Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday - End of the Decade

Back to work today. The red cloth was added and the right corner was also darkened down. I still need to bring some more color into the figure itself, her green shirt is just too opposite the color wheel. So I need to think about that and what to do with it, maybe the introduction of a third color might help. There are a few other little things I could do to it at this point, but I guess that will have to wait until the next decade!

We are planning a nice lobster dinner tonight, that is if we can get a good price on them. With some crab legs, stuffed mushrooms, a few other delicacies and some good white wine, I think it will be a good feast. After that we will head over to the Strayer's house for the end of the decade celebration.

Looks like I'll be off from painting again until Monday

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We are still up at the cabin and right now it’s snowing hard, so hard that I can’t even see the other side of the valley.

Everyday now we have been burning off the Christmas joy, with such events as post holing a quarter mile up the side of the mountain in waist deep snow. “Post holing” for those who don’t know it, is a term we use here in Utah to describe the action of physically walking through deep snow in just your boots. The footprints one leaves behind are deep enough to set a fence post in securely. This also conjures up the sheer effort that is required to lift your foot up high enough to clear the snow in order to take one step forward and once again to have it sink down several feet. The hillside was far to steep to zigzag your way up on skis, so instead you would take them off, hold them in your hands and watch as your legs sink down into the snow to your mid thighs. Yes, we were post holing up the mountain. As one might guess, progress is reduced to that of a snail.

We were doing this because are oldest, Markus wanted to build a ski jump halfway up the side of the mountain and Victor wanted to try his hand at Telemark skiing. That’s three pinning, as we use to call it, where the front of the ski boot is attached to the ski and the heal is left free. It generally takes more balance than regular downhill skiing.

Karin followed Markus, as he post holed up the side of a steep tree filled incline, up high enough on the ridge where the snow was deep and I went with Victor as we post holed up the side of a steep, but more open expanse to practice turning. Lina decided it best to just ski around at the bottom and wait for us. She had the smartest idea of everyone. Once Victor and I had marched halfway up the hillside, we put our skis back on and went over a few of the basics on Telemark skiing. Well that didn’t seem to work to well for Victor. Trial and error was to be the best method, so off he went with a slow-arced turn to the left and then a crash. The pieces were picked up and once again a slow-arced turn to the right followed by still another crash. Through this crash and burn technique we gradually made our way down the mountainside. At the end of the day my knees were feeling the workout.

The next day we ventured forth on cross-country skis up a steep canyon not too far from here. The excitement there was coming back down the icy trail through the trees and rock outcroppings. More often than less this meant flying down the hill out of control, only to crash off the side of the trail as a form of speed control. At the end of that day, we were all comparing our injuries.

We are heading back to civilization tonight, back to Salt Lake City. After five days of skiing, maybe a day of rest would be good for the soul. Maybe some of that Christmas dessert would even be better!

Richard Boyer


During this particular winter holiday the general rule seems to be to gorge ones self in much the same way the Romans did, never really experiencing that hunger or empty stomach feeling between each elaborate meal after the other. As in our house, food seems to be in abundance with bowls of candy, or as my wife puts it, goodies place strategically around the various rooms to add to the Christmas spirit. Tradition being after every large lunch, you move straight into the next meal an hour later, afternoon coffee with Aunt Susan’s pound cake and half a dozen other oven baked delicacies. Not to long afterwards the dinner bell is ringing with another elegant spread of spareribs and pork loin straight out of Julia Child’s cookbook, and once again a neighbor’s fruitcake as dessert. The digestive juices in my stomach never have a time to finish their job and soon I find myself, out of habit gnawing on the armrest of the sofa.

It’s usually around this time my wife will say, “Let’s head up to the cabin and get away from it all”. Another words, what you need is a daily regiment of cross country skiing and snow shoveling to work off the Christmas joy from around your waist.

I need to add, that be no means am I over weight, in fact just the opposite. In high school, if anything, I was picked on for being skinny. Now in my middle age I look back at those very individuals with their couch potato beer guts and clogged arteries and laugh.

Unfortunately that thought will not get me out of tomorrow’s morning’s calisthenics. My wife is dragging me out of bed for an early morning ten-kilometer skate ski run up the trail and back. As she put’s it, “just because you’re middle age, doesn’t mean you can sit around on your ass!”

She is planning on us being up here for five days!

Richard Boyer

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

The holiday season has arrived and as usual the artwork is put on the back burner, left off to the side to simmer.  Most galleries shut down or go into sleep mode during the Christmas to New Years stretch, a period when most clients and artists draw themselves into the family life and the joys of the holiday at hand.  The Christmas tree stands tall and proud in the living room, adorned with ornaments collected over the years.  A mixed assemblage of store bought items picked up while on various vacations, to the classic Martha Steward toilet paper roll ornament, made as a first grade project by each child.  The tree is filled with strings of white lights hanging from the boughs, the sent of pine carries throughout the house, telling those within it’s walls that Christmas had arrived. 

