Alumna & Artist | Sarah Mason-Reeder ’07, ’09

When you can’t buy what you’re looking for, why not try making it yourself?

That’s what Sarah Mason-Reeder did. When the communications alumna couldn’t find artwork for the homes she and her husband, Caleb, rent out in their small business, she decided to try creating it herself. What began as a way to save money and fulfill a decorating need became another small business and treasured hobby for Sarah, with her artwork even displayed at UCCS Downtown in January.

Another example of Sarah’s use of color

“Years ago, when I was beginning to decorate one of the houses, I went to a few stores to find art. Most of it, even the prints, were expensive,” Sarah explained. “There was nothing wrong with them, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for. It’s now something I do for myself and as a way to decompress, but that’s what inspired it.”

UCCS Downtown was a fitting place to exhibit Sarah’s art, as she earned both a bachelor’s and master’s in communications from the UCCS College of Letters, Arts & Sciences (LAS) and continues to use the skills and knowledge from her time there, particularly from her business-centered courses.

“I am really grateful for my time at UCCS,” she shared. “I use my education from there every day and in every form! My professors helped me become a confident communicator, marketer and entrepreneur, while my business and writing training at UCCS goes into every facet of running our rental homes. So, it’s not only the business side with accounting and taxes, but also hospitality management and corresponding with guests. It’s a weird variety of multiple jobs at the same time, but I really love it because it challenges me and it’s something I can still do while also being at home with our boys.”

Most of Sarah’s art features Colorado landscapes and nature, which ties into another of her hobbies – running and hiking outdoors.

A mountain landscape piece by Sarah

“I love long-distance running and backpacking and hiking with my husband, Caleb, and those escapes into nature inspire a lot of my paintings,” Sarah said. “Being out in nature and bringing that colorful Colorado scenery indoors is what I try to translate back into the painting.”

Another benefit to this practice and sharing the Colorado scenery with visitors is that the two go hand in hand so well, with her rental home clients buying her art as well.

“Since I’ve been putting the paintings in these rental houses, a lot of my art clients have come from that,” she said. “It’s been a huge blessing, with visitors coming out to stay at our rental house and loving Colorado’s landscape and scenery. I’ve gotten jobs all over the United States and a lot of commission work through people staying at our houses.”

While Sarah is immensely proud of her artistic journey and running a successful business alongside her spouse, she considers raising her two young boys to be her greatest achievement.

“They are so much more important to me than anything else that I work on,” said Sarah. “I love being their mom. There are, of course, frustrating times and trying times and I am also proud of many other things that I’ve accomplished, but they are really my masterpiece. Having them is like your heart walking outside.”

Sarah has found many ways to merge her hobbies and career, and it’s no different when it comes to her role as a mom. She’s started doing watercolor with her kids to introduce them to painting and sharing what she loves with who she loves.

A few of Sarah’s pieces at UCCS Downtown

“I want my boys to have that freedom to express themselves or to try something that they don’t already have knowledge in, because everybody has to learn,” she emphasized. “I don’t want them to ever feel that if it’s not amazing or it’s not great, then it’s not worth doing.”

“Though, painting with them can certainly be a test of patience,” she added, laughing.

Admittedly, even solo painting can be a test of patience for Sarah as the art can take up several weeks to dry.

“I’d say the most frustrating part of painting is that because I mainly work in oils, they take such a long time to dry,'” she said. “The colors are different too – white always seems to take at least a week to fully dry. So if I’m making a piece that has many, many layers of color, it can take a month or two to finish one painting.”

Eager to see more of Sarah’s work? Though it is no longer on display at UCCS Downtown, it can be seen on her social media.

About the UCCS College of Letters, Arts & Sciences

The College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at UCCS is the university’s largest college, enrolling nearly 6,000 students across 21 departments and programs. The college offers 19 majors and 53 minors in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Students can also choose from five accelerated bachelor’s and master’s degrees, nine full master’s degrees and three Ph.D. degrees, as well as pre-medical and pre-law programs. The mission of the college is to position graduates for success in their personal and professional lives, with a focus on thinking, creating and communicating — skills vital to employers and graduate and professional schools. Learn more about the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at UCCS.