0821: One Thing Leads to Another

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Word from a friend got me back down to the creek again, just a couple of hundred yards upstream from the area described in last week’s post. This time it was about large exposed slabs filled with solid layers of small brachiopods. They are all over the place down there, with clusters stretching many feet at a time over wide areas. Needless to say, there are several more trips to come. But for now I have these two images to give you a sense of what’s there.

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Despite this find, as often happens, I was distracted by something else – a medium sized sandstone app. 14″x10″x8″. I had been hoping to find one lately. The creek is where they usually appear but I’ve been spending all my “exploring” time at the quarry (where no such thing can be found).

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The sandstones can be great finds, thanks to the density and diversity of fossils contained. Oftentimes, the surface gives a hint of what might lie within. In fact, the “header” that has opened this blog for the past three years is a cutaway of a coarse sandstone I had once found further downstream. The oversized image above is the result of my first slice of this rock.

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The remaining images all result from that first slice. Here we have a long, delicate piece of rugose coral. The following image is the reverse impression of that piece of coral.

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Many brachiopods and fragments everywhere.

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Even part of a trilobite eye.

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Two different views of a particularly well defined brachiopod.

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And this rostroconch – as large and well-delineated as anyone I’ve found. And all this from one hit on the chisel! Much more to come.

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One last note – My solo exhibit will remain up through September 7. I’ll be sitting the gallery this weekend (Aug. 23-24, noon ’til 6pm). Drop by and say hello if you plan to be in the area.

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As always, thanks for the visit.

0814: A Welcome Break

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I got a call yesterday from my friend and neighbor Harry. He’d just come from a stretch of creek leading to the falls across the road. That approach to the falls is a wide expanse of rock, filled with pockets, cracks, etc. He found lush algae blooms in those water-filled cracks and crevices and thought they could make for some fine images.

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Now that my show was up and running, it was long past time for me to address an out of control file system. And, after a day full of opening and deleting files, I needed a break from the computer. Perfect timing! I uncrossed my eyes, grabbed my camera and met up with Harry.

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It’s funny what catches your eyes though. Harry went down there to look for driftwood for his sculptures and he found algae. I went down to look for algae and found fossils!

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I’ve walked these rocks many times and, while I would spot a brachiopod every now and then, I never had such luck here. So I present an interesting variety of brachiopods – some delicate and elegant – some gnarly and weathered – all a result of that phone call. Thanks Harry!

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I’ll finish with a non-fossil image from yesterday as well – a rock surface that I just couldn’t pass up.

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Thank you to all who made it to my opening the other night. A good night made all the more special by sharing it with friends.

0807: Abstract/Concrete

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So let me take this opportunity today to tell you about the show of mine that opens on Saturday night – how it came about and share the full set of images for those unable to attend. A favorite piece of advice to artists that I read long ago, that had great impact on me, should help set the stage.

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The passage is from Leonardo da Vinci, who felt that artists could find creativity by staring at a crumbling wall and letting the mind wander:

When you look at a wall spotted with stains, or with a mixture of stones, if you have to devise some scene you may discover a resemblance to various landscapes… or, again, you may see battles and figures in action, or strange faces and costumes, or an endless variety of objects, which you could reduce to complete and well-drawn forms. These appear on such walls promiscuously, like the sound of bells in whose jangle you may find any name or word you choose to imagine.

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My “crumbling wall” in this case was the floor of a construction site. While on a trip this past Spring I happened across this site that had a large, recently poured concrete floor. Apparently, the drying and curing process of concrete can sometimes create strange designs on the surface.

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Quite different from the “deep time” fossils I tend to often focus on, these designs, residual effects of man’s handiwork, are very short lived and ephemeral. What a perfect counterpoint for me to explore, I thought.

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Aside from a few cracks and one lone partial footprint these randomly generated patterns have no points of reference.

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They exist (or, rather, existed) pure unto themselves.

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The gritty nature of the subject matter was a quality that I initially fought with thanks to older notions of what constituted a “perfect print.”

IMG_0598_01a_LR_10My solution was to embrace the grit as being a necessary part of the character of these designs.

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And the results are a series of lush, somewhat enigmatic prints that invite the personal interpretations of the viewer.

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To those who have already seen some of the pieces, some see nothing but color and shape (and that’s plenty, as far as I’m concerned). Others seem to have more personal reactions and see hints that conjure up a wide range of emotions, representations, and hidden meanings.

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The images are printed in an edition of 10, sized to 22.5″x30″ on a heavy watercolor paper.

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I am very proud of this work and happy that it steps further out of the realm of traditional photography – a personal evolution that I embrace.

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Please stop by the gallery if you are in the vicinity. And, as always, thank you for this visit.

0731: Save the Date

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The date I’m referring to is Saturday, August 9. I will be presenting a new body of work at the Beacon Artist Union that evening at the opening (6-9pm) and will remain until September 7. This new work, entitled “Abstract/Concrete,” has been a thoughtful exploration and a fine adventure for me. I look forward to sharing it. The image above is one the fourteen that will compose the show.

