Thursday, March 31, 2011


The water bottle froze again last night, judging from the thickness of the ice layer, it must have been really cold. I could also tell from Nate, his teeth were chattering again in the darkness of the tent. We woke up in the shadows of cottonwood trees, with no warmth from the sun it was a quick breakfast again.

Today was the last day and we had about five miles to hike back out to the shuttle car. Our first ruin was “Perfect Kiva”, here the park service strengthened the roof with plywood and covered it with dirt again, so it resembles the way it use to look a thousand years ago. With a wooden ladder made out of tree branches, one is able to crawl down into the dark enclosure. Photographing in there might cause a bit of a bit of a challenge. I tried a few shots at a higher ISO which seemed to bring out the dark details a little better.

The group must have spent close to an hour there, before setting off on the final push to the top. It was a relatively flat walk for two miles until you reach the slickrock, there you start a steep climb on the left side scrambling up small cliffs. Within a quarter mile we had worked our way up over six hundred feet. I could tell this was taking its toll on Ruth Ann, who was still struggling with a heavy pack on a sore ankle. Paul thought it best if Dave and I pushed on ahead to the car; we had several miles still to go and a shuttling of the vehicles to get both of them at the take out of the canyon.

We jumped on that idea since it would save time for all. Besides we were always way up ahead and would wait for the rest of the group to catch up, this way we would have plenty of time to get the other car. We followed the stream bed up the steep walled canyon until we arrived at a frozen waterfall. Ruth Ann would never make it up this, we though and ran back with the news. The only way up for them was off to the left on a terraced sandstone climb past the ice. Dave and I decided to try the frozen way up, it just looked inviting!

Once up we just plowed forward on what felt like a never ending march back to Dave’s waiting car. We pilled in and went to pick up the other vehicle six miles to the north at the Rangers Station. Half an hour later we were back, walking down the path again to see if we could spot the rest of the group. There they were at the final section of hill climb, so we ran down and grabbed her pack for the remaining push to the car.

Nate has left some cold beers in the back of Dave’s SUV, which was a welcomed sight for all.

Paul, Ruth Ann and Elizabeth took off shortly afterwards; they had hotel reservations in Denver, seven hours away. The rest of us looked at each other and decided it wasn’t worth the long drive back to Salt Lake. Recapture lodge in Bluff, with a dinner at the restaurant across the street sounded much better.

Richard Boyer Coeur

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Our night at Sheiks Gulch was a lot warmer, maybe because the clouds rolled in sometime in the middle of the night, any ways I wasn’t about to complain. It was a joy to wake up to something other than freezing.

We had a short four mile hike planned for today. Two miles to the confluence of Bullet and Grand Gulch; from there we would start our ascent back up Bullet for two and a half miles to camp number three. At the junction of the two we decided to have lunch and look at a few ruins, there we also found running water and fill up all our water bottles just to be on the safe side.

With time on our side we pulled into our evening camp around four in the afternoon. Across the wash we had the most impressive ruin of “Jail House”. It got the name from the bars of twigs across the small window. It also has a killer second story, which is a challenge to get to. Nate and I decided to give it a try. I was up there last year. But Nate, who claims to be afraid of heights, wanted to give it a try at all costs. The only condition was that I should go first and turn around so he could see me once I made it through the hole.

In order to start one has to go around the corner, climb up some rocks to the next level of sandstone and work your way back along a ramp to the corner. There you will fine a small hole to squeeze through on your stomach around the corner. Once you contort yourself through the rabbit hole, you’ll find yourself on a very narrow exposed ledge that slants at an uncomfortable pitch to almost certain death. It would be nice if you could crawl, but with the over hanging cliff above one is reduced to shimming along on your stomach. The feeling of rolling over the edge is always with you. Once you make it to the rock wall of the ruin, there you have a chance to sit up and look through the holes they had in the wall for defense. This was their only chance to shoot arrows at the enemies when their society began to collapse.

Nate and I both made it back in on piece. That night dinner was “Italian” with three courses. The only thing missing was the red wine. The cold night air became to move in and we were all eager to crawl into some warm sleeping bags.

