Lighten Up, Loosen Up with Richard Stephens

Class time includes 1 hour lunch break

$350, $310 mbrs. (discounted price will display for members upon login)

Limit 16 students

Students will meet in the second floor Helmerich Theater, 533 Eaton Street

PLEASE NOTE: you will be required to provide proof of a recent negative Covid test, or of full Covid vaccination, to attend this program, as it is indoors. Masks required. Click here for details on the Covid-19 precautions we’re taking.

sponsored by Fury Water Adventures

Richard Stephen landscape watercolor of white house with red roof and brown foliage


If you’d like to attend, but just can’t afford it, we may be able to help. Learn more about The Studios Accessibility Fund here.


Class Description

Richard Stephens is well-known for giving technical information sprinkled with humor and anecdotes, entertaining and educational painting demonstrations and lots of one on one time. He constantly explains what he is doing, and more importantly, why. Students will find themselves challenged, but informed and loving every minute of the ride.

Meet Your Instructor

Richard Stephens is a native of Hot Springs, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 1969 with a degree in art.

After serving in the Army as an illustrator, he began his commercial art career in 1971 with a design studio in Little Rock. There, he began forming a network of other artists, vendors and suppliers that allowed him to open his own studio in 1974 and has been freelancing out of Hot Springs since that time. After discovering the medium in college he always knew watercolor was his real “calling”. Occasionally it would emerge, but he didn’t start painting consistently again until 1992.

Although recognized for his landscape, architectural and figurative work Stephens feels the real subjects of most of his paintings are his brushwork and the light he tries to capture and amplify through value contrast and an unexpected color pallet. Believing that drawing is the foundation for all good art and design, Stephens often allows his pencil work to show through and become an engaging element in his watercolors.

Stephens says, “My goal is to interpret, not to render. I want to engage the viewer, entertain him and share my vision. When people view my work that is the last step in the painting process. Of course I want people to like my work, but like it or hate it, I don’t want them to be indifferent.”


Supply List

BRUSHES: For this class you will need only a few basic brushes. Synthetic brushes are less expensive and will work just fine for our projects and exercises.

  • 1” Flat(or larger) • 1/2” Flat(or smaller)
  • Large Round(# 6,7,or 8) • Small Round or Rigger(For making fine lines)

I do a lot of my painting with round squirrel mop brushes. If you have them already please bring them. If you don’t have them I don’t require you buy them as they are rather expensive. If you are a more experienced painter I’m sure you will have a variety of  brushes. I will also bring extra brushes for students to borrow.

PALETTE: Nothing fancy required here. Actually a white dinner plate or butcher tray will do. Inexpensive plastic palettes with “wells” for keeping colors separated are available at local art supply stores or on line. These come with lids that keep your pigment from drying out and would be worth the investment.

PAINT: Tube colors are strongly recommended but cake or pan colors will do if that is what you are used to. For the sake of expense we will work with a minimum of colors. You certainly can purchase all the colors you want but the following will be all you actually need for this class.

  • Reds: Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Red
  • Blues: Ultramarine, Cobalt and Cerulean
  • Yellows: Cadmium Yellow and Lemon Yellow
  • Browns: Burnt or Raw Umber
  • Optional Colors: Sap Green, Burnt Sienna, Quinacridone Gold, Turquoise and Yellow Ochre

PAPER: I suggest 140 Lb. Cold Press watercolor paper. Full sheets are 22” x 30”. We will cut these into 1/2 and 1/4 sections for most of our projects. Watercolor blocks or pads are acceptable and come in a variety of sizes. You will also need a small SKETCH PAD( 8” x 10” or 11” x 14”) for designing and value sketches.

ADDITIONAL SUPPLIES AND MATERIALS: The following items are things you probably have around the house but are important tools in the painting process:

  • Water resistant gatorboard, masonite, coated plywood, plexiglas, formica or lucite. Needs to be slightly larger than 15” x 22”(1/2 sheet w/c paper). Or slightly larger than 30” x 22” if you plan on painting on full sheet.
  • Water container that will hold at least a pint of water and wide enough for your widest brush • Cellulose Sponge • #2 Pencils • 4 Bulldog Clips(or any type of larger clips) for securing paper to board • Masking Tape • Spray Bottle • Paper Towels or Tissues • Kneaded Eraser
  • Fine Line, Medium and Broad Tip Black Magic Markers(optional)


I will bring many, many photos that students are welcome to use for their painting subject if they do not have something of their own. I will also have several original paintings in plastic sleeves that students can use. I have no problem with students copying another painting for educational purposes. Obviously one would not claim them for their own or enter them in shows.

Gallery and box office hours

Tue-Sat, 10am-4pm

Call us at 305-296-0458

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