Linda Ballantine Brown is in the midst of a lifelong love affair with color.
It all started when she was a young child. Just as soon as she could walk, she was mixing food coloring in old baby food jars and using the colors in her sandbox while she played. A few years later, Linda’s grandmother, an accomplished artist named Grace Farley, would allow her to use her oils as long as she promised not to mix them all up into mud. She fell in love with color – paint in particular – and never looked back.
Now you can find her art a handful of different places at any given time, but nothing is more unique than her line of wearable country art, available online at www.bstudioart.com and at Branded B Boutique in downtown Kissimmee, which is owned and operated by Linda’s daughters.
The wearable pieces are absolutely stunning – mostly colorful paintings of horses and bulls, many of them juxtaposed so that, at first, you might not be sure what you’re looking at, but you’re drawn to the colors. Then you spot an ear or a couple of eyes, and you’re suddenly aware that you’re staring at a beautifully constructed Western scene. Her wearable art is available on scarves, dusters, dresses, and more.
If you would prefer to hang Linda’s art in your living room instead, that’s an option, too. Her giclées (a high-quality printing process) include similar subjects but vary in background and composition. For example, in “Williston Bulls”, a Brahma bull faces the viewer, surrounded by green grass and trees, with beautiful pink wildflowers in the foreground. But then “White Horse” catches your eye, too – it’s a remarkable, light-colored horse with a blonde mane and tail, composed of many different shades of grey and tan, running towards the viewer, made to stand out on a pure white background. No flowers, no frills. Just “White Horse”.
Linda draws inspiration from the world around her – on her ranch in Williston, Florida, mostly – to create her art.
As for formal training, she is almost entirely self-taught. She says, “It really started getting serious when I took some China-painting lessons to permanently paint the names of the cowboys who came to the ranch for coffee, as I was tired of re-washing their coffee cups, so I learned how to fire their names on them. Then I started painting tiles and signs with Florida wildflowers from the ranch [and sold them] to help meet the needs of our growing family.”
When she first moved to Williston from Kissimmee, she entered a public art project and won two life-size horses to paint as her contribution to the project.
“One was called ‘Sky Dancing’. It was about a race horse’s dreams, and I painted horses dancing in the clouds. The kids would try to count how many horses were hidden in the clouds. The next one was called ‘Morning Colors’. I didn’t know much about horse racing, so my neighbor invited me over [to see the track]. I arrived before dawn. Just as the sun started up, the whole track came to life, so that’s where I got the idea [to paint a sunrise],” Linda says of this early public art project.
Linda went on to share about several other public art projects in which she’s participated over the years. Some benefited local non-profits, while others sounded more like an opportunity for Linda to capture and commemorate Florida’s agricultural heritage. Most recently, she contributed painted horse sculptures to our own Kissimmee Main Street’s sculpture experience in downtown Kissimmee.
“Public art projects are wonderful teaching moments, and a time to share and enjoy many thoughts with your children, grandchildren, and friends,” Linda says. She shared that she did one particular piece for her six children and eight grandchildren to remind them to be good stewards of the land, as she believes they’ve been blessed to live in this great state.
When she talks about her children, she beams with pride.
“My children are all very creative. The girls are currently running the Branded B Boutique. Each one of the girls, Tiffany, Misty, and Ivy, bring something totally unique to the store. Even the boys, HE, Hamilton, and Bojess, added their creative carpentry skills with wood from the ranch, helping [the girls] feel more at home at their in-town job.”
To see Linda’s art, visit www.bstudioart.com or stop by Branded B Boutique at 125 Broadway in Kissimmee. You can find her contribution to Kissimmee Main Street’s sculpture experience near the intersection of Monument Avenue and Lakeshore Boulevard.