Friday, April 30, 2010


The crit went well last night, Roberts wine glass came oh soooo close to breaking, but still made it unscathed through the night.

I had a long list of things to fix on all the small Santa Fe pieces and of course the 24x36 horse painting. The weather hasn't been the best today, with dark clouds hanging over the studio. So I decided not to photograph the final fixes until I have better light on a sunny day.

After lunch I started up this little 14x11. Its an old door from Provence, with the hollyhocks, I thought it might be a good subject matter for the Wade Gallery in Santa Fe. Its not quite done, with the poor light, I had to quit around four this afternoon. On Monday I should be able to finish it off.

Richard Boyer

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Study number three for today, just another quiet dirt road outside of Santa Fe. They seem to love the coyote fence down there, just a bunch of sticks pressed into the ground and then lashed together with cross bars. It makes for some good painting subject matter, since they are always so broken up and uneven.

The odd thing is behind most of these old broken down fences are multi million dollar adobe homes. Its a very desirable place to live, just ask any movie star!

We woke up this morning to snow on the ground, in fact all morning long its been @#%@ snowing !!! I did manage to scrounge up more pieces of plastic to cover over the garden, don't really know if that will do much good or not?

Its crit night again at my place. So I'll show them all these quick studies and see what they say.

Prey for no broken glasses!

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Here's todays 12x16 study, just another alleyway north of Santa Fe.

It was snowing a little this morning, welcome back to January !!! We had to bring in all the tomato and basil plants and cover up the garden with plastic so the ground doesn't freeze all the seeds. Good thing I'm not a farmer.

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I worked on a small 12x16 painting for the gallery in Santa Fe today. Its just a quick study, so I don't want to finish it off too much. I figure with a few more of these they will have a good collection of smaller pieces to sell for the summer season. It was fun to work on and since no architecture or figures are involved, it's really quick to do.

We have another one of those winter storms pushing into the valley tomorrow, they are even talking of snow !!!..............Damn, I'm so ready for Spring now, not more of the wet snow.

Richard Boyer

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday, April 19

I worked on the horse painting today. First just finishing off the background, I decided on more detail and color back there than what I had. Now it has a little more interest on the horizon. The waves I broke up more and lightened the water more in value.

The foreground sand I also defined better. It helped to throw a little water on the sand, so now I have a place to reflect the brown horse on the right. I used the pallet knife on some of the sand, which helps to give it more interest.

We got the garden all planted over the weekend, so hopefully this summer we'll have fresh produce......that is if the quail don't eat it all before its ready! Last summer we had about two dozen that parked themselves back there and munched down everything that came up. I finally had to build nets to go over the garden beds. This summer I wouldn't mind catching them and eating them. I've heard they are really good with an orange glaze!

Richard Boyer

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Today its actually sunny, so we are making the best of it and planting the crops. Yes, we have a little garden area and have been tilling it up and getting it ready for the season. Here's some pictures of the garden. That little house I build myself to keep the table saw and other tools in!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The figures were the main focus for today. I tried to keep the brush strokes clean, so as to define them better. The person in the middle I gave a white shirt to play down the importance and put instead a red coat on the woman to the right. With that in mind your eye now moves over there first and gives a little more dynamics to the painting.

My wife was thinking that the background cliff is too purple and needed some green, but there in lies the dilemma. If I add green it will compete with the green in the water and push the whole cliff too close to the viewer. So I think what it really needs is more atmosphere. If I let it dry another day or so, I could always glaze over it with a slight milky white color and that should push it back more.

We have the crit at my place tonight, it should have been up at Nick's but since he is building an addition down in Moab, he is temporarily out of the picture.

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Today I just worked on the horse anatomy, trying to get it all right. I do admire those few cowboy artists who can do it right. Bill Anton comes to mind. I've seen some fantastic cowboy and horse paintings he has done. Just looking at his work one can see he really knows his subjects.

The figures in my piece need a lot more work, which I can do tomorrow. I just wanted to get them blocked in.

