Local artist Chula Beauregard draws on her own experiences growing up in Steamboat for inspiration, as this year’s selected artist for the Steamboat Winter Carnival commemorative poster.
Chula Beauregard is a rare breed: she was born and raised in Steamboat.
But it was the adventures her parents took her on as a child—6 month stints living on a 24-foot sailboat in the Caribbean or spending summers in a tipi up Spring Creek—that inspired the artist in her. She went on to study studio art at Whitman College in Washington, and then joined the Peace Corps before landing back at home in Steamboat where “telling stories through art” took many forms including water colors, murals, and ultimately oil on canvas. She recently moved with her husband and two young boys to Hayden, a town just 20 minutes outside Steamboat Springs, which “reminds me of what Steamboat was like when I was growing up,” Beauregard says. “It’s a small town where it’s okay to double park to say hi to someone, and everyone knows each other.”
In addition to exhibiting her work at the Wild Horse Gallery in Steamboat, she was recently selected by Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty to create the artwork for the annual Steamboat Winter Carnival commemorative poster. In 2016, the program’s inaugural year, SSIR donated 100% of the proceeds, amounting to over $15,000, to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Partnering with Chula on the program for this year’s poster, they hope to surpass that benchmark. While creating a piece for an event that is so iconic to Steamboat Springs is far from easy, it’s a subject close to Beauregard’s heart. “Some of my best childhood memories are of Winter Carnival,” she says.
We caught up with the artist to talk growing up in Steamboat, sailing the Caribbean seas, and painting landscapes.
Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty: What was it like growing up in Steamboat?
Chula Beauregard: My mom was a hairdresser and my stepdad was a carpenter who went back to college at 40 and became a teacher. He taught shop at the local middle school for 13 years. My family was always very involved in the community. My mom performed with Steamboat Dance Theatre and we went to The Depot for all the art openings, so the arts community was a consistent part of my childhood. My parents also taught me about adventure and how to be resourceful because we didn’t have a lot of money, but that didn’t stop them from giving us a lot of experiences. My parents lived in a tipi up Spring Creek every summer, with no electricity and no phone. We also lived on a 24-foot sailboat in the Bahamas for 6 months, which are some of my fondest memories. It was during the time on the boat that I realized by passion for painting, which laid the ground work for where I am today.
SSIR: How has the Steamboat community fostered you as an artist?
CB: Steamboat Art Museum has played a huge role in my career. Not only have they brought influential artists to Steamboat for workshops and demos that have proved priceless to me, but I have also had great success at their Plein Air event, winning 1st place for the last two years. SAM is also a great venue for me to teach workshops, which is something that brings me great joy. I am currently in the planning process for a workshop, which will be hosted early next summer to get people ready to paint outdoors in the summer in Steamboat.
SSIR: How would you describe you work?
CB: It’s mostly representational traditional oil painting with a strong sense of place. The patterning with light is where I get more abstract because I want to be strong in composition—I like to work with light and shadow. But I’m using the visual language pretty literally, and I like to tell stories with my paintings. I would say I’m an American Impressionist.
SSIR: How did you feel when you learned that you were chosen as the artist to create this year’s Winter Carnival commemorative poster?
CB: When I found out that I had been selected, I was honored and thrilled! A few years ago, I had done a painting series on the Winter Carnival, exploring all my favorite memories. I sold the originals at Wild Horse Gallery, but I wanted to try and find a way to use the images to help the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. I had thought about producing cards, posters, or calendars of the images, as a fund raiser, but we could never bring it all together. Now, since Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty has created this wonderful partnership between the local arts, the SSWSC, and the Winter Carnival, I am very excited to be a part of it.
SSIR: Tell us about your process for creating the Winter Carnival poster.
CB: Some of my best memories of Steamboat are from Winter Carnival – especially the street events. I loved the chariot races, the marching band on skis, and the snow sculptures. My inspiration draws from these memories. I’ve done 6 or 7 paintings already, so it’s really fun to be able to expand on something I’ve already investigated through my work. I knew I wanted to do another series, so for this project, I’m going to do four paintings and let SSIR decide which one speaks to them the most. I’m also very excited to be able to help raise money through my art for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club—it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.
SSIR: What’s the story behind your name?
CB: I was born Lanea, but the day I was born my uncle who had just got back from living in Mexico for two years started calling me “Chula” and it just stuck. It’s a term of endearment—it means sweetie.
SSIR: Where can people find your work?
CB: I show my work at the Wild Horse Gallery in Steamboat, and am available for commissions. The remaining paintings that I do in this Winter Carnival series will be for sale here at the WHG.
VISIT CHULA’S WEBSITE to check out her work and to learn more.
For more information on the Steamboat Winter Carnival commemorative poster, contact email@example.com.