Painting the Red Rocks!

Red Rock Crossing by Gretchen Lopez
Mystic Trail by Gretchen Lopez
Chapel Sunset by Gretchen Lopez


Painting the Red Rocks!
with Gretchen Lopez

Friday | March 21, 2025 | 10:00 am-4:30 pm 

  • Experience: Beginning to Intermediate. Some prior drawing experience is required.  Questions? Email Gretchen at
  • Medium: Students may work with any of the following – traditional oils; water-soluble oils; acrylics.
  • Materials List: Click the tab above for a list of materials students need to bring with them.
  • Registration: Each student needs to enroll individually. Click the Cancellation Policy tab above for more information.
  • Location: Sedona Arts Center, Theatre Studio

Experience the beauty and magic of Sedona, as we learn to navigate through some of the iconic formations which make Sedona the world’s most desired place to visit.

Discover the special palette of color used to create the vivid reds  in the Rod Rocks and why toning is very important in the beginning!

Please plan to work in a small format and use 2- 8×10 panels or 2-8×8.  Use these small scale oil sketches for larger paintings.

A link and photo reference for the session will be provided!


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Gretchen Lopez

Gretchen Lopez

Gretchen’s work is inspired, not only by her love of painting, but from her ethnic heritage, teaching and the world around her.  After majoring in advertising and design, she went on to study fashion illustration at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, then finished out her studies at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.  As a tenth generation Native of California, Gretchen is a descendant of the first Spanish settlers and the California Rancheros.  Combined with her native roots, her work is inspired by this rich Ethnic heritage.  Vibrant color and spontaneity, are expressed in the gentle beauty of the Native and Hispanic people she paints.  Combining the traditional with the contemporary, she is able to paint with freedom and passion.  Gretchen lives in Northern Arizona, where she continues to pursue her love of painting and teaching.  She has taught at the Sedona Arts Center for over 18 years, and teaches workshops abroad in Spain and Mexico.  Gretchen was nominated for the Viola Award for Excellence in Art Education, and has won numerous awards in the Sedona Plein Air Festival.  Her works are in private collections both nationally and internationally, as well in exhibits at the Historic Phippen Museum of Western Art.  Gretchen’s work is represented by The Sedona Arts Center Gallery, Adelante Gallery, and The Turquoise Tortoise Rogoway Gallery in Tubac Arizona.

She is also a member of the Impressionist Society of America.

Recommended materials for Gretchen’s classes:

Canvases: canvas pads, panels or stretched – no smaller than 11 x 14

These can be purchased at Jerry’s Artarama:  Use Oil Primed for traditional oil and Universal Primed for use with water mixable oils or acrylics.  Stretched canvas is fine too. If you prefer cotton canvas, please be sure to purchase a good quality such as Fredrix or Blick.  Pads of canvas sheets are great for exercises, be sure to mount the canvas sheet to a board with masking tape.  Fredrix makes these pads up to 18×24.

Drawing materials:

  • Small drawing pad or drawing journal no larger than 11 x 14.
  • 314 drawing pencils or 6B pencils, I recommend a soft lead! Or charcoal if you prefer.
  • Kneaded eraser
  • pencil sharpener


  • A good palette about 12×16 inches. Masterson palettes are great with a piece of tempered glass for mixing your paints if you work in oil or water mixable oils.  If you work in acrylic, the Masterson comes with a sponge, palette paper, and instructions that will keep your paint from drying out.
  • New Wave palettes are wood, light weight and great for mixing your oils on, if you are working in traditional or water mixable oils.

Rags, Towels, Containers:

  • Rags or paper towels- blue Shop Towels are great and take a good beating
  • A small metal container for your turpentine/Gamsol or plastic container for water
  • Spray bottle for water (for acrylic painters)

Brushes:  Synthetic hog bristle for oils and water mixable oils, softer synthetic are recommended for Acrylics-

Recommended brands: Silver White, Connoisseur, Galleria or Rosemary & Company

  • Long handled flats-#2, #4, #8, #10
  • Long handled brights- #8, #10
  • 1 1/2 inch inexpensive house painting brush with a an angled edge.  I usually get these at a hardware store or The Dollar Store.

Tube Paint:

We will learn to mix color for our subject from my suggested palette of tube colors. Here are the colors you will need for Traditional oils, water mixable oils, or acrylics:

  • Burnt sienna,
  • Burnt umber,
  • Transparent red oxide,
  • Cadmium red light,
  • Alizarin crimson,
  • Indian yellow (for water mixable oils, available in Holbein’s Duo Aqua and Cobra from Jerry’s Artarama)
  • Cadmium yellow medium,
  • Cadmium yellow light,
  • French Ultramarine blue,
  • Viridian,
  • Titanium White.

If you are working in traditional oils, I really do recommend adding a tube of Gamblin Transparent Red Oxide to your tube paints.  If you are working in water mixable oils, this color may be available in Cobra Paints!  For acrylic painters, please have a painting medium that will keep your color flowing and slow down the drying time.

Painting Mediums:

A good painting medium is recommended such as Gamblin Safflower oil for traditional oils.

For Water Mixable oils, “Water Mixable Painting Medium”.

These mediums allow a more satin flow to your pigments.

Palette knives:

Metal knives – one with a 3inch blade- for mixing paint, one with an inch and a half diamond shaped blade for painting detail.

Feel free to email me with thoughts or questions!

Cancellation Policy

Registration and Cancellation Policies


  • Each student must enroll individually.
  • Classes must be paid in full upon registration.
  • Students may register online, or call the Sedona Arts Center’s Office at 928-282-3809, ext. 1.
  • Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express are accepted or student may pay with cash or check by registering in person during office hours, Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm.

In-Person and Online Classes Cancellation

  • Students must cancel or transfer at least 7 days prior to the first day of class.
  • If a student cancels or transfers before the 7-day cut-off, a 15% fee will be applied.
  • If a student cancels within 7 days prior to class, there are no refunds.
  • If Sedona Arts Center cancels the class for any reason, all payments made will be refunded in full.

Important Message

The Sedona Arts Center is not responsible for providing make-up sessions or issuing refunds, credits, or transfers for courses missed as a result of illness, emergencies, or other events beyond our control. There are absolutely no refunds after the cut-off date for any reason, unless the Sedona Arts Center has to cancel the workshop, then all fees paid will be refunded in full.

It's made a world of difference for me. She's an A+ teacher and I've been languishing with no direction in painting, color mixing, brush technique for a long time. Her knowledge, patience, positive teaching style, and painting 'right along side' has been a great experience.

Gretchen has taught me to paint far better than I thought I could! Her patience and expertise are reasons I take her classes on a regular basis.

I love Gretchens' teaching style and her ability to share some of her mastery with her students. I will keep returning to her classes!

Gretchen is a wonderful artist and a wonderful person willing to tirelessly explain techniques and share her knowledge.

Ongoing encouragement. Extremely supportive. I learn something new in every class.