Admittedly, Rick Sanders was not the best student growing up, which is ironic since he’s made much of his career as an educator. He found school boring most of the time. Art, however, he loved from a young age.
“I’ve been an artist since I was a kid. I used to bring baseball cards to school and I would practice drawing figures whenever I was bored in class,” Rick says. “And, I got my first camera when I was 7.” A friend’s mother then taught him to paint and he has been creating art ever since.
Selling art professionally came fairly easy to Rick. “The fifth painting I ever did was a commissioned piece. Someone asked me to paint their German Shepherd. I had no idea what to charge so I just asked for a tip and the guy gave me $60.00, which was a lot of money at that time. I definitely celebrated that night.”
Rick, an award-winning artist, has sold and shown his work all across the United States and copies of his art work have been distributed world-wide. More locally, you’ve probably seen Rick’s artwork without knowing it. Rick painted the images used as models for the art on top of the Apollo Beach Water Tower. You might recognize these:
Oils and photography have been Rick’s favorite mediums to date. He’s most known for creating realistic oils from his and others’ photography, such as these paintings –
…but he has also moved into abstracts more recently, including this image that is part of his ‘Snake House’ series.
Rick Finds Writing
While Rick has been creating art since he was a child, he’s also spent much of his adult life as a teacher with the Pasco County School district and more recently with Hillsborough Community College, where he teaches art classes. In fact, it was through his teaching experience that he found writing. What began as a series of silly emails to fellow colleagues about the ‘end of the school year’, turned into a bit of a phenomenon. Colleagues started sharing Rick’s funny emails and, in turn, those people shared them. His emails found their way to all parts of the world and a tradition began. Rick continued writing his ‘end of the school year’ emails for several years and found a love of writing.
Today, Rick is a part-time teacher and full-time artist and writer, although he spends more time on writing now. Like his art, Rick found success with his writing almost from the get-go. He wrote his first novel, Strange Times in Yeehaw Junction, while he was still teaching full-time. In the course of one academic year he had a first draft. After a major re-write he found a publisher, The Word Verve, Inc. in Georgia.
Strange Times in Yeehaw Junction (click here for more information),published in 2013: The line between sanity and being just flat-out nuts is indeed a thin one. Best friends, Thomas and Lee, soon discover the indelible reality of that statement as they take to the Florida highways and byways to deliver a treadmill of questionable value to a family member….
His second novel, The Walking Bridge, is a modern thriller set in Chattanooga. It just published in 2015. “The second book almost wrote itself. Once I understood the characters I couldn’t type fast enough. The characters had a life of their own,’ Rick says, “and it was all I could do to get in down in writing.”
The Walking Bridge (click here for more information): Trevor Gray is a loner. One day his solitude in Chattanooga is interrupted when he sees a man who looks exactly like him – his doppelganger…..
Rick and his wife Kimberly have called Riverview home for the past 16 years. When he’s not writing or creating art, you can find Rick illustrating children’s books and designing book covers (including for his own novels), although he’s already mapped out novel #3 and #4 in his head so you’re most likely to find him in front of his computer, typing as fast as he can.
Rick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org