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


We woke up with frozen water bottles. Nate, Dave’s grad student was chattering from the cold. The sun was up but not shining in our camp, just a cold damp mist and as a result we had a very quick breakfast. It was a welcomed relief to hold a warm cup of instant coffee in your hands and we rapidly followed with the instant oatmeal. It’s not the most popular of breakfast choices, but due to the light weight in the backpacks, it’s the preferred method of filling your stomach in the cold morning air.

Once camp was rolled up and stuffed back into our packs, we were off working our way through the serpentine labyrinth of Grand Gulch. Our goal for that evening was Sheiks Gulch, a small side canyon seven miles down that offered a fresh flow of water from a spring. Until then it was more or less a dry hike.

Ruth Ann’s and Paul moved along at a steady pace, her ankle resembled that of a soccer ball, so the idea of climbing up vertical cliffs to look at ruins wasn’t regarded with enthusiasm. She stuck with the easily accessible ones close to the path. Dave and I, along with Elizabeth our freelance writer for “Back Packers Magazine” bolted on ahead to have time to explore potential alcoves higher up.

Almost every turn had something new, from split level structures to small granaries. As always we made sure to be careful around all ruins and to not disturb the pottery shards that were out in front. Unfortunately there has been a lot of damage from previous expeditions. The federal government had to step in and make it a federal offense to dig or mark anything up. It’s a little disappointing when you see “Billy Bob was here” next to some thousand year old Petroglyphs

I keep thinking some of these ruins would make fantastic paintings; but the problem would be selling them. Most people don’t know the area and wouldn’t be interested. I know since I’ve tried it before and still have the works to this day!

This was our snack break!

We made it into camp as the sun was still shinning, giving us plenty of time to set up and pump fresh clean water for dinner. Ruth Ann gave us at the beginning of the trip each a packet of a variety of dried meals, all of which could be reconstituted with hot water. So tonight was what she called “American Night” three different pots of rice, teriyaki chicken, vegetables and beef. And we are not talking about skimping on dessert either. We had more food then we knew what do with, but I wasn’t about to complain. I was starving. Somehow lugging around a sixty pound pack, up and down rocks can build up an appetite.

Richard Boyer

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday, March 28

Back again in Salt Lake City and its snowing!

We had a fun trip hiking around Grand Gulch. Tuesday night we arrived at one of the only motels in Hanksville and waited for the other members to arrive from Denver. Paul and Ruth Ann both professors at the University of Kansas had driven halfway the night before. On the way in Boulder, Colorado they picked up Elizabeth, a freelance writer for Back Packers Magazine. They finally showed up at the dusty motel as the sun was setting and we all went out to one of the only restaurants in town. After socializing through a few bottles of wine in the hotel room, it was fairly early to bed that night in preparation for our morning drive down to the Kane Ranger Station on Cedar Mesa.

The drive was longer than we thought and we didn’t arrive to our desolate parking lot until eleven, then we were forced to sit though a video presentation of the do’s and don’ts of hiking in the canyon. After the half hour car shuttle we were ready to start the ascent into Grand Gulch right there from the Kane Ranger Station. The Ranger warned us that the night time temperature at his trailer home out back was ten degrees. I cringed, maybe with all my cloths on in the sleeping bag I could keep warm through the night.

We started our walk down the gulch with snow still lingering in the shadows of the rock. Within an hour we heard a yelp and ran back; Ruth Ann, Paul’s wife had twisted her ankle and seemed to be in a lot of pain. Suddenly a concerned look spread over everyone’s face. Was this going to be the end of the trip? I was thinking to myself, maybe this might mean a warm hotel room for the night. It was short lived.

Ruth waited a bit and decided to go on. With the help of some walking poles she was able to keep the weight more on the other foot. We had about seven miles to hike that afternoon and she insisted. It wasn’t the best way to keep a sprained ankle from becoming the size of a basketball.

