It’s been over 2 years since Dublin’s Patty Hirst and I first made the trek out into the Erath County wilds to see Dublin’s resident Cowgirl artist, Sharon McConnell. Today, we decided to see what’s new with this very talented Texan.
There’s no doubt about it, Sharon McConnell of Dublin, Texas is a genuine, bona fide cowgirl. She’s also an artist and a sculptress, and she was kind enough to invite me to invade her space and view her work. So, with Patty Hirst as my cohort, we headed out into the Dublin countryside one beautiful morning.
When we arrived, Sharon was waiting for us at the gate. She locked it behind us, and we literally closed out the rest of the world while surrounding ourselves with that rugged beauty that is Texas.
After passing through yet another locked gate, we soon arrived at the McConnell cabin, by Sharon’s own admission the smallest home she has ever had. It was quickly obvious that what the cabin lacks in space, it makes up for in charm, however.
If you’ve spent much time on Texansunited.com, you already know that Patty and I like to find all of the pieces to a story so it wasn’t long until we had Sharon quite a ways back into the past…actually, back to the year when she was twelve years old! It was in this year while competing in a cutting horse event, that she first met the boy who would eventually become her husband…Ronnie McConnell.
“After that, I’d go to Fort Worth for a cutting horse show or a stock show and I would see Ronnie. We started dating when I was fifteen or sixteen.
“He lived in Dublin and I lived in Denton so he had to drive a ways to date me! We married when I was eighteen.”
Obviously, it worked because the couple has been married for thirty-nine years!
Ronnie and Sharon have spent their lives training horses, and they have lived all over the country while doing it. Over twenty moves later, the couple is back in Dublin where Ronnie still trains horses. Sharon rides her own horses each day now, and, of course, we asked her to tell us how she came to be an artist.
“When we were first married, I used to piddle with sand rocks. I’d make animals out of them, but I never considered it art.”
Then, the day came when Sharon told Ronnie that she wanted some paintings for the walls of their home but she knew they could not afford them. She went on to tell her husband that she believed she would just try to paint some.
Ronnie was so impressed with his wife’s work that he decided to call his friend, artist Chuck DeHann, and ask him if he would view Sharon’s paintings. DeHann agreed to critique Sharon’s work, and they became fast friends.
“One day we were there while Chuck was doing a sculpture. He handed me some clay and told me to go home and see what I could do with it.”
Now, I don’t know about you but I’m still blown away by what Sharon did with that clay!
Today, that piece of clay is a bronze that sits on the couple’s dining room table. Of course the subject is a horse titled Freedom with 2 Corinthians 3:17 below the title.
“After doing my first bronze, I decided this is fun so I started doing more!”
And…a business was born.
Our final room of the house to visit was Sharon’s studio where two years ago she was working on a piece called Heading To The Pen, a beautiful young woman with bridle in hand and a western vest, fringe and all.
Because of this piece, Sharon was invited to display her work at Trappings of Texas in Alpine. The piece was an instant hit, and Sharon was invited to become the featured artist for Trappings 2013. This little lady was also unveiled at the Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, where Sharon had a one-woman exhibit.
Up until now, Sharon has sold her work privately and has done commissioned work for clients such as Thatt Syndicate and U’Ol Goat Committee. She will also be showing in the Cowboy True Art Show in Wichita Falls this March and in America’s Horse in Art in Amarillo in August.
All too soon it was time for Patty and me to return to the real world and so with Sharon riding ahead to open the gates once again, we turned from the peaceful cabin in the woods and headed ourselves back toward civilization. It was truly a morning to remember!
Stay tuned to Texansunited.com where we will be featuring more of Sharon McConnell’s art in the very near future.