C. Ballantyne Many artists go in search of subjects and inspiration. Carrie L. Ballantyne has
only to look around her. Her subjects are the men, women and children of the
high plains, where she lives with her husband and children near a 14,000-acre
cow and calf camp. Her portraits suit her subjects; deceptively simple and
strong, but still delicate and elegant.
It’s a far cry from her childhood near Los Angeles, but Ballantyne was
merely following her muse. She sent a letter to the Dude Ranchers’ Association,
having finished high school a year early and was soon serving kitchen duty at a
guest ranch in Cody, Wyoming. There she met Jesse Ballantyne, the Canadian
bronc rider she was to marry.
For the next few years, however, she worked as an outfitter’s camp cook. But
as she accompanied fishermen and hunters into the Absaroka Mountains, her
sketchbook was never far away. As she became increasingly skilled in pencil,
her work came to the attention of painter Ted Feely, who urged her to attend
the George Phippen Western Art Show in Arizona. There she not only met the
renowned James Bama, who she cites as her biggest influence, but sold most of
her drawings, starting her career as a Western fine artist.
“I choose to portray country people because they are the ones who live and
work around me,” she says. “Tender moments that please me typically appear in
my work. I am always striving to communicate all the emotions you can see in a
face, posture and other body language.”
Her awards include first place at the George Phippen Memorial Show and “Best
in Show” at the Buffalo Bill Art Show.