Wheeler was born near Atlanta in 1942 and began his formal art studies with portrait painter Jack Brock in 1961. He graduated with a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 1966 where he studied with Joseph Sheppard. Upon graduating, he spent several years working as a painting conservator at both the Smithsonian Institution and the Corcoran Gallery. In 1972, he returned to MICA and studied under Grace Hartigan earning an MFA from the Hoffberger School of Painting.
Throughout his career, Wheeler’s major focus has been the integration of the human figure into the natural landscape. Known primarily for his paintings of horses, his commissioned portraits can be found in the Maryland State House, the United States Supreme Court, the Federal Building in Baltimore, and in many private collections.