We have these cool thunder storm clouds rolling in now. The dog is freaking out with the thunder and lightning, so she keeps following me around the house......what a watch dog !

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'm a signature member of ASMA ( American Society of Marine Artists ) and they are doing a show in Coos Bay, Oregon that I need to partake in. That being said, this morning I started on a 24x36 with water in mind. They wouldn't be trilled about a cafe piece done several hundred miles from the coast!

Here is the first stage - the block-in.

Last summer when we went camping on the Oregon coastline, I shot these two women riding horses along the beach and thought it would be a nice subject matter. This will be one of those pieces where you wish you had the knowledge of horses like James Reynolds. I'll admit, I am not much of a horse painter, but never the less I'm up for the challenge !

I'll really need to spend some time of the horses to get them looking alright, but I think the contrast of browns against the blues of the ocean will really be good. Crit is this Thursday, so lets see how much I can get done on it !

Richard Boyer

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday, April 19

Here is a painting I worked on today. I threw the boats in there as an after thought. Not quite sure if I want to keep them as is or not. Tomorrow I can look at it with a fresh eye and see.

So today I had my day in traffic court. Way back in February one cloudy day I was driving back from Alta with Victor and Lina in the car. Just minding my own business following a line of traffic zipping down the hill, through the light and keeping their speed along the flat section of road.

My heart skipped a beat when I saw him, just parked there by the gravel pit. He pulled out behind me since I was the last in the long line. The light turned red ahead of us and he just waited there behind me, no lights flashing. I wondered if maybe, just perhaps he was going to let it slide. Yeah right! The light turned green and traffic moved forwards. Thats when the flashing red and blue lights came on behind me. I pulled over and asked what was wrong?

He looked at me with a concerned expression "You really don't know buddy, you were going fifteen over!"

Yeah, I was guilty as hell, no point arguing with a radar gun. But still I was hoping that ignorance would at least make him go easy on me..........that didn't get me far. He just asked how the skiing was and told me to sign the ticket on the doted line and if I so desired, I could appear before the court to get it off my driving record. I had a ticket from last year and figured that would be just the right excuse for the insurance company to raise the rate!

Today was the judgment day. I could have paid the $90 fine and be done with it all, but then I figure that it might be worth the effort to see if I could get it reduced. I found out that was just never going to happen. They had about twelve individuals, all sitting and waiting in a small court room. Everybody there for the same reason...speeders!

The woman in charge, or acting judge walked over to the blackboard and explained to all present that they had three choices. "Not Guilty", which meant making a court date in the summer and most likely would result in you paying ten times the amount of the fine.........that seemed like a no win situation to me.

"Guilty", meant you just pay the fine, some other court fee and it would all go on your record. Why you would ever, show up there for that option is beyond me. Unless you enjoy paying an extra court fee. I was already given the choice of just sending the payment in my mail.

Their third option was something in between, which basically stated that you had to get your ass in there for their traffic school. I went for that, since they offer it on-line. The fee was basically twice what the ticket was, but I figure at least the insurance company can't raise any anything if they don't know about it.

Richard Boyer

Friday, April 16, 2010


The crit went well last night. I presented four works and had some small changes to do on all of them.
This is why these paintings can take a long time to really get to the point where you can say"Alright its done, lets send it off!"

First up was a small change to the back of the main fishing boat. Rick Graham thought it was a little too busy, so I put more of it in shade and unified some of the values. All in all a quick ten minute fix.

Next up was the cafe piece, they thought the umbrellas still were not light enough from the sunlight and that the background building wasn't straight. So I lightened up the tops of the umbrellas and fixed the perspective on the building.

I then moved on to this one, which needed a little more modeling on the figures. Also some of the background plants needed to be knocked down in value. The woman on the right was also lacking a kneecap, so I darkened up the plan change there.

