Thursday, December 29, 2011

Monday, Dec 26

It’s been one of those light snow years so far, the ski resorts are desperately making man-made snow through the night in an effort to satisfy the winter crowds and all they hear is the long range forecast reports of sunny weather. The highway over the mountain pass by our cabin normally would have the gate closed at Soapstone basin with several feet covering the road over. The only option would be to travel with skis, foot or snowmobile the rest of the sixteen miles up to the pass at 11,000 feet plus and over the range to the other side. There, one could, if one was determined enough travel some 30 extra miles down to the small town of Evanston, Wyoming.

This winter has been different, a few inches are on the road and they have a small sign by the side of the open gate informing the adventurous traveler that there is no winter service from this point on. Another words go for it, if you get stuck in the snow on the road you are on your own!!!

We drove past the sign to see how far we could go up.

These are the people you read about in the paper who get stranded for days on end only to be discovered in the spring with the family dog half eaten up.

Yesterday we got up several miles below the summit before our cars, both of which are four-wheel drive started spinning sideways in the steep incline of snow. We gave up, parked the vehicles and did a small cross-country ski tour. That night we were scheming how to get the cars up all the way to the pass.

Today we packed a big lunch, loaded everyone up in both cars with skies and shovels and headed up to the closed highway to the point we made it to yesterday. There we put chains on the Volvo XC and continued on up the rest of the way. We saw only snowmobile tracks ahead of us, no four-wheel vehicle had ventured up so high, it was virgin territory for us and the car was sliding side to side as it slowly worked its way up higher and higher. At 11,000 feet with maybe a foot of packed snow on the road, in sight of the last curve over the top we decided to park it and break out the skis. Bald Mountain at 11,943 stood in front of us; we decided to try to ski around it. The sun was out, it was warm in the air and off we headed in a serenely quiet snow covered landscape. We worked are way through pine trees, rock fields and open meadows to a basin on the back side of the mountain at 11,500 in the dead of winter. A first for us in the middle of December and only possible because of the light snow fall so far.

Richard Boyer

Thursday, December 22, 2011


It’s actually sunny today; a small snow storm came through the valley and blew out most of the smog. That cold damp feeling in the air is finally gone and I can feel the warmth of that large yellow ball up in the sky.

I worked some more on the Colonial House painting. It‘s an old stately house up here in my neighborhood which the hospital bought to entertain guests. From what I remember reading about; it was first build by a woman who made it big from mining gold and silver in Park City more than a 150 years ago.

It still needs some work, but at least I can bring it to the crit tonight to see what people think. And for once this evening it is actually not at my place. Nick after a good month and a half of working on construction projects has said that he will host it.

Richard Boyer

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday, Dec 19

Here is another snow painting I have been working on. A few things still bother me about it, but I’ll live with it for a few days and hopefully they it will pop out at me!

Christmas shopping is ever so slowly coming along! Maybe I’ll have everything done the day before.

What else is new.

Richard Boyer

Friday, December 16, 2011


We had a good crit session last night and as usual I ended up with a page of notes on things to fix.

The snow painting here I decided to add a little more paint in the foreground and punched up the colors in the sky. It made for some more contrast and more interesting to look at as well. Now I am quite happy with it and I’ll call it done

Back to the horse painting for the tenth time as well; this one has gone through quite a few evolutions since the start. I’ve re-painted several of the horses in the learning process. I just have to keep in mind that it will take another 998 horse paintings before I get good at it!

Now it’s time to start thinking about Christmas Shopping!

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


It’s been a gloomy overcast day today; it would be a lot nicer if it would just snow.

Well that being said I decided to start another snow painting. Why fight it when you can join it?! It will be one of those architectural nightmares with the brick house but with the snow covered trees in front it should look nice when done.

The house is an old Victorian home back in New York State, another shot I took while visiting the parents. This place was a few miles from them in the town of Lockport. Back in the early 1800’s when the canal was in full swing this town was one of those wealthy merchant centers with cargo traveling through every day in record numbers. Mansions like this sprung up everywhere. Now fast forward 160 years and it’s more or less an economic dump with high unemployment. The house would most likely sell for under 200K.

