Familiar faces support Steamboat artist Chula Beauregard at her New York debut | SteamboatToday.com

Familiar faces support Steamboat artist Chula Beauregard at her New York debut

Chula Beauregard with Steamboat locals Kathy Cline, Carl Steidtmann, Gigi Walker and Tina Weintraub at the Salmagundi Club opening night in New York City
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Local artist Chula Beauregard traded in her paint-stained jeans and T-shirts for silk scarves and a blouse as she cruised New York City’s Fifth Avenue with the nation’s most talented impressionist painters.

Beauregard may have had to borrow clothes from some fashionable friends for her trip, but it was pure artistic talent that got her a spot in the coveted Salmagundi Club gallery, one of America’s oldest art clubs located on the famous Fifth Avenue.

Beauregard was one of 1,350 artists to apply for the 20th National Juried Exhibition of the American Impressionist Society. Judges reviewed 2,700 paintings before selecting 150 paintings for the exhibition. Beauregard’s “Winter Caucus” of little birds braving winter in a barren tree was chosen for the prestigious impressionist exhibit.

In the past five years, Beauregard’s reputation has skyrocketed, gaining national recognition for her plein air paintings of rural Colorado.

Accolades include special invites to exhibit for Oil Painters of America Western Regional; serving as artist in residence at the Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming; along with this being her third invite to an American Impressionist Society exhibit among other honors.

The soft-spoken mother of two is now regarded as a peer of the very artists she once considered her heroes.

“They’ve gone from being my heroes to my friends,” Beauregard said. “That’s been an amazing transformation for me since I’ve been invited to more of these shows. I really had a sense of belonging (at the New York art exhibit). It’s starting to feel like my world.”

The American Impressionist Society’s National Juried Exhibition will continue to be shown in the Upper Gallery of the Salmagundi Club until Oct. 2.

Chula Beauregard muses on “Winter Caucas: “I was painting the schoolhouse on Routt County Road 33 in January, and my feet and hands were starting to freeze. I was lured out by the clear blue skies, forgetting how cold that makes everything. I quickly gave up on my painting and wandered around with my camera in my car. I had the time set aside, and I wasn’t about to waste a beautiful evening. I stopped on the bridge over the Yampa on C.R. 33, and I noticed the little birds in the cottonwoods above me. These ‘little brown jobbies’ were handling the cold much better than I. I took a few shots and brought the photo back into my studio. Since the whole thing was a ‘free day’ painting (not a commission or something on my to-do list), I had a very loose, experimental approach. As the deadline approached for the AIS show, this little painting still hadn’t found a home, so I submitted it. To my utter surprise and delight it was accepted.”

Raised in Steamboat, Beauregard studied art in college and spent her early adulthood traveling to places like Paris to improve her skills. She also found time to spend a couple of years in the Peace Corps before settling down and marrying another Steamboat native, Cactus Beauregard. The couple have two boys ages 9 and 10.

While the family stayed home, Chula said she was not lonely on her trip to New York City. She brought her biggest fan along for the trip, her mom Gigi Walker.

“She’s 76, but she was up for everything … Broadway, museums, the subway, climbing stairs to our apartment in the city,” Beauregard said. “She raised me with a lot of adventure in my life. This was a memory we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives.”

And a small group of people with Steamboat connections made sure they kept Chula company for her big night.

“It was so incredible to see loving, familiar faces in such a big city,” Beauregard said. “Our friends who made the effort to come to the opening really made me feel at home.”

Beauregard is now with Jace Romick Gallery in downtown Steamboat Springs and the Broadmoor Gallery in Colorado Springs. This week, Beauregard is participating in the Steamboat Art Museum’s Plein Air events and will be at the opening reception Friday, Sept. 27.

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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