    Lina, our youngest, counted with each passing day the hours until Santa will arrive.  Concerned notes are written directing Saint Nicolas to the front door, since our direct vent fire place offers no chimney for entry.  My worried nine-year-old daughter told me, to put it outside some place where he would see it clearly.  She then set out some cookies by the mantel.

     We had some guests over for the Christmas Eve dinner last night, with a festive array of food on the kitchen table.  With the Swedes came a wide variety of pickled herring in different sauces, fillet salmons, Christmas ham and of course Swedish meatballs. The meal commenced with herring, potatoes and a colorful array of strong vodka based snaps and with every few bites a new song was picked out to sing around the table.  The eating and drinking went on into the night, finally at midnight the last of the guests departed and Karin took off down to the basement to finish her wrapping.

      The next morning Christmas had arrived and Lina was up with the sun.  I stumbled downstairs an hour later with a coffee in hand.  The carnage began.

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


It's snowing out today and it looks like we are going to have a white Christmas after all.

I added a few figures to one of the boats on the right, I just remembered another criticism from the list was to add figures. Now its time to put the painting aside and forget about it for a week or so, then I can take another look at it after Christmas. From Friday's crit session I also had a list of things to do on the Pottery woman.

At the session we had a woman there, who had done some pottery before and knew a little about the process involved. She told me the pot was too small for the mirror, so I enlarged it about 50% and also made the spinning wheel a little bigger. Next I darkened down the background, which was far too warm and at the same time made some of the objects back there less noticeable.

With the addition of a little orange around the face and front of the woman, I end up with a glowing effect from the light of the window.....ah, the window! That was another problem, some people at the crit thought the window was open, another words they didn't recognize the cloth hanging over the window. In reality the woman there had hung a cloth over it to help block out the strong sunlight. So to make it read like a cloth, I needed to show some sign of a window behind. A shadow from some mutton bars hopefully will do the trick. I also want to add an element of red into the work, she has an old dirty gray cloth next to her, which is used to clean off the hands. Maybe I could make it a little cleaner and red in color. Most Potters could care less what color the rag is, so why not give it a little color!

Last night we had a nude figure painting session at Rick Graham's place with some of the other crit members. There we worked on a painting of a rather nice looking well endowed woman for three hours. Which for me is good, I need the practice.......Other people might say "yeah, right I bet its' good for you to be staring at her for three hours!!!"

Rick has it set up in his living room under artificial light, so it can be a little tricky to judge the colors accurately. I am so use to the cool north light of my studio, that it becomes hard to figure out the skin colors under yellow indoor lighting. Hopefully I can get into a routine of practicing every week.

Richard Boyer

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday, Dec. 21

Tis the season again, Friday, Saturday and Sunday we were out at holiday festive occasions.

I just have to say, congratulations Kevin for turning 50, we were at his party last night celebrating that milestone event. And I have to add, that it was also a lot of fun meeting people you haven't seen in a while. With our lives always being so busy, you drift apart from the friends you once had close ties to and the joy of coming back together again and talking about the years gone by, be it for just one evening is priceless.................that's why I always carry master card, just kidding! ( I had to throw that in )

Well today it was back to the Amsterdam painting, at the Friday crit session I took notes as the comments flew and ended up with a punch list of all the things that needed work. Some times it can be a real chore trying to write fast enough, as everyone with wine in hand will blurt out solution to the problem at hand. It can very quickly turn into an event much like that of the United Nations, as opinions differ and fly across the room with such velocity to provoke heated rebuttals. Nevertheless in the frenzy I try to write down the various things that need to be addressed.

From the comments I wrote down the following: darker under the trees on right side (thereby making the boats pop more), atmosphere to the bridge, its too dark. Take the boat out of the left side of the canal and fix the size of the white boat on the right side....its too small. Eliminate the notch of sky in the very horizon, the one that comes down towards the canal. Add people. Add more highlights in the water. Trees more yellow. "And for God's sake lighten up the water, What's wrong with you, can't you see that?"

Now I still need to add more people to it, something I could do tomorrow.

Richard Boyer

Friday, December 18, 2009


It's the weekend, time to face the masses wondering around the malls, aimlessly looking for holiday ideas. I think I am actually close to done with all the shopping !