As Ruth took her time going down with Paul as her aid, some of us pushed on a bit to explore where some of the ruins might be. Both Dave Staryer and myself tend to be Anasazi junkies, always on the look out for where they might have built a secret cliff dwelling or marks upon the rock walls. We found several on the way down and took our time looking them over as we waited for the rest to catch up. Most of the dwellings were started back in the Basketmaker period from 200 to 700 A.D. and continued on into the later Pueblo period. Then with the unfortunate droughts that came and over population, a dramatic decline in the culture and social structure forced them to build more defensively higher and higher up on the cliff walls. Sometimes to the point where we all just stared high up the sandstone wall, scratching our heads as to how they got up there. The fear of height probably wasn’t in their vocabulary.

Our camp that night was near Todie’s Canyon. We used a small foul tasting water hole to fill up the cooking pots. Water is always a big concern down there and in another month with the day time temperatures climbing up into the 90’s there would be virtuously no water left.

Richard Boyer

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday, March 21

I worked a little more on this piece today, along with a bunch of other chores that had to be done. Tomorrow I leave for Grand Gulch in southern Utah. A backpacking trip through a desolate canyon filled with Anasazi cliff dwellings. I would have loved to take the painting gear with, but since everything has to be contained in a pack on your back, there is no way I want to haul all that extra weight around. Instead I’ll just take a sketch book along and my trusty camera. I ride with Strayer and one of his students. In Hanksville we will meet up with Paul, from the river trip, his wife and somebody from Backpackers Magazine. They were interested in our last river trip and decided to catch the adventures of Grand Gulch with us.

On Saturday we had Lina’s birthday party, eleven screaming girls tearing through the house. A true test of parental patients and will power over frayed nerves. The decibel level was to the point, where even the dog shied away. Karin and Lina decided on a tie die tee-shirt event in the basement. I felt it best to line the entire room in plastic, including the girls; but that’s where she drew the line and said newspaper was enough. After washing them this morning and drying them all, now I have the task of trying to identify who’s is who’s. I actually though ahead and took digital images of the wet shirts with their names underneath, so hopefully it should make it easier, provided I can read the names clearly. They were scribbled on the plastic bags that held each child’s wet shirt.

The painting still has a lot of work left on it. I did add some apples to the composition, not only will they add some color but should also help with the design.

Richard Boyer

Friday, March 18, 2011


Ron sold this piece, but it turns out the clients didn’t like the figures in it…… he sent it back to me to have them removed!

Personally I think it’s more empty now, so I added some light to the stones and threw a flowery plant in at the top. It helps a little, but still without the woman in there your eye does tend to race up the stairs. But, the client is always right and their wish is my command!

Well in a recession at least it is! I can’t really say no to a potential sale.

I also worked a little on the southern Utah piece here. From the crit session last night, they felt I needed a lighter left foreground. So I worked on the bank of the river and added some lighter values. Also more orange was put into the cliff at the back. I just need to get it down to Southam Gallery before Tuesday.

I’m leaving on a five day backpacking trip through Grand Gulch in southern Utah. We did a section of it last year and now are doing a stretch farther upstream that will take us out through Bullet Canyon.

Richard Boyer

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I’ve been slowly mucking about on a painting I started on Monday. Just the usual mistake after mistake, sometimes when you get to this level the painting can take just too long. Another words maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. I’ll spend a few more sessions on it to see if it can make it to the lofty heights of completion or the depths of the dumpster….

Well I found out that may painting here made it into the Oil Painters of America show in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.


From their web site it looks like a lot of artists made it in, should prove to be a large show. I might just drive up for the big event; even though I never win anything it might be nice to meet some of the other artists. And I’ve also heard the town and surrounding area is gorgeous.

Richard Boyer Coeur

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I didn’t get much done today. Instead I spent the morning at the hospital getting a MRI of my son’s cheek bone. Being a teenager he likes to push to the limit and this time he managed to fall of his bike while riding home. The result is a small fracture in one of those many facial bones, nothing major but still painful for him. The reality is that this isn’t something that can be put into a cast, although maybe if they did wrap his head up in plaster, he would get into so much trouble !!! He is going to just have to take it easy for several months while it heals.

I had just enough time to work a little on the background grass. Maybe I’ll get more done tomorrow provided we don’t have to take somebody else to be X-rayed.

Richard Boyer

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday, Feb. 14

So we finally got the new credit card, which of course means that all the accounts that normally were paid from the old card, now have to be informed about the new change. In most cases this actually runs quite smoothly, except for our email account, which is outsourced to India!