On the last one I started to burn out. Carlie made the comment that she couldn't tell what season it was, since the background was orange it looked like fall. I took it from the Grand Gulch so that orange color was actually the color of the sandstone cliff from behind, but with all the trees in front that got lost. The solution was just to get rid of the orange and green it out more. I added more leaves and changed the course of the creek a little. The figure still needs work, but I'll deal with that on Monday.

Richard Boyer

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I decided to try a smaller 12x16 painting from Grand Gulch, the backpacking individuals I took out and put a woman in dress there instead. Gives it more of a romantic feel than some child weighed down with a forty pound pack on his back. None of the leaves were out when we were down there, so I lied a bit and added some in.

We're having the crit session tonight at my place so I can show it to them then and get some feedback. When its done I'll most likely send it down to the Santa Fe Gallery, they have a lot of older pieces that I need to trade out. In fact there is a box filled with older paintings on its way back to me as we speak.

I finally got the taxes all done last night and electronically filed least the federal. Turbo tax wanted twenty five dollars to send the State tax in..........sounds like a joke to me, I'll just put a damn stamp on an envelop and send it in myself !!!

As is usually the case I need to pay the State but get something back from Federal.

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday, April 13

We woke up to more snow on the ground again this morning, will Spring ever get here?

I worked on the same old cafe piece and added some yellow flowers down at the bottom and again in the middle flower pot. I think it looks a little better with the color instead of solid green. Maybe the green was a little too heavy for that area.

I then pulled out an older piece I got back from Jim at the Mockingbird Gallery and started to play around with that.

Its the small town of Coustellet, just west a bit from Goult, where we stayed in Provence. Every Tuesday this town becomes a parking lot jammed with cars, as all the locals bring out their goods to sell. This painting is of a couple who's main business was the growing of Garlic. They originally had only white umbrellas and a white table cloth, which I painted and wondered why nobody was reacting to it.......maybe just a little too much white. I know Sargent could get away with it, but me........noooo !!!!

The table cloth I also changed to a reddish color, but it may be a little off in the pink direction, so I'm not to happy with that. I'll look at it again tomorrow!

Now it's time to start the taxes !

Richard Boyer

Monday, April 12, 2010


We are now back at Recapture Lodge. It was a long hike out of the canyon, basically straight up and then across three miles of barren desert road. Off on the horizon line we saw the faint glimmer of the car windshields. They never seemed to get closer as we marched forward along the dusty footpath, memorized by the rhythmic pounding of boots in the sand a few yards in front, eyes fixated on the soft sand that curled up around the heel as it thumped down in military style. The weight of the packs gave the feel of being in some army training camp. After a solid hour we arrived at Strayers car, all exhausted from four days of abuse on our joints. We still had an hours drive to get my car at the end of Bullet Canyon. Dave and I took all the packs and left water with the rest as we did the shuttle. The thought of a shower and washing off four days of sunscreen and sand from our bodies back at the hotel was a welcomed anticipation.

We tried for an early start that morning, but our tents were all set up in the shadow of a cliff. Nobody seemed to eager to get up with cold dew still on the ground. I was the first up and boiled some water with the small stove to get things started. This campsite lacked a good water source, in fact for the past mile or so the stream had disappeared underground and wouldn’t reappear until Polly’s Island, where we were to head up. The night before we found two very small puddles at the edge of the gravel riverbed. With mosquito larva floating on top, we made sure the water filter intake was well into the water. Not much was left when we finally had all the water bottles filled for the days hike.

We had Big Man pictograph and one of the canyons only Kokopelli’s to see. The first one was two large figures high up the canyon wall. One could only guess why they were put there?

Richard Boyer


Last day before the long slog out of the canyon. Actually we have around five miles to cover, which isn’t that bad. No water froze last night; in fact with the anticipation of another cold night, I had on all the long underwear. After a few minutes of sweating in the sleeping bag I was stripping everything off again. The night was a lot warmer and by the following morning the temperatures had screamed back up to the mid 70’s, making it almost too hot to hike with heavy packs on.