As they say location, location, location


Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I finished off the moody snow painting; it’s actually a section of the Erie Canal back near Buffalo, New York. My parents moved to a new house near the canal ten years ago. So the last time I was visiting them in the dead of winter I decided to go out and shoot some snow pictures. The canal goes from Albany to Buffalo and was used heavily to get goods out West before the development of the train. The view I have is at a wider spot as it enters into a river.

Richard Boyer

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday, Dec. 12

Yesterday we celebrated Santa Lucia with the Swedes. Lucia was actually a beautiful woman back around 304 AD destined to be married. Unfortunately she was catholic and the Roman Empire didn’t like that idea. You see her wealthy mother was miraculously cured of some mysterious illness at the local church and so Lucia came up with the not so popular idea of donating all their money to the poor. Her fiancée was the one who thought it not so popular; in fact he found that generosity so appalling and turned her over to the Emperor Diocletian for torture and finally death. Her eyes were cut out and then she was hacked apart with a sword, a rather grim way to go. That’s why the candles are used now a day, to celebrate the light or vision.

Any ways for the Swedes this makes for a fun pre-Christmas celebration with fortified spiced wine, home made beer and food galore. We all gathered at the local school and carried out the festive occasion: making sure that none of the participants were tortured in the process.

With the low light and candles the signing ceremony really has a nice holiday feeling. It was good to meet up with people and chat about life, especially since we only seem to meet a few times a year. Most of the women and kids danced around the Christmas tree, while the men tried out Troy’s home made beer. Ah, somethings never change!!!

Back to the real world of art, here is a small 16x20 snow piece I’ve started for Jim at the Mockingbird Gallery. It’s just the block-in.

Richard Boyer

Friday, December 9, 2011


As expected the horse painting was filled with mistakes and so it’s back to the drawing board for some of the horses, which is what I was working on this afternoon. I should have it done on Monday

The café painting I changed around a bit also this morning, mainly the color of the umbrellas, which of course meant changing the color of the flowers as well.

Richard Boyer

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Here is my second study of horses and I’m sure James Reynolds would be rolling in his grave with the mistakes I did. I’ll show it to the crit people tonight and see what the consensus is.

With reference to yesterday’s blog and the 1000 paintings the artist should do before he becomes good; a friend of mine, David told me the same holds true in most fields of expertise. In this case 10,000 hours seems to be the magic number, before say a person masters the art of fencing or javelin throwing. So with the average of ten hours per painting the artist would come out the same.

Food for thought!

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I started another horse study painting today. It’s the only way to get good at it, just keep painting the subject matter over and over again. And maybe to but the horse anatomy book as well!

It’s just a block-in !!!

Back in the 90’s Joe Wade from the Joe Wade Fine Art Gallery once told me that an artist doesn’t really get good until after he or she has done about a thousand paintings under their belt. Sounds like an awful lot, but there is some truth to the saying; the only way to get good at something is through mileage.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


We had our figure painting session last night at Rick’s and here is my result for what it’s worth!

I keep wondering what it would be like to have another day to work on it, how much farther along I could bring it. But, alas with these three hour figure sessions you are in the heat of the battle and only have a finite amount of time to make it work as best as possible.

Richard Boyer

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday, Dec 5.

I got one of those calls from the gallery on Friday; apparently some top executives from a law firm walked in and wanted to buy a painting for one of their partners who was planning to retire. In the back of my mind I was thinking about John Grisham’s book “The Firm”, where their partners were retired about six feet under; but any ways I’m sure they are not like that!?

They contemplated one artist’s piece and didn’t see what they were looking for; the firm wanted something with red rock and water, that’s when the gallery called me. They wanted to know if I could paint something over the weekend, something that would appeal to the client.

I took the bait and agreed to work through the weekend. Yes, let’s dangle the carrot in front of the artist and see if he will do it!!!

Here is the result, a quiet little stream in southern Utah in the early spring.

Sunday night it was Pepparkaka production at our house. Like most Swedish families vast amounts of gingerbread cookies have to be made before the holiday season and that is what our house turned into; a production line of baking. The smell permeated up the block.

We now have our holiday supply!