I worked on the figure today, mainly the face, hair and hands. Some of the items were added on the table also, although it is hard to tell what they are. unless you are familiar with pottery making! I'll bring it to the crit session tonight, along with the Amsterdam painting. I sent out the following message to all those coming tonight

Hello fellow critters,

On this dark and gloomy day, the crit session will be brought to you by Carlie S. & Co.

The Carlie S. & Co. has been bringing you Yule time celebration since 1987, please join her at their house at 7:00 pm for a merry holiday session of wine tasting, meager snacks and ruthless art bashing without mercy.

( This crit session is not recommended for children under 18 years of age. If pregnant or breast-feeding ask a health professional before submitting to the session. If you are experiencing any symptoms such as redness or swelling, drowsiness, unusual urges to vomit and/or general discomfort please consult your physician. This crit session may not be for you. )

yours truly,
The Crit Management Committee

We have the Christmas tree up now and all what it needs are the ornaments.

Richard Boyer

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Well I decided to enlarge the figure, it just looked like there was too much room above her. I know generally, when you do this - rearranging or moving a figure - it can be a real pain. But, now in the block-in stage is the time to do it, not later on when you have invested so much time to it. Think of it as a pleasant experience, like having your wisdom teeth pulled!

Since I was re-painting the head larger, I just kept working on it, trying to capture the likeness of the woman. We don't have the crit session tonight, so there is no stress to get it done for that. I can kind of sit back and enjoy the painting part of it. Tomorrow I will concentrate on the head and clothing of the woman, trying to get it fully resolved, then I can work on the background stuff. If I can do the woman well enough, I will leave the remaining of the painting fairly loose.

The Oil Painters of America show is coming up, or maybe I should say the deadline for entries is coming up. So, if it turns out well, I wouldn't mind entering this one and maybe another water painting. The show moves around each year, depending on the gallery that hosts it. This year it will be down in Scottsdale at the Legacy Gallery, unfortunately in their upstairs gallery which is smaller than the main floor.

My only complaint about the show is that every year it seems to be a figurative piece that wins, they just never seem to deviate from that topic. That's why I'm doing the figure !!!

The crit session will actually be on Friday at Carlie's house, she wants to have a Christmas party crit gathering. So we will all flock down south to her place with painting and wine in hand, actually her place is only about two miles away. Living in the Avenues, where most of the members seem to reside, generally we just walk to each others homes. You can't get more health conscious than that!

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Today was one of those fun days, when I start a new painting....there is just something about a blank canvas, maybe it goes back to my childhood days when I got my hands covered in finger paint and went for that clean white wall next to the bathroom door. I won't get into what followed next !!!

I'm going to start a painting of a woman working on a pottery wheel. I saw this scene last summer in Stockholm, Sweden. Remember, my wife is from Stockholm, so we are there every summer for six to eight weeks.

If you go to the southern part of Gamla Stan, the old town; there you can catch a twenty minute ferry boat ride that will take you across the harbor to the island they call "Djurgården". Its actually where the town's zoo is located, hence the name in swedish. But, also on the island is "Skansen", a rather large area where they have collected and re created historical homes and buildings from throughout the countryside. Many dating back hundreds of years and assembled all into a village, for the viewer to walk around and explore into each building. To give it that special flair, every employee there is dressed in the appropriate clothing from the era they are representing and doing the daily chores one would expect from that age. The nice thing is also, they don't mind if you put a camera in their face or not, in fact you could even set up your easel right there and paint away. For anyone interested in history, this is the place, everybody working at the village is knowledgeable about the way of life or events from their time period they represent. It's like stepping back several hundred years in time.

As you can see I blocked in the figure, as she sits behind the spinning pottery wheel. I still might move her up a bit in the canvas, or maybe make her a little larger in size.

To get a better feel for the painting and how it will look, I started with massing in the background. This way the canvas is covered and I get a better understanding of how I want the light and shade to play out. There was a cloth covering the window, but still the sun light was pouring in and illuminating the table in front of her.

Anders Zorn, a Swedish artist who lived about 100 years age use to do this kind of subject matter all the time and of course became a master at it. He was very popular at his time, with all the fame and fortune associated with being Sweden's most successful artist. In my opinion Zorn subject matter and painting ability was far better than that of John Singer Sargent.

Alias, I don't know if I will ever get to that level of painting!

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The glass pallet I use is a quarter inch in thickness and tempered, for those who were asking about it.

I was back on the Amsterdam painting today, working under Grey winterly light.

I added a small boat to the left of the bridge and a lot more highlights on the water. The buildings in the background were also changed around a bit, they needed a little more detail. As I get towards the end of a painting, it becomes more like the conductor of an orchestra operation. I end up bouncing a little all over the canvas, fine tuning this and that, to bring the entire piece into more or less a harmony. Once I was finished with the water, that's when I noticed the background building were too orange in color. This fine tuning before you can call the painting done, will actually drag on for quite a while, as you step back and look for some of the small things that could be changed for the better. With the crit sessions, this in many cases can drag on for a few weeks. This is why I will usually work on several paintings at once, so I can put the one aside and look at it with a fresh eye at a later time.