After listening to one of those voice activated systems for twenty minutes, my voice was beginning to show the irritation. This was apparent in the mechanized response of, “I’m sorry, did you mean (insert some totally arbitrary phrase, so far removed from what I was looking for.) Screaming back into the phone probably didn’t help much, after a dozen times of it asking me if I’d like to go back to the main menu, I started pressing the “0” button and saying operator. I was hoping for the outside chance that it would stop the merciless tape and sent me over to a live person.

Nothing happened and I was directed back again for the tenth time to the main menu, asking me if I’d like to hear it in Spanish.

Finally I got through to my New Delhi counterpart. In a very short voice I complained about their long winded voice system. My response was “I am very sorry, we are working on that!”

Obviously a lie!

Confusion set in when I tried to explain about updating our credit card number. He wanted the old number for verification……well the old number was cut up into a hundred small pieces and thrown out. He didn’t like that! That involved thinking out side the box to verify my existence.

In the end and forty five minutes later they had the number updated…… time I’ll just let it laps and then they could give me a call. Maybe I’ll keep them waiting and give the phone to the dog for twenty minutes.

I started a new piece today, just the block in phase to figure out the composition.

Richard Boyer

Thursday, March 10, 2011


This morning we found out that somebody was using our credit card number in California. Luckily the card people red flagged the suspicious activity and put a stop to it, no charges went through. They told us that the scumbag was trying to buy sixty dollars worth at a Walmart in southern California and then again more junk at a Rite-Aid store. We are just trying to figure out how they got the number. The fraud department said that we were protected and a new card was being issued as we spoke. I am so glad they were smart enough to catch the spending spree before it got started!

I’m just hoping now they can catch who ever did it, as I am sure its not just our card they are using but a collection of card numbers they have amassed.

May death come swiftly to them, and their eyes eaten out by flies!!!

Now that I am completely off track, let me get back to what I worked on today. Actually I was still wondering why the moron didn’t go for something big, I mean Walmart…come on, how cheap can you get ???


Since the crit is tonight, I decided to finish off the southern Utah piece, or at least enough so that they could critique it. I’m still wondering if maybe a figure or two crossing the stream would add to it? Some kids playing in the water could really bring in some interest.

Richard Boyer

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


The snow is still around; although the temperature is above 50 the cloud cover is keeping the sun away from doing its job. I worked on the southern Utah piece again. To me it looked like the back ground needed to be opened up a little, so I chopped away at the sandstone cliff to reveal a little sky color which I am also going to bring down into the water more. It’s still not done, but I’ll see if I can wrap this up tomorrow for the crit session.

Cross country skiing was fun up at Alta Ski Resort and surprisingly nobody got injured. My son included, who found it amusing to rocket down the hill and then shoot off into the powder by the side. The result was that the skies dived down into the snow and he would go flying head over heals into the white fluffy stuff. I heard the comment from several people nearby “My God, I hope he’s okay!!!” Only then would he surface form the rubble to try it all over again.

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


We woke up this morning with a good foot of heavy wet snow. Karin woke me up with the request to dig out the cars so the kids could get to school:: all of this naturally before my morning coffee. Half and hour later and with a tired back we had one of the cars free. The other we figured would melt itself from the grips of the snow during the course of the day. It was suppose to get up to fifty degrees in the afternoon and by tomorrow all traces of the snow should be gone. Such is the weather here in Utah.

This afternoon we are all heading up to Alta for the Utah Nordic Alliance end of season pizza party. But first, the rule is that everyone needs to ride the lift up with their cross country skis on and fly down the hill in some uncontrolled fashion. Most of the kids just point them in a straight line and rocket downhill, by the time they reach the bottom their speed is close to mach one and would warrant an ambulance close by. Its fun nevertheless and all the kids seem to really get into it!

Here’s a picture of our backyard snow.

Richard Boyer

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday, March 7.

Most of the renovation is now done. There is a little glare on the painting because of the paint, so I don’t know how much will come across and I am sure it will need some more work here and there. But at least now I feel the hose looks better and more believable.

Its also tax time for me, like most artists all the years receipts have been kept in a shoe box and now have to be sorted out before I can even start….some how there has got to be an easier way!!!