Richard Boyer

Friday, December 2, 2011


It was a cold sunset up at 9000 feet yesterday, but still it was fun to be up there. I shot this view of Mount Superior before it got too dark.

We had the crit session last night and I pulled out my French Café paintings, along with a pile of other stuff. Filled up a page of notes and this morning I worked on the suggested ideas for these two. I found it quite fun and relaxing to sit down while painting and to work on some of the smaller detailed things to bring the pieces to completion.

This one I just worked a bit on the foreground chair so it wasn’t so obvious.

And this one I painted in the figures a little better, so now the eye has something more to look at. The flowers off to the left were also changed around as well as the tree above. All in all I find it better than the old version.

The horses I also tweaked a little, although that will be harder to detect; mainly small anatomical corrections here and there. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to get a horse anatomy book and start reading it!!!

Richard Boyer

Thursday, December 1, 2011


It was a blustery day in the hundred acre woods this morning, as it goes in Winnie-the-Pooh. Leaves and tree limbs were blowing across the yard and through the neighborhood; basically causing mild havoc throughout the valley with power outages and parts of roofs blowing off. To make it even better I am suppose to drive my daughter up to Alta ski resort for the start of cross country ski training at 4:30 this afternoon, they said with the wind chill factor the temperatures are in the negative numbers up at 9000 feet. Another word down right uncomfortable!

From my weekend session of horse photography up at Midway I decided to do this small 12x18 study as they were lining up in the afternoon light.

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday, Nov 29.

Yesterday and today I worked on the Grand Canyon piece, finishing off the cliffs more on the right side and adding the rafters on the water. Now it looks like another one of those lazy days floating down the river, watching all the killer scenery go by. As they say it is a trip of a life time.

I’ll put the painting aside now and think about it for a few days to see what else it could use.

Richard Boyer

Monday, November 28, 2011


The quest for knowledge in painting is something that will follow the artist until death.

I did a painting of Charlotte and her horse a while back; using some reference material I shot two summers ago while in Sweden. Not knowing a whole lot about horses I copied the images at hand for the painting and sent it off to the gallery. Within a short while the owner, in this case Jim Peterson from Mockingbird in Bend, Oregon called me and told me a few of the negative client comments. I screwed up; I had gotten the horse wrong, too wide in the front shoulders and too fat of a neck. What could I say; my knowledge of horse anatomy was not that of Bill Anton!

I brought the failed painting out for one of the critique sessions and Bryce Liston’s first comment was, “ Why don’t you call up Robert Duncan, he has horses?” Within a few days Bryce told Robert and I was scheduled to head on up to Midway, Utah and photograph some horses to get it right. If his horse weren’t right, then he had a neighbor with a half dozen that might fit the ticket. We were heading up to the cabin any ways this weekend and figured Saturday at Robert’s would work, after all he was only about 15 miles away from our cabin.

It’s nice working with another established artist, who knows his way around horses. Within a few minutes he had his neighbor’s horse in a halter and was holding it in the right position in the barn. I was clicking several frames a second to capture just the precise angle, another words gaining valuable information form a digital camera about horse anatomy. Maybe, just maybe I can re-paint the beast right from the images I took.

It just dawned on me that true artist do this all the time. The process of learning about a subject matter for a painting will probably never end. There will always be something new to paint that I have know idea about. Something that I have to learn about before I can capture it on canvas.

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


In the back of the studio I had an unresolved painting of the Grand Canyon, one of those year and a half unresolved pieces. So I broke it out and saw what I thought was wrong. I had a more downward view of the river, as if you were floating a hundred feet above the water. With that in mind I lowered the perspective in the cliffs and brought up the water level. Now I think with some rafts and people floating down the river it might make for a nice painting.

So here is what I did today, the water and foreground cliffs are still unresolved.

I would like to wish all the Americans a Happy Thanksgiving and try not to eat everything in sight; it makes the house pets rather nervous!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I worked more on the café piece today bringing up the contrast and colors; so maybe, just maybe it might be close to done. I’ll look at it after the holidays and see what else it could use with a fresh eye.

Last night we had our model session at Rick’s place and I settled in on a portrait. Its one of those pieces where I feel if I had another session I could really nail it down to a finished painting. But then again the whole reason for the model session is to get quick at painting the figure during the heat of the battle. Trying to get a finished piece done in that small amount of time.

