Skiing is an art. Painting the mountain gracefully with skis is beautiful to watch and to feel first hand. But what about those artists that ski?! They’re making masterpieces in the studio and on the slopes, impressive right? Our “Art of Skiing” series aims to get into the minds of these admirable humans.
FEATURED ARTIST: SARAH BULFORD
Meet Sarah, also known as Bear to family and friends. For the past 5 years, Sarah has worked as a backcountry Park Ranger, preserving the beautiful BC landscapes. Apart from being a writer, photographer, and artist in her own right, she also volunteers as a member of the very busy Squamish Search and Rescue Society. In her spare time, you’ll find her climbing granite walls, plummeting down ski slopes and eating loads of peanut butter. She currently works as a content creator for brands like Arc’teryx, Redbull, Gopro, Leatherman and more. If she’s not out creating, she’ll be exploring with her mountain man, Pearce, and their trusty dog, Doc. Recognize this adventurous lady? Well, you might have seen her on SBC Skier before in “I Love You More Than Skiing” – worth the read!
INTERVIEW: SARAH BULFORD
SBC: What (if anything) about skiing inspires your work?
SB: Short answer, mountains. A lot of my artwork is black and white, large canvas, paintings of mountain ranges. Usually the South Coast mountains but sometimes ones I’ve created in my mind palace. The ones I mimic are usually ranges I’ve skied before and have fond memories of exploring in.
SBC: Describe your best day creating?
SB: Cup of coffee, folk music playing in the background and a blank canvas. And a clear schedule – I never know how long these things are going to take. You can’t put a time limit on creating.
SBC: What’s your next creative project?
SB: I just got back from adventuring around the UK and during that time I stumbled upon the cutest little art shop in the Lake District (town called Windermere). I found this amazing little travel set of watercolor paints. I’ve never painted with watercolors before but suddenly got inspired to try it. I’ve given myself a goal of doing one painting a day in my little travel journal. So far, I am loving the challenge.
SBC: Do you have any ski-related goals you hope to accomplish this season?
SB: I want to expand my avalanche safety training. I’ve been on the avalanche response team with my local SAR group for a few years now but I want to continue learning. I feel like I’ve hardly scratched the surface. Ski wise – I want to spend more time in the Spearhead range and hopefully do another trip to Journeyman Lodge.
SBC: What do you hope people feel when they experience your art?
SB: When I get asked to do a custom painting, it usually starts with a photograph of a place that means something to that individual. I hope that my art hits home for people. That they see past the work and towards the story that it tells.
SBC: What puts you in your creative groove, any funny rituals you’re willing to share?
SB: Music. I can’t paint without music. I usually listen to acoustic folk or something really meaningful to me. I let the music move my brush around. Sometimes I even get goosebumps in the middle of a piece. I seem to disappear to a place that is calm and comfortable. I feel really at ease when I’m painting. I think that’s a really good space to be in for creating.
SBC: How did you get into art?
SB: It was fall of 2014, I got laid off from work for the first time. I felt really lost and it was the rainy season before winter hit. I think it rained consistently for several months that year. I needed a creative outlet and I knew that my grandpa used to paint. I wondered if maybe I could too. Turns out – I can!
SBC: Describe your creative style in 3 words:
SB: Moody, serene, bold!
SBC: Describe your skiing style in 3 words:
SB: Adventure, smiles, pow!
SBC: Current song on repeat?
SB: Alaska by Maggie Rogers
SBC: Guilty pocket snack?
SB: Honey stinger syrup waffles
SBC: Who’s inspiring you these days?
SB: In art: Max Romey In skiing: Michelle Parker, Kelly Sildaru, Tess Ledeux
SBC: Are you comfortable creating in other mediums, if yes what’s drawn you to each?
SB: So far I’ve only tried painting with acrylics and watercolors. I think branching out is really important because you might find something that works better for you! And it’s normal to have lows in your creative flow – so trying something new can spark that interest again!