for a day of demonstrations on the beautiful grounds of the Good Art School at Baron’s Creekside Resort in Fredericksburg, Texas.  Watch demos, network with other artists or bring your paints and enjoy access to a visual smorgasbord of delights spread over 26 acres of Texas Hill Country.   Members can take advantage of an Early Bird $45 day pass which includes admission and a buffet lunch.  The member price increases to $55 after October 1, when admittance will be opened to non-members as well (non-member price $65).  Space is limited, due to the capacity of the room being used for demos, so first-come, first served.  Email for more information.

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We need you!  Volunteer and make a difference


The women who’ve stepped up and volunteered for AWA over the years reads like a Who’s Who of women artists.   In the last year alone, we’ve had members generously volunteer to judge our shows, demonstrate their art, balance our books, write our press releases and complete a host of other tasks large or small.   

As an organization, we depend on our members, patrons and other supporters – men and women – to help us in our ongoing mission to open doors for women in the visual arts.  We have two museum shows on the horizon and we’re well into the planning stages of our 2014 and 2015 member shows.  We are forming our show committees now and welcome volunteers.  We also need finance, communication, human resources and membership committees to help oversee the organization as a whole.  Associates, Signature and Master Signature members are all encouraged to volunteer.

Every artist is a small business woman, with all the attendant skills that go along with the job title.  And for those of you who have or had “other jobs” along with your art, we want you too!  Some of our members are artists who also happen to be attorneys, accountants, computer specialists, graphic artists and more.  Won’t you consider sharing some time and talent to help us bring our amazing membership to the full attention of the art world?  

For more information, contact Diane Swanson at

AWA Past Presidents and extraordinary volunteers gathered last year during our museum show in Tucson.  “Who’s Who” from left to right: Linda Glover Gooch, Nancy Boren, Star York, Carol Swinney, Bethanne Kinsella Cople and Donna Howell-Sickles.  Photo by Jack Kulawik – a generous supporter whom we thank for the many, many extra hours he spent photographing our 2012 events.



  AWA Master Signature Member and Past President Donna Howell-Sickles:

A real cowgirl of the ole West
By Nicole Cardoza 
copyright 2013 American Women Artists


In the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Art of the West museum director and writer Michael Duty included Howell-Sickles work in his feature, What is a Masterpiece?Howell-Sickles stood out as the only woman included in a list of highly respected and gifted artists.
“[And the Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon] has that final quality of a master-piece – it makes the viewer stop in his or her tracks and say, ‘Wow!'”Duty writes.

The iconic 1930s postcard that Donna Howell-Sickles often cites as the initial inspiration for her now famous ‘cowgirl’ image could almost be a postcard from her own past. Howell-Sickles was born in 1949 in Gainesville, Texas and raised on her family’s 900 acre farm.

“As a child I knew I could draw – I just didn’t know that was a valuable thing.” Howell-Sickles remembers.  Howell-Sickles, in her third year of studying elementary education at Texas Tech University in Lubbuck, was taking a required art class when she saw the professional potential in her own abilities.  “I met people who were more like me than anyone I had every met before,” says Howell-Sickles, “I decided this was what I wanted to do – of course that means for about ten years I didn’t have a lot of money.”  

Though her parents were concerned by the change in her major, Howell-Sickles graduated from Texas Tech in 1972 with a BFA in Painting and Drawing. It was during that last year of study that she received the vintage postcard that pictured a cowgirl sitting on a horse and read “Greetings from a Real Cowgirl of the Ole Southwest”. For over 40 years the cowgirl has been a reoccurring image and theme in Howell-Sickles work. Her art is often a mix of charcoal, pastel and acrylic on paper or canvas.

The American west is full of women  

but Western art is missing strong imagery for those women

“An artist’s work should address what they know – I love the land I am from,” says Howell-Sickles. “I find that the women in my life are exceptional – the American west is full of women but Western art is missing strong imagery for those women.”


Marion Birdsall holds a pose for Donna Howell-sickles during an AWA demonstration in Tucson last year


Chris McLarry, owner of the McLarry Gallery in Santa Fe where Howell-Sickles is featured, was drawn to her work when he first saw it, 26 years ago. “No one else’s work looks like hers,” McLarry say, “and she lives her art work, like when someone puts on a shirt and it just fits right because it is theirs – it is an extension of her.”

if you are being honest it is still a world skewed heavily towards the male



Although more women than ever before are able to make their living as artists, Howell-Sickles still believes they are underrepresented in the upper echelons of the art community.As one of the founding members of American Women Artists’, Howell-Sickles doesn’t want to see female artists generalized but celebrated and taken seriously.  “The art world has treated me well and I have a wonderful life in the arts, but if you are being honest it is still a world skewed heavily towards the male.” Howell-Sickles says.

In Western art, a genre dominated by masculine themes and strong male figures, Howell-Sickles work fills a void and provides a feminine voice and perspective, according to McLarry.

“In her subject matter you see something real and then something in the dream world,” McLarry says. “So for the viewer, there is the initial, apparent reaction to the painting and at the same time a different, deeper meaning.”

Howell-Sickles work can be seen at McLarry Fine Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Altamira Fine Art in Jackson, Wyoming,Expressions Galleries in Scottsdale, Arizona, Big Horn Gallery in Cody, Wyoming, The Main Street Gallery in St. Jo, Texas and Hayden Hays Galleries in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In November 2007, Howell-Sickles was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas.

Shown right: And So They Ran, by Donna Howell-Sickles, Mixed Media on paper, 10 x 40 inches  

AWA Board and Officers 2013
Ann Larsen, President, Edinburg, NY 
Kathrine Lemke Waste, Vice President, Sacramento, CA
Paula Holtzclaw, Secretary, Waxhaw, NC
Judeth Davis, Treasurer,Glendale, CA
Carol Swinney, Immediate Past President, Casper, WY
Bethanne Kinsella Cople, Past President, Alexandria, VA
Nancy Boren, Past President, The Colony, TX 
DeBob Jacob, Maypearl, TX