All images © Tim Keller unless otherwise noted.


August 6, 2019    Lindsay Hand

Shortly after the 2014 centennial of the infamous Ludlow Massacre, where striking coal miners and their families were machine gunned by shock troops sent in by mine owner John D. Rockefeller, Rodney Wood's art gallery in nearby Trinidad, Colorado (18 miles from today's Ludlow ghost town), mounted a show called "Remembering the Ludlow Massacre." The story it depicted was mesmerizing, but the show itself was stunning and unforgettable for the power of its six-foot-tall oil paintiings by Colorado Springs artist Lindsay Hand. She seemed to channel the lost and scarred souls of Ludlow, not so much bringing them to life as bringing us, the viewers, into their moment of history and their purgatory. (See the images and story here at Kickstarter, or Lindsay's web portfolio here. Wikipedia's Ludlow Massacre history is here.)

Colorado artist Lindsay Hand's Mother Jones tattoo

Long story short, Christina and I began following Lindsay's work. Late last year we commissioned her to create a new artwork channeling my own family history--I've shared the story below--and we've been thrilled not only to have "The Valley, 1945" in our living room (above) but also to have Lindsay come visit us and her painting. Earlier we'd visited her and our work in progress in her home studio, an upstairs walk-up apartment in her hometown of Colorado Springs, in the downtown neighborhood around Colorado College. Lindsay and Christina are now planning an artists' sojourn to Christina's hometown of Santa Fe and its vibrant art market. Meantime, Lindsay has begun work on a second commission for us, the same size, with a working title of "Serafina, 1988", showing me and Christina in our own rich historical moment living in a rent house on a remote northeast New Mexico ranch. I've posted the original photo with comments here on my arts blog, and I look forward to being able to share that new Lindsay Hand artwork in a few months. Stay tuned.




August 3, 2019    Reproduction

"The Valley, 1945" oil on canvas by Lindsay Hand
"The Valley, 1945" oil on canvas by Lindsay Hand; reproduction by David Frank, Frank Images, Trinidad, Colorado

Near the end of her life, in New Mexico in the mid 1980s, Georgia O'Keeffe participated in the making of a film (by PBS as I recall) and a book, both of which reviewed her life's work. The film showed her telling the book's production staff that it's impossible to reproduce art, that the best you can strive for is facsimile or similarity. I remember she said not to worry about getting the colors exactly right--you couldn't do that anyway, she said--but instead to create a new image that looks the best it can in the book. It's something new, and something different.

I recalled this as I worked for a couple hours with my friend David Frank to make prints of Lindsay Hand's new "The Valley, 1945". Lindsay's own iPhone photo of the painting, the first photo above, taken in her home studio, is close to the painting itself, which you can see below hanging on our wall. We needed a bigger, higher resolution image for large prints, so we used David's camera, studio, software, printer, and expertise. The result, the second photo above, was affected by all of those variables. The result is lighter, more yellow and brown, less gray, despite the fact that we held each successive test print against the original painting. As O'Keeffe would say, it's a new image itself and the best it can be as a print.




August 1, 2019    The Valley, 1945

The Valley, 1945, oil on canvas, by Lindsay Hand, commissioned by Tim Keller and Christina Boyce

Four feet long, "The Valley, 1945" now highlights our living room, where we've set a chair across from it to sit and enjoy it. Lindsay Hand, the painter, commented to me a couple months ago that she likes the changing effects of light as a day progresses and light comes from different windows and different angles, giving a painting added life. I love that.

"The Valley, 1945" being photographed for prints, at Frank Images, Trinidad, Colorado

We wanted to make a few prints of the painting, for Lindsay and for my family spread around the country. I could certainly photograph the painting myself, but instead we chose David Frank at his business Frank Images in Trinidad, Colorado, because he's a pro at reproducing art for prints, and he knows better than I how to get the light even and neutral. I spent two hours with David, first photographing the painting (above), then processing the result in Photoshop and making a series of test prints until we settled on the most accurate reproduction we could get.

It's impossible to exactly reproduce the colors and paint and light from the painting. We tried. I like the painting better, but the print will do its job the best it can.