Not long into the hike we ran into our first ruin. A two level structure with a fireplace inside, a real fixer-upper! There we found large pottery shards and plenty of corncobs. We spent maybe an hour there looking at the pictographs of all the hand prints; it kind of tells you that the site was most likely used for several generations.

We zigzagged our way across the stream farther on down the Grand Gulch. Scrambling up and down step sandy embankments through the narrow walled canyon. Sometimes the trail would just vanish, leaving us to bushwhack through groves of willows and tamarisk bushes.

Soon we were at another ruin looking at several hundred-hand prints and a large cactus field out frond, a clear sign that it had been used by many families over several generations. Our campsite for tonight had a view of it from across the stream bed. The water had dried up at this location, so we went off in search of small puddles to filter for our evening drinking water and freeze dried dinners.

Richard Boyer


Last night the water bottles outside the tent froze solid, yeah it was @#&# cold. My sleeping bag didn’t seem to do the job. I woke up multiple times trying to throw cloths on top of the bag in a futile effort to keep warm. I felt I was up most of the night waiting for the sunlight to come, after several hours it finally did. I still stayed in the sleeping bag hoping it would warm up more. Then I heard someone outside boiling up some water, but that wasn’t enough to get me up, instead it was the call of nature…..there is after all only so long you can hold it!

An hour later the sun arrived at our campsite and the temperature soared up to the point of putting on shorts or sweating to death. That’s what the weather was predicting, warmer and warmer daytime temperatures; I just was hoping for the nights to get better.

The main ruin on the list for today was the Green Mask, about a mile or so up stream in Grand Gulch. We left our packs their at the camp since we would be coming back the same direction to head down stream later on. Without fifty pounds on your back, one just seems to float along, our feet just bounding along the stream bed as we flew along.

First to come up on our left was a two-story ruin with Wetherill’s name carved next to it on the sandstone. These guys came through the area about a hundred years ago doing amateur archeology. Most of the time they were just digging up what ever they could find and selling it off to the museums back east. The rules have changed quite a bit since then and now a day it’s the law to leave all artifacts in place.

Further up stream we went part way up Shieks Canyon. There up on the left we saw a small painted green head, called the Green Mask high up the side of the cliff wall.

Remains of a kiva and a few structures were also there. Some of the Pictographs dated back to 6500 B.C.

The time was now after 2:00 and we hadn’t made any headway to our next campsite. So we hurried back to our first site and made lunch. We really needed to put a few miles behind us; our second campsite was Green Canyon. There we saw another cliff dwelling that presented more of a challenge to get to. About halfway up the sandstone wall was a small ruin with a greenish plaster coating on the outside. The view was spectacular from that location and we hung out there in the shade as the colors became more intense with the late afternoon light.

Our campsite was just around the corner and the evening temperature was already proving to be warmer.

Richard Boyer


We set the alarm for 6:00 in the morning….it didn’t work! Nobody was really into getting up that early to start the hike.

For the past several days’ 10:00 had been the norm. So when an alarm goes off in the early dark of the morning, it’s not a welcoming sound.

Around 7:30 we dragged ourselves out of bed. Everything was already packed in the backpacks – so it was just to set them in the car and do a quick breakfast. At 9:00 we were ready, said our farewells to Karin, Lina and visiting family from Sweden and took off for the Grand Gulch ranger station. Karin threw me a serious look and said “Be sure the boy’s come back in one piece!”

Before anyone starts a hike there, you are first required to watch their twenty-minute video on the do’s and don’ts of hiking around the ruins. We had a shuttle with the cars that needed to be done also; one car had to be at the end of the nine mile road we were to come out along and the other where we start the hike. Our route was to head down Bullet Canyon, along Grand Gulch and up by Polly’s Island, all in all about twenty-five miles.

The temperature was 40 degrees when we started with snow still visible in the shadows. The forecast was for below freezing nights in the beginning and to slowly warm up over the next couple of days.