Another trick I forgot to mention was the use of a mirror behind you, you're looking at a reversed image, but any problems with it become very apparent.

Richard Boyer

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday, Dec.14 - My Pallet Colors

Today was one of those days, where my mind was preoccupied. Last night we found out that several days ago the power went out sometime in the night at our cabin. With the nighttime temperature well below zero, it wasn’t long until the small space heater became ice cold and the water in the pipes froze up soon afterwards. Our neighbor up there called and informed us that there was a small stream running out from the front door, down the hillside and across the road. When he noticed the road in front of out cabin had become an ice rink, he thought something wasn’t quite right.

The well pump had been filling up the small crawl space and flooding out the bathroom door. Mark, our neighbor made it into the cabin and cut the power to the pump. Thereby setting my afternoon plans in stone. I spent the time driving up there and digging my way through the snow to get the car close to the cabin. With a quick stop at home depot on the way up for supplies, I cut out the broken copper pipes and replaced them with new sections several hours later.

I did manage to work a little on the Amsterdam piece, mainly some of the water, which I gradated from a darker blue to a lighter blue in the background. I also brought some more color into the shadow areas of the boats. Tomorrow I’ll be able to concentrate better on it, since the cabin is fixed.

Larry, my computer guru, was wondering what colors I use. From my years studying under the portrait painter, Alvin Gittens; he never let us forget that it’s not the colors so much that matter, but how they are placed next to one another that makes the difference. “You could mix up the muddiest and dullest of color, but put it next to the right color and it will sing!”

But for those who would like to know, on my easel I have a glass pallet, measuring 16 by 26 inches, which is painted a neutral grey on the underside. I like glass because it can be scraped clean with a razor blade, the grey makes it easier to judge values. Starting on the right side I have Utrecht Titanium White, Rembrandt Cadmium Yellow light, Gamblin Cadmium Yellow Deep and Rembrandt Yellow Ochre. Moving along to the backside of the pallet I have Rembrandt Cadmium Orange and Red Light, Permanent Red Medium, and then Rembrandt Viridian. In the left corner are my earth tone colors. I really like the transparent oxide colors from Rembrandt, so there I have Transparent Oxide Red, Transparent Oxide Brown and Raw Sienna (what can I say, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than Transparent Oxide Yellow and it looks identical!) Off on the far left of the pallet I have Rembrandt Cobalt Blue Light. I do save room for the occasional use of Permanent Blue Violet, when the time is right it can really add to the painting.

Richard Boyer

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday - Santa Lucia

Today is a holiday in Sweden, as well as our household. Lina, our daughter, woke us up this morning with coffee and lussebullar in bed.

Santa Lucia is an Italian saint "adopted" by the Swedes.

Lucia was born in Sicily and burned at the stake by Romans in 304 A.D. for giving her entire dowry to the needy and for unwavering belief in Christ. She was blinded and burned, but the flames did not touch her, so she was stabbed in the heart. The red sash represents the wound

Legend has it that Santa Lucia appeared during a famine in Sweden in the middle ages carrying food to the farmers across a lake. She is also associated with light, one of the reasons it is celebrated during the darkest part of the year in Sweden.

Yesterday the local community of Swedes gathered up at a school to celebrate the holiday. We arrived at four in the afternoon to the sight of a sixteen foot tall Christmas tree in the middle of a large room. It was fully decorated. Nearby was a table adored with a red table cloth and servings of glogg. Our local Swede, Brith has become legendary for her mixture of the dreaded concoction. With a deceivingly good taste, this rather strongly fortified wine is gone withing the first half hour and the general mood of the crowd become quite joyous.

Soon afterward the children all dissapear and adorn themselves in white gowns with candles in their hands. The slowly walk back into the room singing and line themselves up on the stage for a candlelight collection of songs. The mood of the event is almost spiritually uplifting (remember what my religious level is.) Up lifting in the sense that everyone has a daughter or son in the gathering, haloed by candle light and singing away in harmony.

After this ceremony, the food is brought out. Plates of herring in a variety of mixtures, along with salmon and potatoes. Ham, Swedish meatballs and a form of small sausage is displayed elegantly on the table. A selection of breads, flat crackers and cheeses flank the sides of the red cloth covered tables. The line quickly grows to that of a half a block in length.

