Sharon Markwardt has a degree in Fine Art, and as the daughter of an artist, has always created things. However, a major shift in her work occurred in 2006 when she began riding horses. Alone and injured after a fall, she managed to climb back on, and it gave her a new sense of courage and boldness. Sharon moved from watercolor to oils, her color perception altered, and the subject matter was suddenly colorful, Western and Equine.
“I’m only half-joking when I say my horse threw me into western art!”, Sharon says with a laugh.
Since then, her career has blossomed. Tight cropping encourages the viewer to focus on the areas that fascinate the artist, who allows the subject matter to determine the format of the painting. Sharon’s unusual color usage causes the same image to appear much more realistic when viewed from afar. “My colors are intense, but they are not arbitrary–I paint the colors I actually see, though I have to look very closely. I just pump them up so they are easier and more fun for everybody to see. Perhaps I am an interpreter, as artists tend to be, translating Nature to Art. Black-and-white makes great photography, but it’s not a way I can live my life. Few things are absolute, in art or life; I’m a big believer in relativity. Each color is warm or cool, light or dark, only relative to those around it. EVERYTHING is relative.”
Currently, the subjects Sharon enjoys exploring most are animals, especially those found on the ranch, and their relationships with each other and with us. She believes they have personalities, and seeks to expose that “soul”. It is often reflected in the expressive eyes, which convey a rainbow of emotions. Animals share a closer connection with the living universe than do people with all their technology. Studying animals and bringing them to life on a canvas allows her to tap into that creative spirit and energy. She feels very fortunate to be able to see her neighbor’s Texas longhorns from her studio, and to have horses, dogs, and a miniature donkey on her own property. Her vet even introduced her to a nearby herd of bison, or buffalo, who also serve as subjects. With the recent acquisition of a second studio/home in Santa Fe, a whole new adventure is starting!
Cowboy boots are another theme featured in Sharon’s work. Perhaps that is because she is a fourth generation Texan, but in addition to interesting form and often wild colors, they offer a symbolic message. They are iconic of the American West and the pioneer spirit. Sharon says, “To me, they represent boldness and self-sufficiency, an independence from the need for the approval of others. The stark, minimalist backgrounds I favor refer to the unknowns and dangers that constitute life, through which we must boldly stride.”
“I thirst to learn something new with each painting, and hunger to bring the colors to life. The intense joy of the painting process feeds my soul. Others pick up on that, and comment that mine is “happy art”. Enough darkness and pain exist in the world, so I feel no need to create more. I believe good art will have an emotional impact or resonance with the viewer. I look for the beauty in each of my subjects, and strive to leave my collectors in an upbeat mood, ready to face the challenges of their day.”–Sharon Markwardt
Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors, University of Texas at Arlington, Biology minor
Painted with Soon Y. Warren, Tom Lynch, and others. Taught children, adults, demos and workshops, in both oils and watercolors. Served as Juror.
Markwardt’s work hangs in corporate and private collections throughout the United States and beyond. Collectors include doctors, lawyers, horsemen, financial planners, other artists, ranchers, and a Champion Bull Rider. Her paintings have been chosen as gifts to represent Texas by Ft. Worth Sister Cities International, and now hang in Italy, Africa, and Japan. An interior design firm specializing in “enhancing well-being” chose her paintings for the walls of the El Paso Children’s Hospital.
Selected Exhibits and Awards
“Women Artists of the West” National show as Master Signature invited member, RS Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, TX. Dec 2016
The Art Of Cutting, National Invitational Show, Ft Worth, TX Nov 2016
“Women Artists of the West” National Juried Show at the Tucson Desert Art Museum, AZ, Nov 2015
“An Artist’s Christmas” Juried show, Nov 14, 2015 at the Ft Worth Zoo.
“The Art of Cutting” NCHA Invitational show, Nov 22-29, Ft Worth, TX
“Conversations in Color” 4-artist show at Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, August , 2015
“Cowgirl Up!” National Invitational Show, Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Wickenburg, AZ, Mar-May
Navarro Arts Council award “A New Look at the West” show at the Pearce Museum, Corsicana, TX
“The Eyes Have It!” Two-woman show with Lori Faye Bock at Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, NM. Oct, 2013
2013 Tin Star Award (a top honor) “A New Look At The West” National show at the Pearce Museum, Corsicana, TX
2013 “Cowgirl Up!” National Invitational Show, Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Wickenburg, AZ
2013 Waxlander’s Featured Artist at “ArtFeast”, Santa Fe, NM
2012 Winter Gala Art Show, Ardmore, OK (Anne Morand Juror)
2012-2013 Historic Canyon Road Paintout
2012 Texas Artists Coalition Juried Show, Ft Worth, TX
2012 “Cowgirl Up!” National Invitational Show, Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Wickenburg, AZ
Sharon’s work has appeared in numerous publications such as,
Cowboys and Indians
Western Art Collector and
Fine Art Connoisseur