8 Burruel Street

Tubac, AZ






A Painterly Approach

This class focuses on a looser, more painterly approach to landscape and wildlife painting. In the tradition of Impressionism, our goal is to imply shapes and objects without being overly detailed. Paint and the characteristics of applied paint has an aesthetic of its own, and it is the beauty of the brushstroke that we're after. By this I mean that the visible brushstroke is preferable to blending the brushstroke away, which is characteristic of the tight style of painting in other forms of realism, such as photo-realism. So although we will be working from photos, our goal is to interpret the photo, not copy it. We'll also explore the idea that many photos can be improved upon by way of painting. As artists we are free to change the composition if we feel it will strengthen the overall image. Students are encouraged to bring in their own photos or someone's photo they have permission to use. The instructor will also provide photos from his personal library as possible resources. A painting demo will be conducted on the first class meeting, and then periodically as the need arises. The instructor will provide as much one-on-one assistance as possible. The class is oriented to the beginner and intermediate painter.



Combining Drawing with Painting


This is essentially a drawing medium, but in this class we will also explore the use of traditional watercolor as the colorizing agent in combination with scratchboard. Scratchboard comes in both black or white, but the class will focus on the use of the pre-inked black scratchboard. The drawing tool is a sharp metal stylus that scores the surface of the board, revealing a white clay undercoat. It is this undercoat that becomes the painting surface for the watercolor. Scratchboard can be used in a tight, detailed technique characteristic of etching. It can also be used in a more broad stroke style of work similar to woodcut or linoleum cut. The class will explore both applications and the instructor encourages exploration of the medium. Instructor demos and one-on-one instructor-student time will be included. Please bring a photo to class to work from. All experience levels are invited.

All images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced.



Originally from Los Angeles, Rick Wheeler moved to the woodlands of northern California in 1972 to pursue an art education. While obtaining a Associates Degree in Graphic Design, he also studied studio arts, including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and filmmaking. Part of his education included courses at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he was awarded a scholarship to attend, and the San Francisco Academy of Art University, where he studied illustration. He went on to complete his B.A. in Fine Art at Prescott College, Arizona.


In 1994 Rick left California for the Four Corners region. Like many people drawn to the desert southwest, Rick finds the area not only visually inspiring, but enjoys the rich historical and cultural heritage as well, all of which has influenced his work. Over the years, Rick has tackled a broad range of subject matter including landscape, wildlife, and figurative. His choice of media also varies, working in acrylic, oil, watercolor, and scratchboard.


For many years he has operated his own award-winning graphic design and illustration business, Rick Wheeler Illustration & Design. Best known for his scratchboard/watercolor illustration technique, he has been commissioned by several National Parks and Monuments including Arches, Canyonlands, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Hovenweep, Great Smoky Mountain, Joshua Tree, Pinnacles, Mesa Verde, Sequoia, Yosemite, and Zion for several projects to promote these national treasures.



Artists for Conservation Foundation (

Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (

Society of Illustrators (



Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum “Art Institute,” – Tucson, Arizona (

Prescott College, Mentor – Tucson, Arizona

Adventures in Artistry – Tubac, Arizona (



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