072116: Returning Home

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Back from my trip to Vermont – the show looks good and will be up for a while. My studio, on the other hand, was a bit of a mess – something that always happens when preparing for a show.

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During the course of the cleanup I ran across a small pile of flat rocks I pulled from the creek a long time ago. These rocks were pancake-like slivers that sat on a low shelf like a stack of magazines.

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I kept them originally to use eventually as backdrops or as a ground upon which I could set other objects to shoot. But the more I examined them the more I saw them as worthy subjects on their own.

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So here is a small suite of images that resulted from my discovery. Perhaps I should do a bit more cleaning – never know what I might find!

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It was a pleasure to return to Isle La Motte this past weekend for the opening of my show. The opening went well. We got to see many friendly, familiar faces and spend relaxing time sitting on the shores of Lake Champlain.

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I took only a small number of pictures this trip. These first few are regular subjects for me. I’m always amazed when I see these trees that wrap around the the rock outcrops.

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Sunday Tea before the crowds arrived.

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I have to throw this image into today’s mix. On the way to Isle La Motte we sought out this wonderful little shack. Prompted by a PBS show about the country’s best pies (what can I say – it was a very late night when I found the show). Poorhouse Pies in Underhill, Vermont, was spotlighted. Self serve, 24 hours a day, in a small town on the road to nowhere in particular – on the honor system! What a wonderful thought and idea in a world so twisted and jaded. And the pie was great!!

Thanks for your visit today.

071416: Two Communities

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As promised, here are the remaining images from my show set to open on Sunday in Isle La Motte (on the shores of Lake Champlain). It’s always a favorite destination for Cindy and me, not only due to the natural beauty of the surroundings but also to the wonderful community that calls Isle La Motte home.DSC00157_01_LR_12

These days there is so much chatter about the fear and insecurity plaguing the country at large. One would think, if one follows news reports, that the land is in chaos, that decency is in short supply, and that daily life is under assault.

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It is true that there are many problems that currently befall us. Whatever injustice is suffered by any citizen, it is done as well to you and me. And there is much to rear up against and make our voices heard, hopefully at the ballot box in November.

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So, at a time when the negativity seems overwhelming, I’d like to tell you about two communities who reflect so much of what is good.

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In the case of Isle La Motte, it was a group of local citizens who fought a battle, lasting years, to save a part of their island. The Chazy Reef Formation is the oldest known fossil coral reef system on the planet – a place of worldwide scientific significance and local pride.

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When the reef was threatened by plans to reopen a long abandoned quarry, the local residents banded together to prevent it from happening.

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They succeeded but then took it further. Thanks to their efforts, the Isle La Motte Land Preservation Trust was established. Under the leadership of resident Linda Fitch, money was raised to purchase the two primary parcels of land that are now deemed National Natural Landmarks.

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Fund raising is an ever ongoing effort. The new barn and education center, general upkeep, etc. all fall on the shoulders of the local volunteers.

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The folks on Isle La Motte are proud of their natural wonders and cultural heritage and celebrate it together.

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Community and cultural heritage are the key factors in the joy and celebration I witnessed last Sunday in Gilboa, NY. Gilboa is home to the oldest known tree fossils in the world. In fact, in the past few years, scientists plotted out some of this earliest known forest floor.

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In another example of local residents keeping alive local culture and history, an open house was held to celebrate the opening of the History Center at the Gilboa Museum. A beautiful addition was built thanks to the donations made by Mr. Nicholas J. Juried ( seen above with Ms Kristen Wycoff, chairwoman). Son of immigrants, Mr. Juried grew up in Gilboa and returned to fund the museum’s addition in honor of his parents.

 

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A large crowd turned out for the event. My friends Bob and Johanna Titus were present as well (above). Bob took a crowd out for a fossill walk along Schoharie Creek following the formal presentations.

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Their new book, the 25th anniversary edition was also on display on Sunday. It gave additional meaning to this gathering  – The cover painting of the Gilboa Forest (as assumed by the scientists) was done by the aforementioned Kristen Wycoff!

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I’ll end with this image – a 5′-6′ length of tree bark from the Eospermotopteris tree, the one seen in Kristen’s painting. It was donated to the museum just last week by a Gilboa neighbor, just in time for the celebration..

Thanks for the visit.

070716: Getting Ready for Vermont

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I’m looking forward to my upcoming show at the Fisk Farm on Isle La Motte in Vermont. The opening is set for Sunday, July 17. In the past I have exhibited work up there that related to the island, specifically the fossils of Chazy Reef.

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This time I have chosen a selection of images that relate to the broader natural world and the patterns and designs that reside within. That includes many of the subjects that I have shown in this blog in the recent past.

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They cover the various images of wood, lichen,fossils, and rock affected by natural processes that have occupied much of my creative time recently.

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Many of these images will be familiar to regular viewers. The show will consist of twenty images, ten of which I share with you today. The remaining ten will appear in next week’s post.

