0911: This Time Last Year

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It was exactly one year ago Cindy and I were departing to Florence and my show at the Natural History Museum. I find Florence to be on my mind often these days. At any given moment I could imagine myself there. For now, though, we’re heading somewhere closer to home tomorrow – far up the Maine coast – for a brief trip now that my Beacon show has just come down. So there will be no blog posting next week – hopefully some fresh new work upon our return.

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But for now let me reflect briefly on the events of last September. We worked hard to get the Florence show up.

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It paid off in a multitude of ways. We had a great turnout. The work was viewed in two rooms of the museum, one of which had never previously been open to the public.

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We made new friends

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And strengthened our existing friendships

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All under the watchful gaze of a familiar face

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under a full moon (hanging over Santa Croce)

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with the Duomo always in view.

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The street shrines always capture my attention.

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Everywhere one looks

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there is beauty

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Always plenty to shoot.

Thanks for the visit.

0904: Back to the Creek

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A mid-afternoon spike in the temperature got me out of the studio and down to the creek where a cool breeze relaxed and revived me. As I sat there, luxuriating in Mother Nature’s nearest cooling station, I stared upstream, remembering what it looked like when I first moved here.

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The steps of rock that were (and are) streambed were visually unblemished. This picture was taken during Spring of 2011, months before Hurricane Irene.

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This is what followed (and remains today). Not better or worse, to my way of thinking, just the reality of ever changing landscape. In this case, loose rock was transported from upstream by the force of the water. And now, with the water level low, I could step across the loose rock and get a close look at what had been deposited. Surely I could find a fossil or two, I thought.

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Actually, many more than two…

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These come from rocks I found during the first few minutes of looking.

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And so I have more reason now to hang out at the creek. This is going to the office for me!

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I have a new series I’d like to share with you. Now that my “Abstract/Concrete” show is about to come down (this is its last weekend) it’s time to further explore this world of color and design.

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I’m calling this series The Swarm. It’s at a very early stage right now. Some images may seem redundant or duplicative. But for now I’m exploring the many different ways these subjects can frame.

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So, with that in mind, I hope you enjoy them.IMG_4432_01_LR_10

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I can’t resist good graffiti. Something to ponder until next week. Thanks for the visit.

0828: Random Notes

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A beautiful summer afternoon took us out for a drive that eventually led to Gilboa. It had been two years since I had been there. I knew that the Gilboa Museum would be closed (it was a Monday afternoon). But with country as beautiful as it is up through Greene and Schoharie Counties, we knew the ride would be fun no matter what.

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I also knew we could check out the fossils laying outside the museum. The opening image is a large tree base, Eospermatopteris, from the famous Gilboa Forest. Picture two, above, which I just posted recently, is part of a smaller base that I had found previously.

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These two samples of Devonian plant life got me thinking about how the recent “abstract/concrete” work I did can well relate to these type of fossil images.

IMG_4216_01_LR_12The markings, the linear compositions…they all really fit that previous project. I think I am beginning to see the greater pattern!

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Last from our Gilboa stop is this gnarly fossil, a rather incredible fossil – part of the tree - found by Ms Kristen Wychoff. An interesting story accompanies it (click here).

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Ms Wychoff’s discovery occurred alongside a nearby creek – “stream mitigation” is what it’s known as – where streams needed to be shored up following Hurricane Irene (which, by the way, occurred exactly three years ago) and large rocks were used as fill. These three images resulted from us making a similar stop on our way back.

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More markings – some from heavy equipment…

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…and some from the rocks themselves.

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Here are a few odds and ends, the first of which comes from my recent sandstone find – a healthy variety of fossils create this vignette.

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And here are two more from a quick run to the local quarry – both as visually primordial as they are in fact!

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While color has been playing an important role in many of my most recent images, I still have a thing for black and white. This latest version of a favorite fossil was, I am sure, motivated by my fascination with the artist Renee Magritte and his painting “The Castle of the Pyrenees.”

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My good friend and fellow photographer, Michael Nelson, dropped by bau Gallery last weekend and left this portrait in his wake. Thanks, Mike!

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Two more weekends left before the show comes down. Beacon should be a fine destination over this upcoming Labor Day weekend. Drop by if you can.

 

 

 

 

 

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.