July 30, 2019    The Alchemy of Time

"The Valley, 1945", oil on canvas by Lindsay Hand, 2019, commissioned by Tim Keller & Christina Boyce

I'm excited to introduce "The Valley, 1945," a nine-month collaboration with Colorado Springs artist Lindsay Hand. The painting, oil on canvas 28"x46", is based on a tiny black-and-white snapshot of my grandparents, George and Eleanor Keller, with their kids, my dad Jack Keller and my aunt Georgia Keller Garey, at their rented home in the San Fernando Valley in the northwest corner of Los Angeles County, back when "The Valley" was overwhelmingly agricultural, mostly citrus fields.

The Keller Family, San Fernando Valley, 1944-45, George Herman Keller, Jack Keller, Eleanor Keller, Georgia Keller Garey

Almost always, the thumbnail images you see here on my website are shrunk to fit, with a link to a larger version. This photo of my family is full size--no larger version exists. Not coincidentally, this is the first image I ever posted to this website, in my first blog, December 27, 2008, my grandpa's birthday and the day this website was born.

My grandparents were simple country people, happiest when they could have a garden and some chickens. I lived with them two summers, when I was 16 and 17, when I worked on a big ranch where Grandpa worked. Their house on the ranch came with Grandpa's job. It was a profoundly formative time for me. This photo hearkens back to an earlier and similar time in their life.

Christina and I have been big fans of Lindsay Hand's art since her stunning "Remembering the Ludlow Massacre" show in Trinidad a few years ago. The city bought the entire show, its huge canvases and lifesize images, for its Southern Colorado Coal Mining Museum where they're now available for all to see. We've been following Lindsay's Instagram (@lindsay_a_hand), where we saw that she'd taken a commission to create a painting for a patron. I immediately thought of my little family snapshot. Contacting Lindsay, she loved the image and was excited to create a painting from it. I used her website to help guide us, selecting some of her previous paintings as models.

Beyond her painter's physical skills and talents, Lindsay immerses herself in a historical image, channeling an essense to produce a vibrantly living painting. There's alchemy in her work. Lindsay and I spent months discussing our project, mostly via emails and text messages, as we both did researches. She would send sketches. I interviewed Georgia for invaluable details. As the painting emerged, Christina and I visited Lindsay's home studio to see the project, first for the painting itself, later for the custom frame she made.

The Valley, 1945, oil on canvas by Lindsay Hand -background information

Finally the painting is hanging in our living room. With Lindsay, we've made five signed prints for family members and Lindsay herself. I've created an information card to accompany each print. I'm excited to honor my Grandpa and Grandma, my dad and my aunt Georgia, and the life I absorbed from them. Christina and I are excited for our new friendship with Lindsay, and for the living work of art we all together brought into this world.




May 30, 2019    Timeless Terraces, Paradise Edition

Christina Boyce begins swim across bay on Lago de Atitlan, La Casa del Mundo, Guatemala Volcan San Pedro from La Casa del Mundo, Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala
Volcan San Pedro from La Casa del Mundo, Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala Volcan San Pedro from La Casa del Mundo, Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala

Can you see why Christina and I are already planning a return to La Casa del Mundo on Lago de Atitlán next spring? Everything you see plus the chance to further use and improve our Spanish language skills, which atrophy when we stay away from Spanish-speaking countries too long.

Christina Boyce enjoys one of the many terraces above Lago de Atitlan at La Casa del Mundo, Guatemala

We spent five days at the lake this month, whiling away our time with swimming, reading, idle hammock time, walking up and down the steep stairs of the cliffside hotel, and enjoying food and drink in the informal but outstanding restaurant that, like the guest casitas, hangs out over the expansive lake view with its multiple volcanoes across the lake. I've enjoyed posting some of my photos and commentaries here and on my arts blog. Planting our summer garden has now fully grounded us at home, but we're dipping into our Spanish and enjoying daydreams of our spring return to Guatemala.




May 26, 2019    Ascension

Volcano view from Room 11, La Casa del Mundo, Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala

La Casa del Mundo is essentially a vertical hotel, built by hand over 22 years and counting, scaling its way up the steep cliff from Guatemala's Lago de Atitlán near Jaibalito, a couple miles north of the dock at Panajachel, where we caught a lancha--water taxi--the only way to get to the hotel. Each room (they're up to 19 now) is in its own separate casita built into the cliffside among beautifully landscaped tropical foliage teeming with chattering birds. The only way up from the lake is by hand-built stairs.

Christina Boyce ascends steep stairs at La Casa del Mundo on Lago de Atitlan. Steep handmade stairway ascends from La Casa del Mundo office to upper rooms.