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So, for those unable to be there, please enjoy this selection. And for those who will attend, please enjoy the presentation. They are all beautifully printed and framed in sizes 24″x30″ and 16″x20″, in limited editions of ten, and all available for sale.

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These remaining five images come from my “rock garden.”

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Thanks for the visit.

063016: Summer Begins

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I needed to get the blood circulating the other day so I walked down to the nearby creek. It was one of those Summer days when life seemed to slow down to a crawl – temperature and humidity pressing down like a vise – leaving me somewhat listless, hoping for a breeze of any sort to bring respite.

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I’ve come to learn that, on days like that, Kaaterskill Creek, even as it runs low this time of year, can always provide that needed respite. Always a breeze creekside.  Always eight to ten degrees cooler. And this day possessing one of the only patches of day lilies around (the rest all eaten down by the large deer population).

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I also managed to find this nice large (5-6′) slab of ripple rock. The breeze and cooler air served its purpose and so, feeling refreshed, I returned to the studio where I continued to sort through the thousands of fossil rocks piled outside. By now there are so many that I have forgotten about that it was either like seeing old friends again or discovering something anew. Either way. it’s a win – win situation!

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What you see above is a grouping of trilobite parts, all of which are parts of head sections (cephalon). While there are many areas where trilobites are plentiful, this is not one of them. So this is somewhat uncommon for me. The bulging piece in the lower left is that head section. The dotted parts on each side are the eyes. Those other dotted fragments  are eyes also (from other trilobites).

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The tail section, or pygidium, appears a bit more frequently in this area. These are three that I have recently found locally.

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The more commonly found fossil around here is the brachiopod. I have read that there are well over 10,000 different types, thus the variety of looks.

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I’ll close for today with these two images. My recent forays into the woods continue to result in finding beautiful sculptural pieces of wood. This one struck me as some kind of headless recumbent figure. And below, once again, another visitor to my shooting table – ancient looking creatures coming together over millennia!

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Thanks for the visit. Please have a safe and happy 4th!

062316: Process

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I ran across a wonderful quote on Facebook recently. Attributed to the painter Chuck Close, it speaks about the importance of process – setting out to work rather than waiting for inspiration to strike. It’s something I have long believed and, in fact, is very much at the heart of these weekly endeavors.

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So let me share this week’s effort with you along with the quote to which I have referred.

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“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work…

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…If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you…DSC00462_01_LR_12

…If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction…

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…Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive…

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…You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

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Thank you Chuck Close.

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While caught up in my “process” this past week I had an unexpected visitor.

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These objects have been laying around the studio for far too long, so it was about time I did something with them.

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Before I close for today I’d like to thank Bob and Johanna Titus for not only inviting me to join them in exhibition at the Catskill Center in Arkville but also for the very nice article they wrote about me in the local paper. The article is entitled “Art in the Fossils”. And the exhibit will remain up through the end of July.

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Thanks for the visit.

061616: Tools

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Lately, most of my time has been taken up printing and framing for an upcoming show. As a result, my camera has been idle more than usual. But the need to explore with my camera is always there for me. So I had to get in a little shooting time. Subject or concept didn’t really matter. That often gets worked out during the process.

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For whatever reason, an old favorite book came to mind – a book of prints and drawings by Jim Dine. While I have always loved so much about his work I particularly appreciate the subject matter he often chose – common objects – things that he used, things that he lived with, be it a bathrobe or his tools of the trade.

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And that led me to my rock toolbag and this simple little series. Nothing earth shattering, didn’t solve any problems with it, just a simple execise.

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I carry these with me on every foray into the woods, quarries, and creekbeds.

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And, of course, my camera is always with me as well.

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The following images are from the “digital vault” – some of my earlier fossil images –  several of which were uncovered for the first time in almost 400 million years thanks to the hammer and chisels seen above.

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Here’s something I recently dragged out of the woods – 3 views.

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Thanks for the visit.

060916: Testing Equipment

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That’s a partial crinoid ossicle sitting on a lichen covered rock that starts off this week’s selection of images. All the images today are the result of testing some new equipment. It used to be that all you needed to know was aperture and shutter speed on a mechanical device. Everything today calls for maneuvering digital menus – all of which vary from system to system. It’s not rocket science. It just takes a bit more time to become familiar. And so I immediately began shooting all that was handy.

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One of the first subjects I approached was my newest collection – gnarled old trunks and knotty boughs that I drag out of the woods.

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Seems the more I wander through nature the more I find objects that both fascinate and intrigue me.

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Of course, the piles of fossil laden rocks that surround my studio provided me with endless opportunities to test out my new camera as well as a new lens for one of my other cameras.

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Even without fossils, some rocks prove to be worthy subjects on their own.

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I even had a good bit of luck as a luna moth made its annual appearance amid my testing. I think I’m getting a handle on this new equipment!

Thanks for the visit.