0417: Easter Brachiopods

IMG_0406_01_LR_10With Easter a couple of days away I thought I’d start the week’s post with this creepy pic I took the other day. Actually the entire store that this came from was odd in so many ways – from christmas trees and ornaments to skulls for halloween. Not being your typical consumer, I continue to be amazed at what this consumer culture produces. But you should know that it was the building’s edifice that drew me there.

IMG_0429_01_LR_10You just can’t drive by a place like this without stopping and spending some time with a camera.

IMG_0426_01_LR_10_______________

IMG_0432_01_LR_10

This grouping of cephalopods seemed to find a home on a tree stump. The background textures seem worthy of further exploration. Same is true for the piece of coral below.

IMG_0446_01_LR_10

_______________

IMG_0318_01_LR_12

More brachiopods to view. They do seem to be everywhere around here.

IMG_0300_01_LR_10

These next three images come from one cluster of brachs. Plenty to explore!

IMG_0275_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_0278_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_0276_01_LR_12

_______________


IMG_0158_01_LR_10

For having such a small studio I’m amazed at what a packrat I have become! Fortunately this affliction is mostly confined to props and other photo worthy type objects.

IMG_0142_01_LR_10

These dried up gourds are compositional delights – the curves and shapes in general just beg for attention.

IMG_0144_01_LR_10

_______________

IMG_2813_LR_8

Snow on the night of April 15. What???

I’ll be hitting the road tomorrow for a couple of weeks – needing a photo adventure. So no post for the next two weeks. Hopefully some fresh new work to display – hopefully even some fossils if I stumble across them in my travels.

0410: Springing

IMG_0209_01_LR_10

What a lovely sight – the Catskills and a snow-free field. Signs of Spring abound. The peepers are peeping. The crocuses are crocussing…

_MG_4942_LR_10

…the honkers are honking (during a brief stopover on their journey north)…

IMG_0219_01_LR_10

…and the gobblers are strutting for the hens!

_______________

Once again, with the snow gone, I’ve been taking a fresh look at the newly uncovered fossil-laden rocks that surround my studio. What caught my eye this time were the large pieces of coarse sandstone. Often they are, layer upon layer, filled with wide varieties of marine invertebrates.

IMG_0245_01_LR_12

These images result from a few pieces that I cracked open with my hammer and chisel. A good rock can yield seemingly endless compositional possibilities. It takes persistence – but the results are worth the effort.

IMG_0253_01_LR_10

Here, two cephalopods crisscross, with a piece of coral breaking through one of them. Imagine this sea floor 385 million years ago – with this density of life forms.

*****

IMG_0250_01_LR_10

*****

IMG_0225_01_LR_10

*****

IMG_0234_01_LR_10

*****

IMG_0235_01_LR_12

_______________

A few days ago, I arrived early for the monthly meeting of the Beacon Artist Union. And, as I sat in the car in a steady rain, I realized I had a fine unexpected shooting opportunity…

IMG_2774_01_LR_10

This was exactly what it all looked like through the windshield.

IMG_2773_01_LR_12

No tricks. No filters. Just a steady rain.

_______________

During that meeting we dismantled the last show (Thanks to all my friends who visited). And we prepared for the upcoming show set to open this Saturday, April 12, 6-9 PM. The group show, entitled “Tasteless,” should be interesting! Who knows just where it will lead, but rest assured, this is a terrific group of artists and they are full of surprises. I’m glad to be a part of the group.

Here is one of my contributions, entitled “All American Dessert.”

IMG_9461_02_LR_10

Saturday will be busy starting with openings (upstairs and down) at WAAM in Woodstock. 4-6 PM. This work, from last week’s blog, was accepted into the juried Small Works show.

_MG_4907_01_LR_12

Then we go across the street to Oriole 9 for the opening of my Devonian Drawer show, 5-7 PM. If you are in the area please join us.

And from there we head down to Beacon for the Tasteless show, 6-9 PM, 506 Main Street. Also at bau, in Gallery 2, we will have a selection of works from our represented artists.

I hope to see you there.

0403: Finally Spring!

IMG_0062_01_LR_12Seems as if Winter lasted forever. It really didn’t, of course. But, here in the Catskill area, the last few years of mild winters had left many of us a bit spoiled. That’s the past. Right now sun and mild temperatures have changed attitudes dramatically!

IMG_0134_01_LR_12Like seeing friendly faces after a long separation, my fossil garden has resurfaced after a winter of snow cover, much to my own delight. And the cephalopods are beginning to look more like exclamation points greeting the good weather.

IMG_0136_10_LR_10_______________

IMG_2718_01_LR_12For me, the good weather has meant my first trip of the season to the neighboring quarry. That’s the eastern escarpment of the Catskills in the distance - always a great view from up here. Directly behind me (from where I took the picture) sits a thirty foot tall pile of rocks - most of which come from a bulldozed layer thick with fossils. Nothing earth-shattering about these fossils from any scientific standpoint – but shooting possibilities abound.