Made of cliffside rocks embedded in cement, the irregular stairs range in height from six to fifteen inches. One day I counted them. From the dock there are 80 steps to the office and restaurant. From there up to our aerie in suite 11, there were 90 more steps. We felt all that climbing in our legs and our lungs. The elevation, at 5000 feet, wasn't a factor for us since our Raton home sits at 6800 feet, but those dozens of high steps gave us some great exercise. Arriving at our room, we had the view of two volcanoes seen in the top picture, taken upon arrival with my iPhone 7 from our porch beside the hammock.

Tim Keller enjoying hammock at Room 11, La Casa del Mundo, Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala

That's Volcán Tolimán on the left, Volcán San Pedro on the right, both standing 10,000 feet above sea level and 5000 feet above the lake, which itself is 1000 feet deep, filling the deep valley between several volcanoes. (Here's an extra of San Pedro from our room.) We learned of La Casa del Mundo when we stayed in Panajachel in 2004, then fell in love with it when we stayed several days in 2005. This was our first return after a 14-year absence. We stayed five days, racking up a bill that included our room plus daily coffees and teas, lunches with smoothies, nightly dinners with bottles of wine, and his and her massages at lakeside with glasses of wine. When we checked out, the bill for our entire stay, with all of our food and drink, plus a generous tip for all of the staff for the whole stay, totalled $200 per day. Paradise is a bargain. We won't wait another 14 years to return. We're making plans for next March. Can you see why?




May 21, 2019    Sweet Suite

Christina Boyce marvels at Suite 9 in Meson Panza Verde, Antigua, GuatemalaChristina Boyce self-portrait, Suite 9 garden, Meson Panza Verde, Antigua, Guatemala

For variety, we chose Suite 9 at Meson Panza Verde for our return to Antigua, progressing back toward the airport after our stay at Lago de Atitlán. Suite 7 is grand; Suite 9 is even better. Moments after our arrival, I photographed Christina marveling at our surroundings, including the fountain in the private garden outside our room. The next morning, Christina took a selfie in the garden, feeling sublime.

All international flights appear to leave Guatemala's only international airport between 5 and 7 a.m. We had to schedule a shuttle to pick us up at the hotel at 3 a.m. We set our alarms for 2:30. When our bags were all at our door at 2:50, I opened the door to begin carrying them to the front entrance. To our amazement, the hotel's night watchman was waiting outside our door, ready to carry our bags for us.

Meson Panza Verde was our first experience in a 5-star hotel. Being in Guatemala, its room rates are about the same as the Holiday Inn Express here in our hometown of Raton, New Mexico. We're already planning our return.




May 20, 2019    Meson Panza Verde

Christina Boyce swims at Meson Panza Verde in Antigua, Guatemala, May 2019

Christina and I are just back from a 12-day stay in Guatemala, my fourth since 1986 and Christina's third since 2005. It's been 14 years since the last time we were there. Now that we've got our Spanish rolling, or at least stumbling, off our tongues, we're tentatively planning to keep it going, returning to Guatemala next spring. We'll certainly be returning to Antigua's Meson Panza Verde, a fabulous hotel with 5-star restaurant and adjacent swimming pool.

Pool at Meson Panza Verde, Antigua, Guatemala

That's Christina swimming in the top photo, taken from our bathroom window in Suite 7, the rectangular window in the right photo just above, where we stayed for five days before trekking off to Lago de Atitlán. On our way back toward the country's only airport, we stayed again at Meson Panza Verde, this time in Suite 9, whose bathroom is behind the oval window at the end of the pool in the other two windows. (Click any image to see it enlarged.)

Here at left is the front of the upstairs Suite 7--that's the bathroom again on the right side, huge. To reduce the size and weight of my camera bag, I took my old Nikon D300 with four DX lenses, rather than my D4 or D5 with their big heavy FX lenses--and then I ended up using my iPhone almost entirely throughout the trip. The top photo here, of Christina's swim, was taken with the Nikon but the rest of these are from the iPhone 7 camera, a nearly perfect travel camera. In fact, I rarely saw traditional cameras on this trip: tourists and many photographers have simply replaced them with the far more portable and unobtrusive phone cameras. If I point a big Nikon at someone, they notice, which isn't always good when traveling, but no one pays much attention to a phone camera, they're so ubiquitous. People assume the phone camera is just taking tourist snapshots, but a good photographer can get great pro shots. I'll be posting a bunch of mine here and on my arts blog over the coming days.