A student of the Old Masters, which is reflected in her realistic figure depictions, many of them done with colored pencil. Carrie Ballantyne has a studio in Montana. In her art, Ballantyne's focus continues to be real people: "My family, friends, and neighbors, working people of the West. People never get boring. Every face is unique with a different story to tell."(Buffalo Bill)
She started her art career in Cody, Wyoming where she arrived at the age of 19 and decided that the western lifestyle was the one that captured her imagination. With inspiration and encouragement from local artists, and she refined and established her particular style as a graphite portrait artist in the Western genre.
She is married to Jesse Ballantyne, a working cowboy, which, of course, gives her easy access to the people who stimulate her creativity.
She has been a teacher at the Scottsdale Artists School in Arizona and at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
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.