My pack feels like 50 pounds, as it digs its weight into my shoulders and back. We had to cover 7-8 mile today to our first campsite at the confluence of Bullet Canyon and Grand Gulch. Now I am sitting on a log writing in a journal as the temperature drops close to freezing. During the day it did warm up enough that some could walk around in tee shirts.

Our first ruin was Perfect Kiva, one that is still intact with a roof and latter going down into it. They did a little stabilization work, so one is now able to crawl inside.

Our next ruin was just over at the next alcove; Jailhouse ruin with its barred windows was popular with the group. Mainly for the upper level which required some crawling on your stomach along a narrow ledge between the rock layers. The kids thought this one was the best and that most likely because of the exposure. That's Victor smiling in the front!

Tomorrow we have a full day of exploration and with the temperature now below freezing most want to just crawl in the sleeping bag.

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Yesterday the wind picked up, a front was moving through, at least the edge of it and the sand was everywhere. The center was some place up in Salt Lake. Last time this happened to me down here, I got so much sand in the camera that it had to be taken in and cleaned. That was a $160 dollar mistake; fine particles of sand in the air don’t mix too well with high-end digital cameras. As a result most of the time it stayed in my backpack.

I seem to be having a problem putting pictures with the text on my blog site; the mac doesn’t give me the option of reducing the size of the JEPG image. I tried to put several images on, but they just clog the upload with such a large file. I’ll most likely have to add them in when I get back to Salt Lake City. We leave tomorrow for the Grand Gulch, so I’ll be out of contact for several days. Wi-Fi hasn’t come to the remote canyons of southern Utah yet.

We did Monarch Canyon yesterday, its one of the classics along the Butler was road. A beautiful ruin sitting on top of an overhang with a pool of water below, some large cottonwood trees are growing by the side of the pool. I’ve painted the spot several times.

It was a short hike; most were tired from the day before, so after a few hours we were back at the hotel.

After lunch Dave knocked at the door and wanted to know if I was interested in finding the moki steps from the Anasazi that crossed over comb ridge. We have seen them from the Butler wash side but never from the cliff side of comb wash. We took the long dusty dirt road up the comb valley, after seven miles or so we saw a large outcrop of rocks with some Pictographs marking the way. We were close, we scoured the cliff face and went back to a low point, and there we headed up the steep incline of dirt and boulders, to base of the cliff. It was a low saddle in the other wise 800-foot cliff face. This area was maybe 50 feet to get over the edge and up there we saw the carved footsteps made by the Anasazi eight hundred years ago. There were well worn from time, but still could be used today. The only problem being that they were rather exposed; if you were to peal off of them the fall would be enough to break something. We decided it wasn’t worth it, since we have been up from the other direction any ways. By this time the skies were orange from the sand and wind. Our eyes were feeling the grit in the air.

That evening it was red wine and lasagna.

Richard Boyer

Monday, April 5, 2010


I'm sitting on the second floor porch at Recapture lodge, looking out over the dusty parking lot to the red rock cliffs along the San Juan River. Lina is up and wandering around with the dog and the rest are still lying in bed. Its 9:00.....vacation time I guess, with no urgency to get up and cease the moment. maybe it was the long hike we did yesterday up to Long Finger. We got going around eleven in the morning, drove out along the desolate highway to a dirt road heading off into the desert. There one opens the cattle gate, making sure to close it behind you and sets the under age child behind the wheel. This time it was Victor. Their eyes really light up when you posse the question "So, Victor, would you like to drive the car?"
The next ten miles or so I had my hand on the emergency break, just in case. I told him to look old when he drove by another car! Instead he rolled down the window and shouted out!

We finally made it to our destination and all clamored out of the three vehicles. Our goal was about a mile up the narrow walled canyon. There we saw "Long Finger Ruin" sitting atop an over hanging alcove. We spent maybe an hour looking around the pottery shards and ruins. Outside of every Anasazi ruin there exists a lush field of Prickly Pear Cactus, the remains of the former dwellers bathroom. over the years of doing their business they fertilized the ground enough for the cactus to grow quite prolific.