Troy, our local beer maker for the group has brought a few varieties of his holiday production along to help wash the dried throats of all the guests. The conversation level decreases as mouths are filled with food and ale. After a while the tables are cleared off and moved out of the way for the traditional dancing around the tree. Everyone forms a double ring around the tree holding hands. The smaller circle in the middle dances around one way and the outer ring supposedly in the opposite direction, at this point in time usually chaos occurs. For the children this is probable the funnest part of the evening, watching the parents hoping around in circles, bumping into each other.

The end of the evening is visited by Santa, another words, one of the parents volunteering to dole out the presents to expecting bright eyed children.

Our reward for sticking around to clean up was the sixteen foot high Christmas tree, which we tied on the roof of the car and slowly headed back down the canyon to out waiting porch. Today its my job to cut some off of the bottom so it will fit in the living room.

Richard Boyer

Friday, December 11, 2009


End of the week and the last day to finish off the painting, before the mad rush of Christmas shopping starts.

Yes, I missed out on the over-night camping in front of Costco, for those mentally disturbed fans waiting in line for the Sarah Palin book signing event............Sorry, but you couldn't pay me enough to do something as stupid as that.

I will do a little holiday shopping over the weekend. Usually I wait until the last few days before the panic becomes too much, and then in a frantic frame of mind I head to the nearest mall only to become inundated with the chaotic frenzied mass of shoppers leaping for those last few items on sale. Thats when I head off to a corner and start babbling to myself like Dustin Hoffman in the movie "Rainman", until the mall security asks me to leave.

The crit went fine last night, Robert, one of the members, as usual spilled wine all over my desk next to the easel. Now all my papers and notes are covered in dried sticky red wine. This happens every crit night with him, either a broken wine glass or its contents poured out over the floor! In the future I think we'll give him a plastic cup, or better yet, a bike bottle with a closed lid.

Enough on that, before I get too worked up. They had some good points about the beach painting. Also on the Amsterdam piece, but I'll work on that after the weekend

The first, was that the painting lacked a third element off to the left. They were suggesting another figure, but I thought then it would look to similar to the older version. I wanted to get away from that, so I figured maybe a sail boat off in the distance. It adds the third element, but at the same time doesn't become to over the top. The next point was the waves needed some work, to which I added more highlights and varied a few. A comment was made about more yellow ochre in the foreground water and some more rim lighting on the figures.

Well, that's all done and I shot a JEPG image of it and sent it off to Southam Gallery again. Lets see what happens!

Richard Boyer

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's crit night tonight, so I worked on the beach painting first. I thought at first to give the painting a rest, but yesterday I went by the Southam Gallery and they informed me that they told the client "The artist was working on another beach painting and it would be ready next week!"

How fun, looks like I really do need to get this one done, so I worked on the figures today, just to have it ready for the scrutiny of the critters tonight. Critters is a term we give the members of the group, since we all critique. Here is my invite for the session tonight, remember I am in charge of the email notifications. This morning I sent out a simple "Crit is at my place" notification..........well that didn't go over to well!

"Dearest fellow crit members,

Forgive me for my short notification of the crit gathering earlier in the morning. I was reprimanded by several critters on the cold, heartless and uncaring way in which it was delivered by a simple two phrased invitation.

In this day and age when life speeds along like a German autobahn, lightning fast emails and blog remarks done in a split second, we sometimes forget to slow down. The very concept of a easier way of life, when only horse and buggy was our preferred mode of transportation to visit our neighbors and loved ones. We yearn back for the days gone by, heralding back to a simpler way of life, when we churned our own milk fresh from the cows and built our own houses from the timber in the backyard.

Maybe, just maybe, it takes that horrific, blood curdling scream of the autobahn crash to show down our way of living. To dig a pit and bury the remains and say good by to our technological life style.

May I be the first to offer a warm welcome to this evenings crit session at our hand built cottage, fresh hay has been thrown down behind the threshold and the kettle put on to boil by the hearth. Come, take off your shoes and put up your feet. Drink a warm mug of ale and lets reminisce about the years gone by.

Please disregard the brutal fact that this invitation is being sent by electronic transmission, instead of by swift horse and rider."

Before I forget, let me show you what I did this morning after the coffee.

I used my kids as models and gave Victor a sail doesn't this say "childhood innocence" Well, we shall see what the critters say tonight.

The Amsterdam painting was brought out afterwards and I worked on some of the background boats on the left and right side of the canal. Also a few highlight were thrown in the water, I still need to spend some time working on the blue of the canal, its going to need more green on the right side.

I have been taking step by step photos of the painting in progress and sending them off to Larry, my web site designer / guru of all computer programming questions. He wanted more shots of it during the process to make a smoother transition from image to image. I just hope I haven't clogged up his in box with thirty of so images........

