Art for ski bums |

Art for ski bums

Kimberly Nicoletti
summit daily news

When Sara Melzer moved to Vail five years ago, she was “so overcome with how everyone has the same thing on their minds all the time,” she was compelled to capture that energy in her art. So she began painting portraits of all the ski bums she came across.

Now, she supports herself through her vibrant skier and snowboarder portraits, as well as her landscapes, the latter of which she’s been focusing more upon lately.

“The landscapes are really youthful and unique and have therefore been quite well received in Breckenridge,” she said.

At 28, she’s the youngest artist represented at the local Breckenridge co-op Arts Alive gallery and was one of the top-selling artists in 2011, her first year there.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in studio arts at University of Colorado in Boulder and spent the last five years in Vail perfecting a technique she invented using india ink on extra glossy photo paper.

“It’s an organic process,” she said. “I can never recreate the same thing twice.”

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She wets part of the paper, then adds a few drops of ink and lets it bleed, which allows her to achieve effects she couldn’t get with any other medium. Through the process, she captures the energy of the mountain lifestyle.

“People in their 20s and 30s are starting to spend more money on art, and the youthful energy of my work takes me a long way,” she said. “I try to keep my prices reasonable and available to the demographic.”

Melzer also creates hand-painted snowboard and ski graphics with india ink.

She will be at Arts Alive gallery as part of the Second Saturdays art walk, which features more than 16 galleries throughout Breckenridge from 4-8 p.m. To see more of her art, visit

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