Donna Howell-Sickles was born in 1949 in Gainesville, Texas, and raised on a 900 acre farm in Sivell’s Bend. In 1972 she earned her BFA from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. During her junior year at Texas Tech University, she acquired an old postcard, circa 1935, depicting a cowgirl seated atop a horse. The vintage postcard read, “Greetings from a Real Cowgirl from the Ole Southwest.” Donna was instantly attracted by the charm and confidence of the woman in the image. She began incorporating the cowgirl into her art, as well as, collecting and researching these old-time cowgirl images. Before long, this Cowgirl icon became the central theme in the Contemporary-Western settings of Howell-Sickles mixed-media artwork.