0731: Save the Date


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.


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.


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


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









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!




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.


Thanks for the visit.

0724: More Color From the Quarry


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.”


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.


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!).


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






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




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.









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.


 Thanks for the visit.

0710: Coral Then and Now


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.


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.


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.


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.










Hudson Valley fossil 4








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.


 As always, thanks for the visit.

0313: Those Creative Juices


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.


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!



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.







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:









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.



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.



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.

0227: An Odd Mix

IMG_6934_01_LR_10I’ve been so busy printing for two upcoming shows that I have no new fossil images once again (I do hope the snow goes away soon). So, in the meantime, I have an odd mix for you.

On Saturday, March 8, as a new member of the Beacon Artist Union (BAU Gallery), I will be sharing Gallery 2 with the other new member, David Link. I will be showing pieces from my Devonian Drawer series, printed large for the first time. Gallery 1 will hold a group show of the members (there are ten of us) entitled “Tasty.” That’s 6-9 PM, Saturday, March 8.

IMG_7198_02_LR_12For all you Woodstockers (and WAAM members), Carl van Brunt has an opening of his work on the other end of Beacon’s Main Street at Theo Ganz Gallery, same date, same time. So make the drive down to Beacon and check out both shows.


IMG_4329_01_LR_12Also on March 8 – I am excited to say that my recent Florence exhibition has found a new home in the Tuscan town of Fucecchio. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Andrea Vanni Desideri, scientific director of the Fucecchio Civic Museum, the show will run from the 8th of March thru the 23rd. The Museum building dates back to the 13th and 14th Centuries and is filled with delights ranging from paintings by Renaissance masters, to local archaeological and paleontological treasures to a truly mind blowing ornithological collection from the 19th Century. It is an honor and privilege to have my work displayed there and I am most grateful for the opportunity.

Here are a few pics from our last visit when we begin to plan for the show:

IMG_4333_01_LR_12Scene in the Town Square

IMG_4327_01_LR_12Museum Courtyard

IMG_4325_01_LR_10View from the Museum Balcony


Murphy_Art_July4,SaugertiesJuly 4, Saugerties

One last note about shows – I’m happy to say that these two images have been selected into this year’s 36th Annual Photo Regional Exhibition at Albany Center Gallery, which takes place from March 11th to April 18th. (Awards and artists reception is April 4, 2014 5-9 p.m.)

Murphy_Art_Devonian_CrinoidsDevonian Crinoids


Rio_Grande_Zephyr_in_1983-615x345This picture is not one of mine, but rather ran with a story in today’s news about Amtrak setting up some writers’ residency program. It sounds like an interesting idea. But it was the image that captured me. You see, during much of my 20s, before I picked up a camera, I was a locomotive engineer with the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. Quite an amazing job, I must say as I reflect back on it. We ran on some of the most beautiful (and sometimes scary) track in the world, up and down the Rockies. I had the opportunity to run the 5771 many times! So it was a treat to be reminded of it this morning!


IMG_2576_LR_10I’ll finish with one more piece of nostalgia. Late last night, flipping through the channels right before going to bed, what should I run across but an episode of Rocky Jones, Space Ranger! This was perhaps my favorite and perhaps most impressionable show I ever watched as a very young boy. Look closely at the insignia pin on Rocky’s hat.

IMG_7074_01_LR_10Yeah, here’s mine! I bought it on ebay quite a few years ago. And I swear it was that show that fed my early desire to explore. The show ran before the first astronauts – and here were these characters traveling the universe…


…and doing it in style!

 IMG_2555_LR_10I still want to go into space.


Thanks for the visit.

The “New” in New Year


The start of the new year has me playing, albeit rather tentatively, with some different ideas  – the ones that winter reflection often raise. I’m not talking life-changing issues here (at least not this year). Rather, the various “course-corrections,” the creative explorations that keep one’s life and work fresh.


A few housekeeping notes first:


I am pleased to announce that I have accepted an invitation to become a member of the Beacon Artist Union in Beacon, New York. The art world knows about Beacon thanks to DIA:Beacon and a thriving local art scene. BAU has a great reputation, has been around for ten years, and has a roster of great artists! I look forward to this association (effective February 1).


One feature I particularly like about WordPress is the personal “annual report” they issue at year end – a wide range of stats about one’s blog. And while I don’t work hard (or at all) to explore ways to increase viewership I am humbled and most grateful for the interest readers have shown. Most notable to me are the two following stats – In 2013 this site had a total of 8900 visitors from 83 countries! Thank you very much.


Six months ago I had the opportunity to purchase an Epson 7900 printer from my dear friend Susan Goldson. Howard and Sue packed up for the warmer climate of Florida ( a wise move, I believe, given temperatures lately) and couldn’t take it with.


It’s been sitting in my studio since then without any opportunity for me to make use of it (Autumn was a busy time!). It’a a new year and time to get it up and running. So, Sue, I just want you to know that “Baby” is performing as well as ever. I pulled my first serious print the other day (23×46) and it looks great! Enjoy the warm weather.




Here’s something new I’m exploring – what I am calling a “remote portrait.” Using FaceTime, I can have the “sitter” position their mobile device to my request, strike the pose I want, and “snap” a screen grab! This first attempt (my son Shaun at the workbench – in Nashville) shows great promise, as well as the opportunity to call all my friends and bother them with requests to pose!


What’s left for today are three small groupings of new:


“Industrial Cathedral, Paris”


“PRI Pair”


New additions to my Devonian Drawer series:

IMG_9349_01_LR_12 IMG_5673_01_LR_12 IMG_9756_01a_LR_12


Traces of snow,pieces of fossils

IMG_5918_01_LR_12 IMG_5928_01_LR_10 IMG_5923_01_LR_10

Thanks for the visit!