IMG_0181_01_LR_10Plenty of brachiopods…

IMG_0130_01_LR_10…of all shapes …

IMG_0129_01_LR_10…and sizes.

IMG_0190_01_LR_10You never know what will appear in the next overturned rock…

IMG_0138_01_LR_10…and that’s the fun of it all. That and the joy of being out and about on a beautiful day in beautiful surroundings!

_______________

IMG_0195_01_LR_10I also made a quick trip to a nearby road cut full of crinoid stems and ossicles (the little round things). I have shown crinoids many times in the past – they look like flowers on long stems. When the stems break down, what are left, essentially, are circular crosscuts of the stem. It’s a bit more involved than that but, for me, the random circles present endless creative opportunities.

That same trip led to this discovery:

_MG_4907_01_LR_12_______________

A couple of final notes – I’ll be gallery sitting at the bau Gallery this Sunday from noon until 6 PM. It’s the last day of my show (and our group show). So, if you are in the Beacon area please drop by.

Also, I just got back from hanging a show of my Devonian Drawer series at Oriole 9 in Woodstock. The opening is set for Saturday, April 12 at 5 PM. It will be up this weekend (hours are 8:30 ’til 4:30) for any of you who might be traveling to Woodstock for the Photo Now opening at the Center for Photography

I’ll leave you with Tuesday’s sunset from down the road. It was a special one.

IMG_0111_01_LR_10Thanks for the visit.

0327: Endings and Beginnings

The_Buddhe_Within

This image has always been a personal favorite of mine, perhaps because it is so personal in its wonderful and accurate description of the owner of that little box. It is entitled “The Buddha Within.” The box itself, a small matchstick box empty of matchsticks, received a second life – tasked to hold and protect a small sandstone Buddha once carried home from Tibet by its owner.

In fact, “The Buddha Within” is really a portrait of its owner – my dear friend, Loren Standlee, who I am very sad to say is no longer with us. He passed away last Thursday, March 20, on the first day of Spring. He was a fine man, witty and profound, kind and funny. His sense of goodness was true and genuine, quite a rarity in this life. He endured a long period of illness with understanding and acceptance, never once complaining, always acknowledging the greater picture of all that is. Though he only entered my life in recent years, the experience of knowing him humbled me and enriched my life.

IMG_8982_01b_LR_10

This fossil came from one of his early trips to Tibet. Of course, I had to photograph it.

*****

I should tell you also that Loren was a brilliant artist. His two dimensional work was collage, unlike any I’ve ever seen! Large pieces dense with overlapping imagery come together to produce hair-trigger epiphanies and (if one is lucky) even moments of transcendence. Yes, that’s saying a lot regarding the power of his work. It affected me that way and I am grateful for it.

Rather than continue with images of my own, on this occasion I would like to share with you some of Loren’s work:

Genetic Pool

*****

Screen Shot1

*****

Manasa

*****

Screen Shot2

*****

cut_2_2f_r1_c1

*****

More of Loren’s work can be found at:

http://www.lorenstandlee.com

*****

Goodbye Loren. I will miss you and I will miss your tales of adventure and wonder. Spring has arrived and I’m sorry you will miss it.

0320: Trilobites

img_5543_01_lr_10Two recent media items brought this post on. It’s seldom for one to ever hear the word “trilobite” – unless your work (or play) bumps up against some parallel lines of interest. I knew nothing about them until I began finding fossil parts of trilobites and photographing them. The lead image today is that of a trilobite pygidium (the hind of three parts) that Cindy found one summer while we were exploring near Ithaca.

MurphyArt3The New York Times ran a terrific story recently all about trilobites. Brief enough but a great introduction to a strange and fascinating world – this one over three hundred million years ago. The article, When Trilobites Ruled the World, is accompanied by a chart that shows some of the wide variations of this marine invertebrate species (some 20,000).

Devonian New York 3881In the second episode of Cosmos, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson takes time to explain the trilobite and its role in the evolution of life. He referred, in particular, to the eyes – trilobites were some of the earliest creatures to have developed eyes. It meant, among many other things, that they no longer needed to bump into their food to survive. Now they could see it! It may sound a bit silly to dwell on but that’s about as basic as it gets and pretty fascinating as well. The picture above shows one of the first trilobite eyes I ever found – cracked open a large piece of coarse sandstone and there it was. And I must admit it made my day.

img_5686_01_lr_10So, with trilobites on my mind, I picked through my libraries and came up with a variety of my trilobite images. The ones I found are all the above images – rough and fresh out of the ground. These remaining images are from several collections.

_______________

From the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

IMG_0156_01_LR_10*****

IMG_0157_01_LR_10_______________

From The Paleontological Research Institution

IMG_7618_01_LR_10

*****

IMG_4906_01_LR_10

*****

IMG_4889_01_LR_12

*****

IMG_7548_01_LR_10

*****

IMG_7633_01_LR_10*****

From The Paris Museum of Comparative Anatomy

IMG_7509_01_LR_10_______________

Last, I wanted to remind my friends that my work remains hanging at the BAU Gallery in Beacon, NY for two more weeks. We had a fine opening and the gallery looks great.  IMG_2676_01_LR_10

In Gallery One we have a members group show Tasty. Seen along with my flamingo and my ice cream cone are sculpture by Tom Holmes (left), Erica Leigh Caginalp (center) and Herman Roggeman (right).