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


It was back to the Amsterdam painting today.

First, I started on the boats in the canal, which I have a feeling will be a little time consuming with all the details. The front boat I put in first to establish my darkest darks then I can gradate the values better as I work my way along the row of boats.

I want to make sure the eye doesn't move too quickly down the canal, so I'll push some of the boats out a bit into the water, that way it's not just a straight line down to the bridge. There is a lot of highlights on the water also, but I'll hold off on putting those in until the very last.

More blue was added to the water to unify it and after I get the sidelines all painted in, I'll be able to judge the gradation of the water better as it goes off in the distance.

Southam Gallery informed me that they sent the image of the "Three Sisters" painting to a couple of clients, who rejected it............they didn't like the girls in bikini's. Linda Southam said, "Remember, this is Utah"
Seems like you can never win, so I took the girls out and am now putting in some boys, playing with a sail boat instead. Maybe they will represent the "innocense of childhood" better for the clients!

Sometimes these paintings can turn into a day time saga that never ends "As the stomach turns" brought to you by Boyer Studio's

Its crit night tomorrow, so I'm not sure if I'll work on this never ending work or the Amsterdam painting in the morning.

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


We woke up this morning to another four to six inches of light fluffy snow. If you click on the pictures they will enlarge for your detailed viewing pleasure.

I did shovel the driveway and sidewalk, basically had to in order to get the car out of the garage. It was my job to get Victor and his friend to school today, normally they would ride bikes, but alas the snow storm put an end to that two mile trip. We pulled out onto the road behind some idiot in a pick-up truck going three miles an hour down the hill to South Temple Street. A death ray on
the hood of the car might have it's advantages in a situation like this.

At the bottom of the hill the intersection became a meeting point for all those with bald summer tires. A few were sprawled out sideways to the waiting commuters behind them. The owners were outside in the snow feebly attempting to push the cars out of the way. We veered away from that intersection and took the less traveled roads, one advantage to having a four wheeled drive vehicle.

The snow must have come down very quickly in
the early morning since none of the roads were touched by a snow plow. We made it to the school in time. Both Victor and Sean were wondering why they didn't just close for the snow. Maybe I should have gone into the winterly conditions back in Buffalo, New York where I grew up. Three feet of snow was just considered a light dusting and certainly no reason to close a school. After all that's why God created snowmobiles!
I headed back up the hill past all the cars performing doughnuts by the side of the road and shoveled out the driveway again. I then had my breakfast and took these shots of our house. The middle one is looking up our street.

Today's painting was, "yes, you guessed it!" ....the three figures in the water again. Well, I worked on the sisters a little more, lightened up the hair on the girls a bit and finished off the water in the foreground. I brought more blue down, along with some highlights from the sun.

I think it might be done now, I'll leave it for now and look at it tomorrow with a fresh eye to see if there is anything that bothers me about it.

Richard Boyer

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday, Dec. 7

We are having a cold spell here in Salt lake, with more snow on the way. The night time temperatures are getting down towards the single digits, with everything covered in white snow outside. The days are shorter now and any ideas of warmth from the sun are becoming a distant memory. Normally this is when I start fantasizing about having one percent of Bill Gates annual salary and me sitting in a beach chair on one of those tropical islands you see in the Corona Beer commercials. Not to far off from the painting below !

But noooooo, it's Monday morning and time for reality. I bundled Lina up, put on the winter boots and with the dog in tow, we headed up the hill to her school in the cold morning air. The snow squeaked, as we walked on the freshly fallen addition from the night before. Twenty five minutes later I returned with rosy cheeks and numb fingers. Another warm cup of coffee fixed that problem.

The painting should look very familiar, it certainly does for me. I started one again with the sky and worked my way down into the water, then moved on to the three girls. The second time around seems to go faster, most likely because all the decision making has been thought out already and it basically becomes easier to work through it. Sometimes the second time around can look even better because of the confidence level. Tomorrow I can fine tune the figures better and work on the water in the fore ground.

I can't tell you how much of a pain this is to redo the piece, it's putting off the Amsterdam painting, which is really the one I need to be working on.

Richard Boyer

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Well yesterday is behind me now and I have a coffee in hand. Monday I will do a fresh start on the painting again and I'll leave out the baking time.

Last night Karin and I went and saw Haydn's Creation at the Utah Symphony. It was a nice piece to listen to after a rather depressing day. We sunk down in our seats and listened to the orchestra for over two hours. Three soloists sung about the seven days of the Lords creation, "yeah, that's right!, straight out of the book of Genesis, with a reader board above so you could understand them better. That's a first for me! If I were to honestly rate myself on the religion and faith scale, most likely I would be down towards the bottom of the list. Still below on the list would fall the family dog. I couldn't help feeling as if I was in a church listening to a sermon. We weren't too sure how this would abide with the predominant religion here in Utah. When the intermission came, we did notice a lot of return missionaries leaving; others had fallen asleep.

