Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs muralist and plein air painter Chula Beauregard is the featured artist of the month at Wild Horse Gallery, and her latest work was welcomed with a reception during last week’s First Friday Artwalk. As I visited with Chula, I quickly became aware of how well-known across town she is. It became evident, from those who began to file in the gallery doors to congratulate her and see her exhibit, that her development as an artist has been admired by many.
Chula was a student of artist Richard Galusha. When I asked Shirley Stocks, co-owner of the Wild Horse Gallery, what traits she and Richard saw in Chula that made them want to present her work, they cited “her potential to be a successful artist, and she understands that art is a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and hard work.”
Chula’s dedication to her craft has led her to teaching positions at the middle school, high school and college level, too.
Her interest in the arts began as a child. By the fifth grade, Chula began to feel a stirring interest in painting. She would work beside her artist mother, Gigi, who shares her creative spirit. She related that “when her family took a boat trip to the Bahamas, her interest in plein air painting really began in earnest.”
On the exterior wall of Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare, Chula’s most recent mural is installed. The 10-by-16-foot mural was painted indoors over a three-week period and is hung in three panels. Millions of recreational tourist dollars are brought to our town year-round. The mural is a visual reminder of the value the biking industry plays in contributing to the local economy. It’s also emblematic of Steamboat’s efforts to become known as Bike Town USA.
Although indoor work is required on many of Chula’s largest art installations, she loves painting on location — or “en plein air,” meaning outside the studio. Her ability to translate on canvas what she sees is a reflection of her abilities as an artist. The color palettes of her plein air sketches are true to nature. Her plein air oil paintings capture landscapes in Steamboat and throughout Routt County.
If you missed Chula’s collection of plein air paintings during the First Friday Artwalk this month, stop by the Wild Horse Gallery. And the next time you stroll by Steamboat Ski and Bike Kare, don’t forget to look up. You’ll see more of Chula’s work there, too.
Steamboat Springs resident Sue Leonard is the president of Cornerstone Fulfillment Service, a company that specializes in e-commerce and e-marketing for independent publishers. She also is blog mistress of www.allthingsfulfilling.com.