Richard Boyer


We loaded up the car this morning; a rather slow argues process of carrying out various bags and food supplies and placing them in the back of the car when they are finally ready. The whole time the dog is nervously watching, shacking with excitement, anticipation of a road trip to some exotic location where we will all clamor out and hike off on some adventure. She has been following us out to the car anytime we have a bag in hand, then turning around to follow back in the house again. This timely process must be driving the dog to the point of a nervous breakdown. The “not knowing” if she will be asked to follow with or escorted back into the house to wait until the occupants of the vehicle return.

The reality is you could explain to Sasha as much as you want that it “Will” be following with you, but the dog just stares back with a blank look of being clueless. Finally after a quick lunch the skis were loaded in the bubble on top and we took off for the cabin. The long nervous wait for the dog was over; it jumped into the back and collapsed into a ball for the hour journey up to the cabin,

It knew that she was to be included in the family gathering. She was now content.

When we arrived Karin and I gathered our skate skis and headed up to Northfork for a quick ten kilometer run, Sasha was in ecstasy running at full speed ahead of us. That was until we reached the top at Soapstone Basin, then it was back downhill and a different story for the dog. With skate skies one can move along at a very fast rate, especially when it is flat or with a slight decline. Add a little late afternoon ice into the equation and the dog is desperately trying to catch up to you as you effortlessly rocket back down.

Its now sprawled out on the floor in a hibernation type trance. Content, and dreaming of tomorrows expedition.

Richard Boyer

Friday, March 4, 2011


Nothing like being cut off at the knees. The crit session was ruthless last night and before I knew it the horse painting was filled with mistakes. The image I was using was distorted, so that made parts of the horse too big and also lacked detail in the shadow areas. I was bluntly informed that the figure was a little too large.

Anytime somebody tells you that something is too large in the painting; it means you basically have to re-paint the entire figure. I can’t really just cut off a quarter inch from the top of her head without lowering every other feature down as well. This is where the artist could really use the cut and paste feature of modern technology.

So today I washed out many parts of the anatomy of the horse and lowered parts of the girl. Another words the painting is under renovation for the next couple of days!


I did re-work a river painting earlier. The small 12x16 is from our last San Juan River trip and the bushes covered over the view of the water, so I removed them and gave some more details to the back ground.

Richard Boyer

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Well I got a call from the May Gallery yesterday; Joseph said he sold two smaller works. As he put it, a woman flew in on her private jet from back east to view the show…….for some I guess money is no object! Still I keep wondering why she would pick up just two small works, when the fuel cost for a private Learjet would have been twice that. But I can not complain, a sale is a sale and God knows it would be nice to get much more of those. Ron did mention that he also has a deposit on the larger 36x24 archway painting I did of the mountain village in Provence. So I am also hoping that will go through.

Here is today’s project, actually the last several days I should say. I’ll show it to the crit group tonight and let the fellow comrade’s blast away at it. I’m still unresolved about the dress; it looks too much the same as the last painting I did of her. In Sweden I took all these reference shots of Charlotte, but failed to realize that it’s redundant in the same cloths !

Next time I need to think ahead a little more and ask her to change outfits a few times.

Richard Boyer

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Southam Gallery wanted another 20x30 southern Utah type landscape again. So I found this image from the Moab area. The water is gently flowing over the top of the sandstone giving it a glowing orange color. It was shallow enough so you could just walk on top of it without getting very wet.

I’ll bring some of the yellows into the painting from the trees; it was spring time so the leaves are just starting to come out with that light yellow green color. That should all play off nicely against the orange and reddish sandstone cliffs and with the blue water in the shadow area it should be just what they are looking for!

We had our figure painting session last night with Chelsey. She does a lot of modeling for Jeremy Lipking and Morgan Weistling. And since she comes from Utah and visits her family quite often, she can model for us as well; which I must add we are all grateful for. I can see why they want her for a model in California, she’s good!!!

This afternoon its back up for track skiing at Mountain Dell; I’ve been a couch potato lately standing in front of an easel painting. It will be good to burn a little of the food and wine off from Scottsdale.

Richard Boyer