Richard Boyer

Friday, December 4, 2009


Today is one of those really shitty days. I just unwillingly destroyed my painting of the three sisters in the water. After the crit last night, I had a few things to fix, mainly the sky, which had a funny cross hatching texture to it from the brush strokes. I scraped it down with a pallet knife and repainted it carefully with nicer brush strokes. It was very wet at the top when it was finished and I took it outside to photograph. Nice picture eh!

I then send an email with the picture to the gallery.

I couldn't really then press it into a frame all wet in the sky still, so I put it in the oven, with the temperature set at only 160, just to speed up the drying time. Southam Gallery wanted the painting today to show a client tomorrow. Well I figured it might at least get the paint somewhat drier, but nooooooooo.

The fucking paint bubbled up on the canvas in the background area. It looked like a case of chicken pox, in the back of my mind I was hoping maybe the bubbles would go back down after it cooled. It never got that hot any ways! Well, it didn't happen, my next option was to take the pallet knife and try to scrape it all down and re paint it. That was just a %@#% waist of time, it looked even worse then!

I tried putting down new paint over the top, but that didn't cover up anything, all the scares from the bubbles just showed right through it all.....Its ready for the garbage can !!!
The other smaller 12x16 painting of the boats was just fine in the oven.

"See, absolutely nothing wrong with it, so why did the other fucking painting bubble up like that?"
God, I hate days like this, and to top it off the stupid dog decided to crap on the floor in the studio last night when we were all sleeping. When put in the backyard before bed time in the evening, our lab just stares back at you with an idiotic look. The animal is clueless as to what to do !

So, at one o'clock in the afternoon I started a new painting of the three girl in the water, what a complete waist of time!!!

Kim Southam had a client ready to see the painting on Saturday, now I have to tell them some time next week! Maybe I can blame it on the dog !

Richard Boyer

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Tonight we have the crit session, so its usually my job to send out the emails. We tend to switch back and forth between studio's, so one artist doesn't have it every week. In reality most of the time it's either at my place or up the street at Nick's studio.
This week I decided to send out a disclaimer with the notification

"Once again we have a crit night, this time at the lovely Rees home, come one, come all to the holiday festive occasion. Your friendly Crit Management Committee.

Disclaimer - "Friendly", is a term that in no way should be associated with the Crit Management Committees demeanor, henceforth referred to as the CMC, the term "friendly" is used in this case as purely suggestive within the boundaries of holiday expressions and in no way should be construed as the opinion of the CMC. Any false representations of the term "friendly" in association with the CMC will be met with swift legal prosecution.

The term "friendly" should in no way be associated with the monthly dues owed by all CMC members. Failure to pay said monthly dues will result in "unfriendly" legal prosecution.

With the exception of the term CMC used in the capacity of email communications (used by permission), all references found in this email are the property of said "Crit Management Committee" who holds the Copyright and exclusive rights to these references they represent.

Reproduction or use of any of these emails in any form -- electronic saved and displayed on a computer or "hard-copy" or as derivative works -- without the written permission of the Copyright holder, CMC, is strictly forbidden by US Copyright law.

This communication, including any attachments, is intended solely for the use of the addressee and may contain information which is privileged, confidential, exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this transmission in error, please notify the sender immediately. Thank you."

Sounds rather official, doesn't it !

What can I say, sometimes you end up with too much time on your hands when you are finishing off your morning coffee. Today I was back on the Amsterdam painting again.

I first darkened down the trees on the right, they will be the closest to the viewer and I need to give them the most contrast.

The height of the trees on the right bothered me, so I thought they should go up off the top of the canvas, this will give the painting more perspective as you look down the canal.

Then some of the lighter greens were added to the foreground. Since the light is coming from behind, I need to make sure and keep the lightest greens at the edges of the trees, so they appear rim lit from behind. I'm using cobalt blue mixed with yellow ochre for the front of the foliage, it gives the leaves some definition in the shadow areas. The rim lit leaves are cobalt blue and cadmium yellow light mixed with white, just make sure its not too warm with the yellow.

Slowly I worked my way back into the middle ground with the rim lit trees, making sure that the yellow green is diminished as I move back in space.

The last half hour was checking if the trees looked right as they went back into the distance. I also added a little more yellow to the tree on the left side.

I'll let you know what they say at the crit tonight, I'm bringing the water painting with the three girls and the smaller boat painting. Oh, and of course a bottle of wine!

