Chula Beauregard’s setup as she painted the snow drawing created in Colorado’s Yampa Valley

Chula Beauregard discovered an exhilarating aspect of her artist-in-residency at the Carpenter Ranch, located outside of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It involved snow, her 7-year-old, sunshine, and more than 100 other people.

Beauregard painted a snow drawing organized by artist Sonja Hinrichsen. She and her family, including her young son, helped make the drawing by tromping through the snow to create lines.

“The feeling of a mass collaboration was particularly powerful,” says Beauregard. “It truly took a village to create this work of art. Ironically, despite the massive scale of the art, and the huge effort it took, it felt very casual. The actual experience was one of a sunny day, snowshoeing in a field. I would occasionally come close to a fellow ‘human pencil’ and say hello, before turning to make another spiral. We brought the kids, which brought another aspect. Our 7-year-old boy had to learn about controlling his footsteps within the lines. By the end of the day, we looked like a little family of ducks, tromping in a line, making spirals and swirling lines.”

More than 100 people, young and old, contributed to the snow drawing.
More than 100 people, young and old, contributed to the snow drawing.
Another angle of the snow drawing
Another angle of the snow drawing

Beauregard’s setup certainly looks like a traditional plein air painting rig, but her subject matter is a different kind of art. What was it like painting another person’s piece in a very different medium?

“The project certainly brings up the question of ‘What is art?’” Beauregard says. “The artist had the idea, but she needed volunteers. I came back later to paint the finished product, but my painting wouldn’t be as interesting if the foreground hadn’t been made into art in the snow. During the process, and after, there were volunteers flying drones. This bird’s eye view brings the art to the world, and it is another important piece. Collaborative art like this reminds us that we are all important in our own ways, but we also need each other.”

One thing Beauregard’s painting certainly does drive home is that artist-in-residencies don’t have to be sleepy affairs. Hers has her exploring a sort of environmental art. What lies ahead? Beauregard will be in residence until October.

“I plein air paint there on a regular basis, as the seasons change,” says the artist. “I saw this art installation as an opportunity to tune into other happenings on the ranch, not just the change of the seasons. I will be having an exhibition of the work I have done throughout the year in November.”