“It’s exciting and rewarding to be able to portray people and a lifestyle that I admire and respect.”
Best known for her Western portraits, Carrie Ballantyne began drawing as a child – “anything that would hold still long enough”. In her late teens, Carrie traveled to Cody, Wyoming in order to work in the mountains and with horses. Big game outfitters provided both, where she worked as a camp cook for several years. The town of Cody introduced Carrie to the rodeo, and then to the local ranching community. It was then that the western culture took on a deeper meaning. “The ‘West’ became more than an image to me, there was a lifestyle here that I wanted.”
Carrie’s professional career was born in 1981, upon entering the George Phippen Memorial Western Art Show, Prescott, Arizona, where she either sold or traded every piece. The following year, she came back and was awarded first place in the drawing category, with the cowgirl portrait Holdin’ Her Own.
For thirty years, Ballantyne has portrayed her family and friends, neighbors, ranch hands, buckaroos, all the people she has met along the way in the world that attracts her the most. “If I am going to work for weeks on end, painting a portrait, it’s important to me that I respect the person I’m portraying”.
Not one to romanticize the West, her desire is to show real people, sometimes isolated individuals, who love what they do and wouldn’t choose any other way of life.