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


It's a little cold out today, but at least it's sunny.

I broke out the Amsterdam painting again and worked on the sky and background buildings. Another one of those logistical operations. Do the background first then I can put some masts over the top.

There are quite a few boats in the canals of Amsterdam that have their masts up, so I will want to add those in here and there.

They are usually on a pivoting system, so in the event one wishes to leave on a trip, all you need to do is remove the ballast from the very bottom of the mast and it collapses down. Without this feature, you may be taking out a few bridges in the process. I started out with the domed building left of center and worked my way farther back, to try and define some of the architecture, which makes Amsterdam so unique.

I then moved onto the bridge and painted hints of the railings and a few objects in and around it. There is also a bridge behind it that I want to add in, this will give the canal a little more depth.

The trees to the right under the tower were then defined more. So now with the background complete I can move up the right bank adding a little more color to the trees as I go, this will give the illusion of atmosphere. I may still come back later and add some more blue to the very background if it need to be pushed farther into the distance.

You can see some of the buildings being added to the right side, and at the same time I add some darker values under the trees to give the illusion of the buildings behind. Still I want to keep that area very simple back there, or else it will compete with the boats in the canal.

I found out that each Boat is a residential address with a mailbox and parking stall out front. They are sold as real estate, the same as one of the houses next to the canal. You are not only buying the boat, which may be over a hundred years old, but also the location where it is moored. I was painting a view similar to this once and one of the owners walked up and invited me on board for a beer. He filled me in on all the inside real estate info for buying and selling boats in Amsterdam. I just had to make sure to keep my head low inside, they are not know to be spacious!

Finally I darkened down the trees more on the right, it's getting late in the afternoon now and I need to run a few pieces down to the local gallery. Tomorrow I will work again on the right side and see if I can finish off all the trees and buildings. That will leave just the boats and water for the following day.

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Why is it that our dog, Sasha will always park herself on the ground right behind me when I am painting. Inevitable, I'll back away from the easel to get a better look and step on her. Does the dog learn from this experience? No,.....what ever happened to the studies on condition/response? Should I just tell the dog, that she has blown Povlov's ideas right out the window?

Enough on that subject!

I put the Amsterdam painting aside to let it dry a little. It makes it easier to paint on top if I am not messing with globs of wet paint from the day before. Instead I worked on the smaller 12x16 painting I used as a guide for the 30x40 boat painting.

This painting was never really finished off, because I hit a few walls with respect to the composition and a small incident, which I'll get into. With the larger cousin I opened up the left side so the viewer had a way out of the row of boats and maybe that was the problem with this smaller one I did on location. Originally I had boats all the way across the canvas, the viewer was trapped and so was I with finishing it off. Somehow with the larger version of this, I saw that problem and took care of it. With that knowledge I was able to come back to the smaller one and finish it off. I'll save it for the crit session on Thursday and bring it down to the Southam Gallery here in Salt Lake on Friday.

I started this painting in July, when we were visiting my brother, Scott in Seattle. We signed Markus and Victor up for sailing lessons at the Seattle Yacht Club and this day I decided to hang out there and do a painting. The sun was out and the wind was blowing slightly, keeping the temperature just right. The students were all sailing back for lunch and I decided to walk to the end of the dock to take some pictures of the kids crashing into each other, the comedy was quite entertaining!

Well I looked back and my entire French easel, painting and all, had blown upside down in the water. All of my tubes of paint were stored in the open drawer of the easel and now lay on the bottom of the murky bay, twelve to fifteen feet down. Naturally I panicked and threw myself on the dock in an attempted to grab the floating wooden easel, most of the brushes were also floating around. I smashed the left knee in the process and hobbled back to the club house to see if they had a long net, so I might be able to fish the tubes of paint back up. For those in the know, a tube of Rembrandt, Colbalt Blue light runs around thirty five dollars a tube. So I had about three hundred dollars worth of oil paints just lying on the bottom.

There I ran into both Markus and Victor and told them about the predicament, their eyes lite up when I told them about the idea of diving down for them. They both followed me back out to the end of the pier and jumped in. Slowly they began finding the lost metallic tubes half buried in the silt at the bottom, viability was more or less zero, so mostly it meant feeling around with their fingers. Thirty minutes later I had every tube up except for three, naturally the Colbalt blue light was one of those still lost on the bottom. We also had an assortment of other things like old paint cans, clothing and scrap metal up on the dock.

The painting day had ended for me, mainly because I had to dry everything out, including the painting. I also had to track down an art store to replace the colors still at the bottom.

You may be asking what the moral of this story could be?.........never, never leave your easel un- attended. If you really need to, then put a heavy rock on it!

I will from now on!

Richard Boyer