Rachel Brownlee | Nebraska

Rachel Brownlee was born in 1993 in Rushville, NE. Inspired by her youth on the family cattle ranch Rachel started drawing early and focusing on horses and cowboys. Being home educated Rachel was entirely self-taught. She specializes in extreme high realism large format charcoal artwork. Rachel Brownlee’s desire to replicate reality in black and white pencil developed throughout her youth. She was influenced almost solely by two books she owned containing horse drawings; one of them was by C. W. Anderson and the other by Marguerite Henry. Due to the rural location of the ranch Rachel grew up on, she was not exposed to artwork or art education until her twenties. She recalls the first time she realized “realistic shapes are not defined by lines, but by light or the lack thereof”.

Rachel attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha and received a computer science degree. She worked as a software engineer for a company in Omaha for two years before starting her own company to produce cattle management software for large ranches. She still maintains the product, MooManager, for her clients.

She portrays western life in an honest and even discordant manner because while fine western art is typically pastoral and romanticized, her work contains sometimes unattractive, old horses, and gritty details. She believes that traditional western life and the people and animals involved should be portrayed as they lived which can be rough, dirty, and even painfully.

Her most recent award, the 2021 Best of Show at the Mountain Oyster Club sale, was a great honor to receive. Her work is available through Settlers West Gallery in Tucson, AZ. Rachel lives on a large family cattle ranch in Ashby, Nebraska with her husband, daughter, and son. She lives the life she draws and often uses neighbors as models for her work. Her studies come from her own cattle, horses, and daily life on the ranch.


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