We love to profile people that inspire us to connect with nature. Hike it Baby’s founder, Shanti Hodges, connected with Sarah Virginia Uhl on Instagram. Sarah is a commercial and fine artist based in Carbondale, Colorado. “Lately I have been having such a fun time of connecting with other creatives and folks working towards similar visions for the world,” said Sarah, “and Shanti is one of those people that I feel I was able to draw into my world by paying attention and loving the ride this line of work has offered me.”

august-watercolor

Pennsylvania Dutch born, Sarah Uhl got a small dose of the Rockies in 2007 and has been moving further into the mountains ever since.  After a 10 year career as a pro cyclist, 4 years as a beer sensory expert, and 3 years as the event director for 5Point Film Festival… her pathway to pursuing art as a full time career has been less than traditional.  Sarah harnesses her love of the wild places and her desire to propel human connection as a means to motivate her imaginative works.  With a recent focus on storymaps, Sarah has worked with clients to not only showcase the beauty of a place but also the stories, legend and lure behind them.

Sarah shared her background with us and chatted with Shanti about her artwork:

Tell us about your art. You have a lot of beautiful landscapes and animals, why is this what you are drawn to?

My art is an expression of my imagination.  I think animals show up quite a bit because for some reason I think a rabbit skateboarding can crack someone open in that way they are not used to.  They take themselves less seriously for at least half a second… which leads to taking themselves less seriously more often.  Mountains will always be a part of my art because they are my muse.  I feel most alive and like myself when I’m in the mountains… and they are always cracking me more open.

How do you see your art connecting with Hike it Baby families?

I think part of why I am pursing my art is because it keeps me connected to my childlike awe and wonderment.  Kids can see that in my art and so something clicks.  Adults can see the whimsical elements and relate to them as well but a child is a great conduit for the sort of feeling I’m trying to evoke through my work.

Why is it personally important to you to see children getting into nature?

Luckily I had parents that took me winter camping and rock climbing before I could walk.  It is a huge part of who I am and how I’ve found my way in the world.   I think our early experiences in the wild are formative and they set a deep foundation for a lifelong relationship with our natural world… which ultimately helps us feel more connected to everything around us including our fellow humans.  More kids growing up in union with nature means more grown ups entering the world with a caretaker mentality for the special places we treasure and learn from most.  It is my highest desire that my art assists in making these connections for people of all ages.

What was the inspiration for your party animal line?

I decided to feature adventure animals for my 2016 Calendar and once I completed all 12 months I had all these animals just hanging out.  I decided it would be great if they all had the opportunity to meet one another on the same page… so the Animal Party print is just that moment when all the animals meet one another in the wild.  What I like the most about this print is that it evokes the possibility that all these animals actually do fly paragliders, ride bikes and ski off mountains together when we are not looking.  You can’t prove to me they don’t.

Which animal is your favorite and why?

I think I feel a resonance for the desert bunnies.  There is just something special about taking in a landscape with your buddy while floating freely on wheels of any sort.  I don’t skateboard and I don’t own pet rabbits or anything… it’s just about their disposition as if they were one with those desert towers.

What was your last nature adventure?

My adventures have evolved over the years.  Lately my adventures have been all about painting in the wild.  I take my watercolors with me everywhere I go and it’s almost as if I am chasing the sun and lusting after the right perch to completely capture my environment in the best way possible.  Sometimes that’s easy and my inspiration flows.  Other times it takes a longer walk, hike or even summiting the mountain and no painting comes out of it at all.  This is all part of the creative process and marrying that with my time in the outdoors has been an incredible adventure.

Where is your favorite place to make art happen?

In the wild!  I rarely paint at home.  My best work comes on the edge of a cliff or even just on the side of a dirt road because the landscape was so good it made me pull the car over, get on the roof of my rocket box and paint the skyline.

What’s your best childhood memory in nature?

My mother has a photograph of a butterfly landing on my shoulder when I was about 2 years old.  She captured that moment perfectly because it was as if me and the butterfly were looking at one another in that unquestionable way two creatures do when they met for the first time.  I think this sets the tone for how I would like to approach every new landscape, plant, animal and person I meet along the way.

How can people find your work?

www.sarahuhl.com
www.sarahuhl.com/shop
instagram:  @sarahvirginiauhl
email: art@sarahuhl.com

Please reach out and connect with me.  I thrive on collaborative projects and would love to create something custom for you!

Sarah is taking on commissions and commercial work at this time, as well as selling her own fine art here. She has designed custom maps or illustrations for REI, Outdoor Research, Aspen Skiing Company, The American Alpine Club, Alpinist Magazine, 5Point Film Festival, Coalition Skis, The Breckenridge Tourism Office, Carbondale Chamber of Commerce and numerous small business owners and personal clients.

One thought on “Artist inspires HiB families to connect with nature

  • Laura
    Laura Geier

    What a great perspective you have Sarah. I loved this blog. I also love how mountains are your “muse”. I feel just as strong a connection to the mountains as you do. Thanks for sharing your art and what inspires you!

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