As the daughter of an artist, Sharon Markwardt has always created things, and has enjoyed working in many media. Originally a Biology major, she paid her way through a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with scholarships and by working as a metal sculptor, a job she got through an art teacher while still in high school.
The fourth-generation Texan has always lived in the Metroplex, and moved to the countryside south of Ft. Worth in 2005 to accommodate her daughter’s horse. Sharon’s own decision to learn to ride had fateful impact on her art. She confirmed the old cowboy saying that “Green plus green equals black and blue!” Alone after a bad fall, she managed to climb back on, and gained a new sense of confidence and boldness. Exposure to the world of horsemanship, cowboys, and their colorful gear and characters expanded her horizons. With the horses, she learned how to be calmly assertive, gentle yet firm, and that new-found strength made an appearance in her art.
Sharon shifted from watercolors to oils, her color perception altered, and everything clicked. Always a Nature lover, the move to the country also impacted the artist’s choice of subject matter. In addition to the occasional iconic cowboy boot, Sharon’s favorite subjects are animals. She can see the neighbor’s longhorns from her studio, and her own horses and donkey are only a few strides away. The vet even introduced her to a nearby herd of bison. "I love the authentic nature of animals, and I respect them. When I manage to express their soulfulness, personality, and emotions in a painting, I feel like I have accomplished something. I get a rush from texture and color. I use the hues I actually see, but I push the intensity—the brighter, the better. No brown or gray on my palette! When a collector tells me that seeing my paintings makes them start each day with a smile . . . what can beat that feeling? I always knew creating art was a spiritual necessity for me, but I’m just now learning what a positive impact it can have on the lives of others. I feel so fortunate to be making this journey!"
"I’m only half-joking when I tell folks my horse threw me into Western Art", Sharon says with a laugh. Since then, her bright colors and bold, close-focus compositions have forged a distinctive style popular with jurors and collectors alike. Sharon has won numerous awards including the Juror’s Choice Award at the Women Artists of the West National juried show in 2011, two Best of Shows, and two Winsor & Newton Awards. Her work has been seen in Southwest Art, and Art of the West. Western Art Collector did a preview of her solo show "In Living Color", at Waxlander Gallery in Santa Fe in October, 2011. She is also represented by Vertical Peaks Fine Art in Jackson, WY, and Your Private Collection in Granbury, TX.