Richard Boyer

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday, Nov.21

It’s going to be a short painting week with the holiday. So with that in mind I started a small 10x16. It will be another café painting for the Mockingbird Gallery show this January.

I just blocked it in and added a few figures. Tomorrow I can spend more time on it and bring up the colors better. The scene is in Gordes, of my favorite spots to paint!!!

Richard Boyer

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I worked some more on the boat painting since we have crit night. The piece could still use a bit more sunlight, but I think it’s best to wait on that and see it with a fresh eye tomorrow.

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Does anyone remember “The Borg” from “Star Trek the next generation”, with their line’ ”You will be assimilated…..resistance is futile!”

That’s what happened to an old painting lying around the studio today. It was assimilated, used as raw material to serve a greater cause! Several years ago I did this view over Stockholm’s Gamla Stan with some boats parked out in front. The painting didn’t really work for several reasons, but it did the rounds any ways to a few galleries and understandable never sold. Well this morning I took it outside and sanded the high spots of paint off and decided to start another boat painting using some of the similar underlying colors.

I’ve seen Richard Schmid do this to one of his older works and the results can sometimes be quite exciting. So with that in mind here is what I started today. There is more to do for tomorrow. I intend to play up the water quite a bit with the reflections of the boats and masts.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011


So how do you fit a six person corner sofa in the car?

Buy it from IKEA in boxes and stuff the car full. That’s what we did on Sunday; we needed a new sitting arrangement for the TV room, since the odd collection of old chairs were falling apart. So off we drove to the mega store in the south end of the valley and bought a nice large corner sofa collection. We asked the sales person how big it was for the car and she informed us that it all came in boxes. Another words you had to build the thing, including stretching the fabric over the padded frame with Velcro fasteners. Now that it is done it really looks nice in the room, but it was a major two day project to get it all assembled.

I worked today on the painting of Charlotte and the flowers, fine tuning things here and there. It’s to the point now where I’ll have to set it aside and see what it could use in a week from now.

The next small 12x16 I worked on was an older plein air piece I did up in Bend, Oregon. I didn’t really have time to finish it off on location like I would have wanted it. With an approaching storm it needed much more drama in the lighting. Now I think it reads better. The area is a popular climbing destination called Smith Rock.

Richard Boyer

Friday, November 11, 2011


We had the crit session last night and without the usual wine glass breaking member, it went rather smoothly. I showed this piece and got a few ideas on changes which I worked on today. So now I can call it done. That’s what I always say until it sits around in the studio for a week or two.

I also worked more on the wheat field in this piece. I will add some more blues to the grasses and whiten up her shirt so it will have a more harmonious feel.

Richard Boyer

Thursday, November 10, 2011


With the crit tonight I decided to get back on the figurative work again. I changed a few things around on her face; or as the Mafia members would put it, “I rearranged her face a little!” The reality was I wanted to capture Charlotte’s likeness more.

Next I blocked in more of the shirt and hands. It still is not the way I want it to look, but as I bring up the background and other parts I can always fine tune her features more and more. I went out yesterday and bought an extra easel to hold a giant mirror I had lying around in the basement. Now it is set up behind me, so I can just turn around and look at the painting in reverse. It’s amazing the mistakes you can then pick up; stupid little errors that you never notice as you work on it, but when looked at in the mirror they just pop out as glaring blunders.

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


“The Evolution of a painting”

Several years back I did this painting of Gordes, Provence; thinking it was good and sent it off to the gallery. Years past by and the painting slowly migrated upstairs to a less prominent location; the crowds were just not reacting to the work, mo real interest. So as the concern artist, you call up the gallery and inquire why? They usually fire back with the proverbial expression that the painting is fine, lovely work, but that it just hasn’t found the right owner yet. To the artist this means the kiss of death, you fucked up somewhere, you just didn’t give it the snap, the “Je ne sais pas quoi?” it needs to sell.

Well after a few years it arrives back in my studio and sits against the wall for another six months gathering dust. You soon realize that this stack of older paintings is getting larger and larger over the course of time. So I will usually pull it out and look it over with a different eye; an eye that is some what wiser over time and maybe just a little more experienced.

