Before moving to Tansi, artist Billie Faye Brannon was born and lived in Indiana. She graduated from Lew Wallace High School in 1959. There she was involved in other cultural activities, such as creative writing and singing.
In her teens, the artist had always loved horses. She acquired one of her own and rode the fields and woods of rural Indiana, bonding with nature and far from the blaring of automobile horns. Brannon also married a man named George, merging families. Stephen, and daughter, Melissa, have always been her greatest supporters. In the meantime, she worked in sales and a management capacity in traffic and transportation. The artist held this position for 41 years. So much for extra-curricular activities.
The Brannons acquired 43 acres of farm land once the children were raised, and the artist went back to her old love — riding. When the couple moved to Tansi, she left her horses in Indiana and needed some interests to replace them. Brannon took up dancing and volunteering at the Cumberland County Playhouse. A friend asked Brannon to take art lessons as the friend wanted company. Brannon was not sure she wanted to do this, but her husband had seen some of her drawings and thought lessons were a great idea.
Shortly thereafter, George showed up with a present — a large art box filled with a variety of drawing and painting materials. So in 2007, Brannon began her first class in oil painting. Since then, she has worked with several different mediums and loves to experiment with different technical processes. She also was inspired by local artist John Simms after participating in classes he taught at the Fair Park Senior Center.
In their travels, the Brannons have been on a cruise through the Alaskan Inner Passage. This artist gets the feeling of the rugged wilderness landscape. This beautiful place is accessible only by boat or airplane. However, here is where the eagles live, as in the painting “Flying Free.” Whales and sea otters abound and can raise their young with little fear of man, their most dangerous predator.
Brannon loves photography and has numerous photographs of Cades Cove or there abouts. A look into the past, “Mountain Homestead” and “Built in Air Conditioning” all show aspects of life in Appalachia a century ago.
“California Dreaming” with its ancient pine tree and big waves reminds Kay Dillon of 17 Mile Drive in Carmel, CA, or somewhere in Big Sur. So much of the California Coast also involves big mansions, yet in its own way, the scenery is as lovely as Alaska.
“Meadow Lark” is a neat bird picture. It is also one of her nicer oils. The bird is all ruffled up, ready to sing and make an impression on a future mate. This painting was selected to appear in the 2010 Juried Show at the Art Guild at Fairfield Glade.
When you look at Brannon's paintings, you can feel like you are taking a road trip around the country. This art exhibit is at the Palace Theatre in Crossville on Main Street through November.