Garden of Paradise


Richard Wheeler

I grew up near Stanford University in Los Altos, California, while it was transforming from orchards into a complex that become known as ‘Silicon Valley’.  Following my sister Sharon’s lead, I lived at the Esalen Institute, in Big Sur, California, where we both met Dr. Ida Rolf and Movement Education

and Structural Integration (“Rolfing®”) practitioners.   Later Sharon and I participated in the founding of the Rolf Institute. I have almost 45 years of experience in private practice and giving public presentations, professional seminars, lectures, and workshops.  Click on my photo to access my personal website.  Click here to learn more about my Rolfing® practice.

Growing up in Silicon Valley had its perks... 

As a young high school student I worked as a laboratory assistant in the surgical research department of the heart transplant pioneer, Dr. Norman Shumway, where I learned and practiced all the surgical procedures. 

My friends and I incorporated as the Amateur Research Center, a non-profit educational corporation and were able to solicit used and, utilizing surplus scientific equipment donated from many silicon valley and Southern California resources.  Utilizing these resources we built a 3-million electron volt linear accelerator (“atom smasher”) in a two-car garage and....

My Rolfing work with clients led me to a deep study of anatomy, paleontology and functional morphology for 18 years at Los Angeles’ Page Museum (aka the “La Brea Tar Pits”) where I studied many thousands of fossil bones,  published original research on saber-toothed cat skulls and was Senior Staff Excavator.

As a visually-oriented artist, I’m trained in calligraphy and choreography for modern dance. 

I have recorded one CD of original music playing baroque arch-lutes & harmonica.  I also play guitar, djembe (African drum) and the shakuhachi (traditional Japanese bamboo flute).

I built a home laboratory where I measured bioelectric potentials in protozoa.  This work won national-level science fair awards and was published in the Amateur Scientist column of Scientific American.

I learned scientific illustration at the LA County Natural History Museum and also had the honor of being the first person invited by the Page Museum to exhibit art photography from inside the tar pits.

I’ve traveled to 18 countries, lived in France for 6 months and was fortunate to circumnavigate the globe as a scholarship student and oceanography lab assistant with the University of the Seven Seas.  I attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon and studied choreography for modern dance at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, California. 

At our Garden of Paradise in Ecuador I function as a website designer, photographer, structural integration practitioner, workshop leader, general artist, resource person & teacher.

Recently I’ve helped my wife Norie create 1001 original Butterfly designs.  We’ve published a series of Butterfly Coloring Books and have plans to utilize these images in many other projects.

Please click here to visit our Butterfly Blessings website.

My artworks depict ideas revolving around the fields of anatomy, synthetic biology, artificial life, ecosystem design, exobiology and creative organic morphology.  I use acrylics, airbrush, photography and computer to create images, paintings and drawings, many of which are on my personal website