“What about adding a stormy sky?”

“How about changing the light so it is coming more from the side?”

“And you think maybe a road leading the viewer into the picture with some summer dried grasses in the foreground!”

You begin to realize that maybe it just needed more drama, more contrast, or more detail in few areas. Before you know it you are having fun re-painting the piece in a different mind set; creating a new painting form the ashes of the old.

Now I will see how it does?


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Just out of curiosity this is how our backyard looked on Saturday, the clouds rolled in and the snow was flying. In the end we had several inches on the ground. As I look out now it has all melted except for a few patches still remaining in the cold shadows. I’m hoping it all melts away since we still have leaves to rake up.

We had our model session over at Rick Grahams place last night and here is my result. Her name is Hillary. I have some photos of her so I might just finish it up a bit more. We actually got a nice picture of her just relaxing between sittings which I might do as a painting. She was leaning forward in conversation with another artist.

Richard Boyer

Friday, November 4, 2011


I was back on this painting this morning, something I blocked in a week ago but became distracted with other work. So today I worked on the head mainly and defined more of the body. She is walking through a wheat field with a basket of flowers and yes, I know it doesn’t make sense, but it looked good with the colors. So I am going to paint it any ways.

Mockingbird Gallery as well as Southam Gallery are having shows in January and they want a lot of work from me; then in February I have a show with the May Gallery in Scottsdale. Seems a little much and I am not sure just how I can produce enough for each show, but I said yes and now I have to live with it.

The pressure is on !!!

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Winter is coming fast; we had heavy frost on the window of the car this morning.

I worked on the café piece again, just trying to keep it simple and loose. The place is Gordes, Provence; which is like the Palm Springs to southern France, a place for the rich and famous. I once walked to close to a parked Maserati there and the vehicle talked back, telling me to step away from the car. I had infringed upon its space bubble!!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It’s the day after as they say !!!

Halloween was fun; I went around with Lina and three of her friends as they started their candy collection rounds at six in the evening. They kept going until 9:30 at night, basically until the pillow cases became too full to carry anymore. At around eight I came back home to let Karin have a go at following them. I grabbed a wine and threw myself down in the living room chair. That lasted about a minute until the doorbell rang with another dozen kids screaming “Trick or Treat”. There was a point when it slowed down, the time when most of the little kids had enough and were just too tired to go on. But then the second round started with older kids and the Hispanic crowds. Since we live in a neighborhood where the houses are older and closer together; and where I would have to admit the income level is higher; the selection of candy tends to be more, in some cases quite a bit more! So we are a popular area for the serious aficionados’ in candy collection.

At ten thirty the sugar buzz wore off and we were ready for sleep.

The weather was also nice and warm for the evening; the calm before the storm. This morning we woke up to rain mixed with snow. My studio was dark as could be, so I just worked a little on this smaller café piece. I’ll see if I can finish it off tomorrow.

Richard Boyer

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday, Oct 31.

It’s that time again. The time when all those small kids wearing plastic Spiderman masks come timidly to the door and stand there in bewilderment; or at least until a parent off in the distance yells out for them to say “Trick or Treat”.

We have the crosses and spider webs set up outside; the pail of candy ready as well as some hot cider with vodka for the adults who need some warming up. I know this for previous cold Halloween nights with the kids when they were small. They would keep warm running back and forth from house to house, the adults on the other hand were most of the time freezing with hands in their pockets waiting on the sidewalk. A stiff drink offered by a caring neighbor could make all the difference in the world.

In our neighborhood some have really caught the fever. Here you can see some people have gone the whole nine yards with the Volkswagen on the front lawn. It will be a must to visit them tonight.

Last night we had some friends over for dinner and pumpkin carving. Here is the result after gin and tonics.

And this was today’s project. It’s the last painting for Jim at Mockingbird Gallery, since I need to get them all in the mail today and off to the Friday show in Bend, Oregon. This small 16x12 is a scene from Wizard Falls and it really does have this dark greenish blue colored water. The river flows over an old lava bed and is a popular tourist spot. just north of Bend.

Richard Boyer