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Visitors take in the canyon from the rim
Workshops & Classes

Drawing on the Edge with Alan Peterson

Sketch to your heart's content while visiting Grand Canyon's beautiful landscapes.

  • Dates: August 3–6, 2024
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trip Length: 4 Days
  • Cost: $950
  • Group size: 10

Learn drawing techniques and gain confidence to draw realistic landscape scenes wherever you are! 

Artists have been painting at Grand Canyon for over a century. In such a dominating landscape, recording one’s impressions can be a pursuit that is both daunting and rewarding. With the right instruction, anyone can find strategies to effectively render even the seemingly incomprehensible majesty of the canyon. It all starts with a few simple skills. This class is designed to provide a solid foundation.

Trip Highlights

  • Expect to experience the canyon muse: sweeping views, ancient rocks, telltale fossils, curious critters, and diverse plants
  • Combine practical skills of observation with a variety of imaginative drawing techniques
  • Receive one-on-one instruction
  • Visit Shoshone Point and marvel at its world-famous view
  • Experience stunning sunsets and sunrises from the world-famous South Rim
  • Attend a lecture detailing famous artists of the past such as Thomas Moran and William Henry Holmes


Meet your Grand Canyon expert

Alan Petersen 2018

Alan Petersen


Alan Petersen has been drawing and painting Grand Canyon since 1976. He worked on the Canyon’s South Rim for several years before moving to Flagstaff to study at Northern Arizona University in 1980. Alan’s connections to the Canyon run deep – literally; he worked as a river guide on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon for eight years. More recently, in his role as the Curator of Fine Arts at the Museum of Northern Arizona, Alan has curated exhibitions of work by such notable artists as Gunnar Widforss, Joella Jean Mahoney, Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton, Merrill Mahaffey, Bruce Aiken, and Ed Mell.

Currently, Alan is working on a book on Gunnar Widforss’ life and art, and a catalogue raisonné of Widforss’ paintings. He is also working on a comprehensive monograph on painter Merrill Mahaffey. In addition, Alan teaches art history, painting, and courses pertaining to the Colorado Plateau region at Coconino Community College in Flagstaff. His own paintings have their source in the light, space and landforms of the Colorado Plateau, and explore the formal relationships between color and pictorial space.

What's included

Price for the class includes:

15% gratuity for instructor

Our expert instructor

Transportation to photo locations during class

Daily critique/review of your work

What's not included

You are responsible for:

All of your food, drawing equipment, and hiking gear (including camping equipment if you chose to camp)

Transportation to and from the canyon

Lodging in the park before, during, or after your trip - please check out lodging here or book at Mather Campground here

Additional notes

This class is open to all skill levels.

Cancellation Policy

Please notify our office as soon as possible should you need to cancel your registration. If you cancel or leave a trip for any reason:

  • 60+ days of program start date: full refund, minus a $100 administrative fee will be issued
  • 59 - 45 days prior start date: 50% refund will be issued
  • Less than 45 days to start date, or once trip has begun: we will retain your entire program fee with no exceptions.

Reserved spots are non-transferable to different programs. However, you may substitute members of your party, specific to the trip date with GCCFI approval, with no penalty, up to 30 days prior to departure date.

GCCFI reserves the right to cancel all, or a portion, of a trip for circumstance beyond our control. Circumstances might include, but are not limited to—public land closures, road closures, weather events, fires, or other natural events. Refunds are not offered in these situations. A full trip credit will be issued, minus any non-refundable expenses occurred by GCCFI if the program is cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control. GCCFI staff will work to change itinerary to another trail or move hiking locations to a safer area.

We reserve the right to cancel any trip if sign-up is inadequate to make the trip economically feasible for us to operate. In this event, we will give a full refund of the trip price.

GCCFI is not responsible for: air tickets, visa fees if applicable, gear, medical expenses, clothing, and any expenses occurred while preparing for this trip.

We HIGHLY encourage the purchase of trip insurance to help offset any costs incurred if cancellation occurs


Family of 4 standing and smiling for photo on rock edge at Grand Canyon

The Zelkovic Family

“Our day with the Field Institute exceeded all our expectations and we came away with a great respect for the canyon and for the work of the Conservancy. It was such a wonderful experience from beginning to end and hope we can return in the not so distant future to participate in one of your multi-day programs.”

Family of 5 standing and smiling for photo on rock edge at Grand Canyon

The Jankowskis

“Our family’s experience was nothing short of amazing! Slim (our guide) provided a perspective we would have never been able to get on our own and we learned so much. Her passion for the canyon and what she does came through too, which made our time something we’ll never forget!”

Five hikers standing on forest cliff edge overlooking Grand Canyon 2017

Amy Waits

“The guides were awesome – so educational and patient!!! Encouraging & helpful in every way. Such an amazing first visit to the canyon – Life changing to have experienced the GC up close & personal… Thank you so much!”

Group of hikers standing and smiling in front of canyon from ground level at Grand Canyon

Joe Sweeney

“I've brought many school groups to the Field Institute and the quality of instruction provides them with an understanding of Indigenous cultures, diverse ecology, and geologic history. Students leave with a stronger sense of self-confidence, an intimate connection to nature, and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Field Institute guide educating group of hiker tourists seated on beach with water and canyon in background

Andy M.

“Top to bottom, the Field Institute exceeded all of my expectations .... they ensured we packed wisely for our trip and saved me from lugging around 5 lbs. of junk I didn't need. Overall, it's packed with value that I don't think commercial outfitters would provide and delivered a deeply rich experience.”