IMG_2662_01_LR_10Sculptor David Link and I are also in Gallery 2 this month. As the two new members we were allowed this introduction. The shows run through April 8.

And today is the first day of Spring!!!

0313: Those Creative Juices

IMG_7712crop_01_LR_10

This time of year, as we slowly work our way out of winter’s hibernation, I often see a rise in those self-help articles – you know – “15 Tips for Creativity,” “Daily Habits of Artists That Unlock Creativity,” “Nine of the Best Ways to Boost Creativity,” etc. Perhaps they work for some. I will often scan them – one never knows where or when inspiration will rear its head. But over the years I’ve come up with some tricks of my own to help jumpstart the process.

IMG_7717_01_LR_10

The other day I dug into some architectural images from my library and attempted a fresh and different approach to the subject – in the above case two views of a walkway from a recent visit to Empire Plaza in Albany. Next was a visit to my New York images. This last one, below, had always seemed unresolved to me, seemed to lack something. But now, after a few severe changes, it holds some new found appeal, maybe a new direction to explore. But it got the wheels turning, however creakily!

Exhaustv3 _01_LR_10

These exercises must have had some effect because, after leaving my camera sitting dormant through the last few storms, I pulled it out yesterday. And on that very gray day I found this odd bit of color. Almost felt like Easter lilies – color brightening my day and my outlook!

_MG_4813crop_01_LR_10

_______________

I have a few other tricks that fire up those creative juices. And, no surprise, they mostly have to do with visual stimuli. Chief among them is my longstanding love affair with the work of the late great American artist Richard Diebenkorn. His Ocean Park series, much of which I was fortunate to see at the Corcoran a couple of years ago, is an endless source of inspiration.

Diebenkorn_1

*****

Diebenkorn_2

*****

Diebenkorn_3

*****

NASA always has spectacular images available for perusal. At the moment, in honor of the new “Cosmos” series currently airing, they have posted a stunning new gallery of space photos on Flickr. Here are a few:

slide_340767_3508164_free

*****

slide_340767_3508174_free

*****

slide_340767_3508189_free

*****

slide_340767_3508166_free

_______________

And then there is the issue of Google Earth and its vast visual possibilities. I’ll delve into that in a coming post. For now, though, here are two images I captured while exploring the Gobi Desert.

Gobi2a

*****

Screen Shot

Whether on Earth or in deep space, natural design abounds. Inspiration soon follows!

_______________

Finally, a quick roundup of my current shows. The opening at BAU Gallery in Beacon was a wonderful success. I’m very happy with my move to BAU – the members are terrific and the town is a positive hotbed for art. Show runs through April 6, Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 6 PM. I’ll be sitting the gallery this Saturday, March 15 and also on the closing day, April 6. Please drop by if you are in the area.

*****

The 38th Annual Photo Regional opened the other day at the Albany Center Gallery and will run thru April 18. Two of my pieces were accepted into this juried show. An Artists Reception is set for April 5, 5-9PM.

*****

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I just received these pics from the opening of my exhibition “Inspired Fossils” in  the Tuscan town of Fucecchio last weekend. That’s my friend, Dr. Stefano Dominici, giving (I’m sure) his always interesting take on the work. I’m told that the Mayor gave some opening remarks as well. Reviews are good and there is real interest in the topic. My deep thanks to my friends in Italy who have worked hard to move the show to this new venue, the fourteenth century Civic Museum. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

_______________

Thanks for the visit.

0306: Looking Forward to Spring

img_1252comp_02_LR_12Just got back from hanging my new show – opening this Saturday, March 8, 6 – 9 PM at the BAU Gallery, 506 Main Street in Beacon, NY. Entitled The Devonian Drawer, it’s the first time I am exhibiting these images at a much larger size – 24″x34″. And the effect is striking. So, if you have the opportunity, please stop by for the opening. Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays noon ’til 6 PM. In Gallery One we will be having a members’ group show – Tasty is its name. So, this being my first outing with my new gallery, I’ll be curious to see what is conjured up. We have a great group of artists at BAU so I’m excited at the possibilities.

img_9357_01_lr_12*****

IMG_7208_01_LR_12

*****

img_9480_01b2_lr_10*****

IMG_0536_MurphyArt12

*****

IMG_8107_01a_LR_WP

*****

IMG_8015_Drawer

_______________

IMG_3052_01 copy2LR

This piece was selected for the latest Small Works Show at WAAM – also opening this Saturday. Perhaps Elisabetta or Stefano might recognize the subjects?

_______________

IMG_1840_01_LR_10

And finally, some images I rediscovered from my stay last summer at the Platte Clove cabin – something to help awaken thoughts of warm weather and rebirth yet again.

IMG_1794_01a_LR_12

*****

IMG_1699_01_LR_10

*****

IMG_1849_01_LR_12Thanks for the visit.