Heather A Arenas

Keeping It Loose with Heather Arenas

Heather A Arenas

Keeping It Loose

Full-Day 6 hours 9-4
$460/3 day Workshop

In this three-day workshop participants will have the opportunity to learn to paint the figure as part of a larger setting. Heather will start each day with a demonstration, taking the painting from the initial sketch to completion, emphasizing loose brushwork and a sense of light and shadow. Students will spend the rest of each day painting with individual instruction and feedback from Heather. This workshop is for both beginners and advanced artists.

Heather A Arenas

Learn more about Heather A Arenas on her website .

Master Signature artist Women Artists of the West
Signature artist with American Women Artists
I’m what I would call a contemporary impressionist. I use broken color and strong brushwork but I say contemporary because of the combination of graphic contrast and grays. I try to build a composition that can draw people from across a room. For my recent work, I’m embracing my inner contemporary artist and applying more techniques that I have only flirted with in the past. In particular, I am emphasizing line and pattern in more direct ways.
I paint from photos that I personally shot because I don’t want to just copy an image. I start with an idea that inspired me to take the picture in the first place. How do I feel in this place? Happiness, excitement, chaos, a somber feeling? Whatever it was, I want to get THAT on to the surface. I don’t worry about whether my subjects match the photo. I often use multiple photos to combine gestures of people to recreate the feeling. Instead of limiting the focus to a recognizable place or person, I’m really trying to create a recognizable feeling with paint. I get the most joy when a collector tells me how my painting makes them feel! That means I have connected with them on a personal level.
I typically work on wood surfaces like cradled birch because I can apply paint then wipe it down or sand it without affecting the surface. I sometimes work alla prima when painting from life but for my studio work, I apply lots of thin layers and finish with thicker brush work in key places. I paint with traditional oil painting techniques but will do whatever is necessary to get the feeling I’m after whether it takes brushes, paper towels, rags, cotton swabs, or even my fingers. Da Vinci’s paintings have been said to contain his fingerprints. Maybe someday my work will be identified by my fingerprints.

Recent Awards
Finalist, Jerry’s Artarama, Self Portrait Competition May 2020, “I’ve Got This!”
Finalist, Gateway Intl, Oct 2019, “A Small Offering”
Best of Show, WAOW Fall Online 2019, “Left Turn, Clyde”,
Grand Prize, Identity Portrait Competition September 2019, “I’ve Got This!”,
Finalist Gateway Intl, June 2019 ‘Moth-Winged Thoughts Carry Me Away’
3rd Grand Prize Winner Gateway Intl, 2017-2018 “Red in the Sun’
Finalist Gateway Intl, December 2017 for “Passion”
Finalist Gateway Intl, November 2017 for “Red in the Sun”
Finalist Sedona Art Prize, August 2017 for “It Takes All Kinds”
Finalist Sedona Art Prize, June 2017 for “Red in the Sun”
Best of Show Bold Brush, May 2017, “Oscar and Sharon’s Big Day Out”
Finalist Sedona Art Prize, May 2017 for “Colorful Subject”
Editor’s Choice Art of the West WAOW Exhibition 2016, “Home on the Range”
Finalist AWA National Juried Exhibition 2016, “Orange Taffeta”
Best Overall WAOW Hot Summer Nights 2016,”After the Dance”
Honorable Mention OPA Online Showcase Spring 2016,”Belizean Chef”
Finalist AWA Spring Online Show 2016 , “Margaritas in Tubac”


I am so glad I was able to take Heather’s workshop, I was able to gain a better foundation of oil painting (professional artist but oil painting is a new medium to me) and went away with some really amazing gems that hit on the ‘it factor’ of what makes Heather’s work special and how I can incorporate that into my own work. I found the quick model studies we did incredibly helpful, as well as the observing of Heather painting. I would certainly recommend this workshop to others considering pushing their figurative development! Thanks for a great and insightful workshop Heather!


Thanks for making my first experience with oil fun. Your carefully designed lessons moved us into our independent work, but you never left us to struggle in frustration.
I intend to purchase your recommended Windsor Newton paints and complete other figure landscapes. It should be interesting to compare my previous watercolor painting of me in the mountains of Colorado midst the flowers with an oil painting of the same photo.
As an Education Specialist, not an art student, I can recommend you for artists of all levels. I look forward to seeing your work in art publications.


Heather. Your workshop was extraordinary. Well planned, executed and welcomed by all of us. You articulate your intentions well as you paint…. not always an easy task. You are easy to relate with and offer suggestions in an an honest manner. I for one don’t wAnt to hear compliments in a workshop unless I’ve earned them!! I want to hear what needs work and you offered that. Thanks for your generous sharing of all that you’ve learned!!



Tubac School of Fine Art

the Adult Education Division of Tubac Center of the Arts


Located in

Tubac, AZ

Tubac School of Fine Art website banner 20/21

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