We did lunch and decided to head up to the ridge line. Comb ridge in a layer of Navaho sandstone tipped at an incline with an abrupt 800 foot drop at the end. The views are really killer, so most times when we go exploring, a trip to the top is well worth it and it gives us a chance to discover more ruins.

This is Lottie, Kay and Karin on the ridge top.

Halfway up we found some pictographs on a sandstone wall. At the top some more grain storage structures off on a far cliff wall. To get to those would have been a major undertaking, forcing us to go back down the incline and back up a different side of the canyon. We had been hiking for a while and really didn't have the desire. The idea of heading back down sounded better to most. So we slowly made our way back to the car and gin and tonics at the hotel.

Richard Boyer

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Here we are in Bluff; the weather outside is sunny and warm.....what a difference from Salt Lake. When we left there yesterday morning there was an inch of cold snow on the ground. We heard the sleet pounding against the window pain in the middle of the night.

Yesterday on the way down we stopped off at Dead Horse Point to do a little mountain biking and hiking.  Last year they opened up some a new trails system around the rim that offers spectacular views of the river 2000 feet below.  You can actually stand right at the edge and contemplate your own fate!  We have five bikes with us and eight people, so the boys took the bikes and the rest of us walked the trails.  The sky was overcast and looked like rain, but nothing actually hit the ground.

After that it was over priced take-out pizza at Kim's house in Moab.  She has three acres of land about a block away from Main Street and is putting on an addition to her house.  We are calling it our future room when we visit. Kim is married to Ed, who is our neighbor across the street and they divide their time between Salt Lake and Moab.

Richard Boyer

Friday, April 2, 2010


Tomorrow we drive down to Bluff, Utah, so there is a little packing that needs to be done this afternoon. I'll bring the laptop along and see if I can post a little done there, but as they say "Its a 3G dead zone!" But nevertheless I still want to show you some of the Anasazi cliff dwellings we'll be visiting.

The crit session went well last night, Robert managed to dance around his wine glass but never broke it. He likes to walk up to the painting to do his lengthy explanations and put the glass down on the floor. The dilemma is that he is of Italian decent, so his arms and feet tend to fly all over the place. Yes, you can imagine what happens!

First up on the block was the fishing boats.

They thought the main boat in the center was too cluttered, so I removed a lot of the stuff back there and simplified it all. That green tarp that was there, wasn't much of a hit, nobody seemed to know what it was. The foreground dock was also changed around a bit and some more detail added to the boat in the lower right. More rim light was added to the masts to play up the feel of the morning sun.

Next on the list was the cafe piece. They still wanted the umbrellas lighter, so I did that a little and also added some lighter green leaves to the plants at the bottom. Some atmosphere was added to the guy with the dark blue shirt, just to push him back some more. The sky was painted lighter and some of the background buildings became darker and more simplified. I forgot to paint also the arms on the chair to the left and the table was also too small, so both those problems were fixes as well.

Now I'll just forget about it for a while and look at it with a new eye when I get back from southern Utah. I still don't know about the lower left corner with that chair there, some think it should go and be open, others thought it was better when I had the table there.

Richard Boyer

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Its crit night tonight, so I was going to throw the boat painting and this one to the wolves. Now I did change a few things on this one....which ended up being quite major.

Several artists thought that the row of tables were a little too much and that the light blue guy was pressed up against the back of the darker blue shirt man. So I painted the end table out and pushed it farther back into space. The table at the end is now smaller and farther away from the other table. Yes, one Hell of a lot of work for a small pay-off. But maybe better off for the composition now. I also moved the left table closer to the viewer and got rid of the table that was in the lower part of the painting. All small changes to the eye, but in each case it means painting out the object in order to paint it back in the correct size or location.

If this was reality, I would have moved the objects around in five minutes..........but nooooo.
This is a damn painting and it takes all @%$@ day to do those few changes.

Well lets see what they say tonight

Its a winter wonderland outside. This morning we woke up to a Christmas like landscape, so much for Spring !!!

Richard Boyer