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IMG_3258_01_LR_12Try as I might it just seems impossible for me to keep my shooting area clear and clean. And so the fossils pile up everywhere. While there is a downside (like when you want to show a friend that perfect fossil you found last week!), there is an unexpected and delightful upside. The randomness of all these interesting items generate fresh new images.

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And as I browse over the piles I find fossils that I forgot I had.

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Left in piles to be dealt with later, I suppose.

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Last in this group is a piece I found in the Gilboa area a couple of years ago. It measures twelve inches across. It appears to be the base of a tree trunk showing the roots splaying outward!

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I couldn’t resist taking this close-up of a mixed media sculpture. The sculptor is friend and fellow bau member, Tom Holmes. And the sculpture and numerous other terrific pieces remain on display through this weekend (Aug.2-3) in Tom’s solo exhibition at the Beacon Artist Union, 506 Main Street in Beacon, NY. Come by and check out the gallery.

And then you can come back the following weekend for my opening on August 9. I’ll leave you with one more piece from next week’s opening.

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Thanks for the visit.

0724: More Color From the Quarry

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The other day, needing to take a break from printing, I visited the neighborhood quarry and once again climbed through the section I was least familiar with. I’ve always avoided that area because so much of the rock was too crumbly, I thought, to find anything of substance there. But then I’m not looking for great scientific discovery. I’m happy to settle for the “visually stimulating.”

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In that sense it doesn’t disappoint. The fragility has its own appeal. And the colors are amazing! Picture 1 at the top of this post shows a brachiopod in rock, all of which has been affected by iron oxidization. Picture 2 (above) shows the result of the slightest disturbance in the rock as it quite literally falls apart. Needless to say, with such fragility, all these images were taken on site.

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Thin layers filled with various small brachiopods cut through this section of the quarry. According to my friend, Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten from the New York State Museum’s Geology Division, these layers appear every six feet or so, suggesting a regularity of geologic activity over a certain period of time. (I hope that is an accurate interpretation of what I was told – most of this stuff is still a mystery to me, I must confess!).

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Whatever the cause I’m delighted to have the open-ended opportunity to explore this area.

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Even when drained of color the fossils here seem to have a unique character.

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And then, of course, there is abundant color – no fossils – just a riot of color. The picture above shows the current quarry floor. Scale top to bottom is approximately six feet.

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This final quarry image – looking like a lightening bolt from a dark and oppressive sky – seems to echo some of the new work I will be showing at my upcoming show in Beacon on August 9. For all my friends in NYC, get out of the city for a day, visit the many galleries in Beacon (including DIA), and join me for the opening that evening from 6-9 pm.

Beacon Artist Union, 506 Main Street, Beacon, NY

And with that I’ll end today’s post with another image from that upcoming show.

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 Thanks for the visit.

0717: Getting Close

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I’ve been working feverishly on my upcoming solo show “Abstract/Concrete” set to open in three weeks –  August 9th at the Beacon Artist Union. Today’s opening image is the latest in that effort. I have found a little time, though, to turn my attention elsewhere.

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My good friend and fellow photographer, Moshe Katvan, called the other day. He needed to find a few locations to shoot for an ad campaign he’s currently working on. Specifically, he needed “…lots of rocks in a wilderness setting.” He certainly knew the right person to call!

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So I took him to some of my favorite fossil locations. It worked out great for him. And for me too – it allowed me to poke around, while he worked, and find fresh subject matter for me to shoot. Here are two from that site – along Kaaterskill Creek.

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We also took a bit of time to drop by my favorite neighborhood quarry.

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We weren’t there more than a half hour.

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This selection, this remainder of images, is the result of that quick stop.

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Thanks for the visit.

0710: Coral Then and Now

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Whenever I hear or see the word “coral” I stop to take notice. Here in this small area of the Hudson Valley I find various types of fossil coral – all from the Devonian Period, roughly 385 million years ago. In fact, one of my finds, a rather large piece of honeycomb coral, now resides in the collection of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. So I am always on the alert for anything coral.

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Yesterday I ran across an article online that led to a wonderful break in the day’s routine (one that I highly recommend). The article told of Google Street taking viewers underwater to visit existing coral reefs (see article here). The article is loaded with great links, including Oceans, where the coral images reside.

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These are compelling, 360 degree views, technically brilliant and breathtaking in their scope and diversity. They are the product of the Catlin Seaview Survey, a group dedicated to recording and preserving the world’s coral reefs. While I dig up remnants of deep time coral I can only imagine the world in which they lived. These Survey images seem to confirm the amazing diversity that probably existed as much then as it does now.

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So today I’ve decided to resurrect some of my Devonian coral images and intersperse them with screen grabs I took from the Oceans site. More Catlin images and videos can be found here.

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Hudson Valley fossil 4

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I’ll finish today with a piece from my upcoming show at the Beacon Artist Union, set to open on August 9. More on that over the next few weeks as I continue printing.

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 As always, thanks for the visit.