Artist creates lithographs for World Championships in Vail, Beaver Creek |

Artist creates lithographs for World Championships in Vail, Beaver Creek

Artist Dawn Beacon, right, and Rich Staats stand next to lithographs at the Art of the Valley Gallery. The lithographs were created by Beacon to celebrate the upcoming 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships in BeaverCreek.
Charles Townsend Bessent | |

Meet the illustrator

Local artist Dawn Beacon will be selling copies of her lithographs and other artwork at Apres Avon, taking place during the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. She’ll be in the special guest tent on Saturday, Feb. 14, from 2 to 5:30 p.m.

Where to find the posters

• Online at

• At the Vail Daily building in Eagle-Vail.

• At Art of the Valley Gallery in Avon.

• At Christy Sports in Avon.

• The Bookworm of Edwards.

Cost: $79 unsigned and $129 signed. Use the code “getshipped” when ordering online to score get free shipping.

When Avon resident Rich Staats was a child, his father collected commemorative Hummel bells, porcelain keepsakes released each year. It started when the family lived in Germany, but continued even after they left.

“I thought it was brilliant — we weren’t even in Germany anymore and every year, we would buy them,” Staats said. “I wanted to create a product where people would want to come back and get one. (I thought) what could we do that would focus on what we have that is valuable?”

To Staats, a web strategist who owns Secret Stache Media, the local scenery is easily our most treasured asset and so he decided upon a series of lithographs, each designed by Eagle County illustrator Dawn Beacon.

“She’s the best there is for illustration,” Staats said.

Beacon has lived in Eagle County since 1995. She’s illustrated 14 children’s books, as well as a few more that have yet to be released.

The first of two lithographs were released in December and so far sales have “exceeded expectations,” Staats said. The lithographs, which are printed on heavy-weight silk paper, are part of a limited-edition run: One thousand copies of each were printed in Denver. Of those, 100 are signed. They are being sold at three local retailers and at the Vail Daily, as well as online at The site sells a handful of products, all of which are “meant to showcase the experiential beauty of Colorado,” Staats said.

The lithographs are reminiscent of the Chamonix Mont Blanc posters of the 1970s, with muted colors and a familiar, vintage vibe.

“We thought it’d be cool to bring that back,” said Staats, who partnered with local graphic designer Aaron Cessna for the project.


Only one lithograph with the year will be released each year. The 2015 poster, dubbed “The Racer,” is fitting considering the fast-approaching 2015 World Championships. In it, a ski racer prepares for the race at the top of the course; fans line the ski run. From the scenery, it’s clear the setting is Beaver Creek.

“It’s a celebration of the Vail Valley’s commitment to local and international ski racing,” said Staats.

Five percent of the proceeds from the sale of the poster will benefit Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

“I actually drew that from watching videos. I’ve been to a few races but of course they don’t let you in where the guy is going down from the gate,” Beacon said. “I had to do that from my imagination and videos I’ve seen from Birds of Prey.”

But tapping into her vivid imagination isn’t anything new. Generally Beacon is working on winter-themed books during the summer and summer-themed books during the winter, she said.

In the piece, you can’t tell if the racer is a man or a woman, and that was purposeful, Beacon said.

“We wanted everyone to relate to the person racing,” she said.

The second poster, titled “Village Sunrise,” features a woman cross-country skiing with her dog running close behind her. You can see Beaver Creek village spread out in the distance beneath her. Beacon hiked on Beaver Creek mountain in the springtime, snapping photographs which she used for reference when it came time to use her digital tablet to draw, which is how she’s been doing the lionshare of her illustrations lately, Beacon said.

“I went hiking by myself and there were a lot of bear prints in the snow,” she remembered. “I went with a picture of the town I liked, the angle I liked, and I turned it white for winter.”

Three more lithographs are in the works for the summer; the themes will likely include cycling, fly-fishing and hiking, Staats said, and of course, they will all be set in Colorado. He hopes over time the team will create a collection of lithographs people covet year after year.

“We want to remind people how great this place is,” Staats said.

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