101019: The Local Quarry

On Tuesday I visited my local quarry. I usually stay away during the Summer months since hornets often make their homes on the undersides of loose rock. So, with Autumn now in residence, it was time. And, thanks to recent digging by the owner, new areas of exploration have opened up.

What I found was that a transitional layer of rock became available, leaving loose rocks that exhibit an interesting mix of the different layers.

The image above is a fine example. The shaley, brittle rocks of the lower level, often laced with colorful staining, seldom have much in the way of fossils.The surrounding rocks are from the upper layer, where the fossil “motherlode” usually resides.

The opening image, with a well delineated brachiopod sitting next to a yellow streak of chemical oxidization, exemplifies that mixing.

So, I was struck by colors and fossils, sometimes separately and sometimes together. I even found a couple of images (at the end of today’s grouping) that display the unintended handiwork of nature!

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Thanks for the visit.

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100319: All Local (Almost)

Late afternoon light landed on a shelf full of rocks and fossils here in my studio the other day. Today’s opening image is the result – a brachiopod, a mollusk, and a trilobite. That trilobite is the only fossil in my possession that I did not find myself, or rather, one that I did not dig up myself. It is from Morocco via the Sant’ Ambrogio Market in Florence (where I purchased it for a few euro.)

So, with camera now in hand, I grabbed a few more local fossils and, with an appreciation for their unique shapes, tried to breathe some new life into these ancient relics.

Sometimes even broken pieces can be intriguing on their own.

And it continued from there. Following up on last week’s post, all the remaining images are brachiopods (whole or parts) showing again a few of the many different types (15,000) that existed over a period of a few hundred million years!

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Brachiopods seem to be the most abundant local fossil here in this patch of the upper Hudson River Valley. No wonder then that they continue to find their way into my recent drawings and paintings!

Thanks for the visit.

 

091919: Looking Down

Seems I’m always looking down when I’m out walking through the woods or climbing through the local quarry. Much to view down there – lichen, moss, fossils, rocks, etc. Kind of mundane sort of stuff!

But a closer look can often dispel that notion.

The images above triggered the next few – moss creeping over and around some Devonian fossils (a brachiopod followed by a couple of cephalopods).

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A visit to the quarry gave me further good reason to keep looking down.

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Along with finding all kinds of shapes and colors, I was able to find a very nice gastropod.

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I’ll end today with these recent attempts at exploring more of this whole “fossil” thing..

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Thanks for the visit.

091219: Respite

Last week I showed a few images where I mixed my local fossils in with rocks along the Maine shore. This week I decided to flip the script, so to speak, and mix a few Maine rocks in with fossils here in my studio.

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A few more images of seaweed (I have so many !)

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The remainder of today’s images – also continued from last week – are the results of a game/experiment/amusement(?) I engaged in while exploring the rocky shore.

With a bag full of dried scraps of acrylic paint, a shoreline full of wonder, my camera, and a sense of curiosity, I found respite from a maddening world.

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Thanks for the visit.

090519: Low Tide, Maine

This is what it must have looked like 400 or 500 million years ago, I think – maybe around the time when some little creatures began to check out the other side of the shoreline and moved onto land. The geology of the area hits at about that same time. Even seaweed goes back that far and perhaps longer.

No surprise then that the experience of being there should resonate with me. After all, most of the fossils I have dug up and photographed over the years are from roughly that same deep time period (give or take a hundred million yers or so!).

My camera has pretty much been sitting on the shelf since my last post 9 or 10 months ago. No surprise again that Maine would shake something loose for me. The coastal rocks are a joy to behold, far more colorful than one might suspect. Even though I walk this same stretch of shoreline every year I am always happily rewarded with new discoveries.

It’s for these reasons (and many others) that Cindy and I always look forward to our annual visit. And arriving home last week has us already talking about the next one!

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It might just be seaweed, but even seaweed has its own beauty.

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I brought a few of my favorite “home grown” fossils with me. I figured the fossils and rocks might be “chronological” cousins and might provide me a fresh approach to two long favorite subjects.

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My time away from the blog has not been idle. All of my studio time has been spent painting. The two had become too difficult for me to work simultaneously and required more singular devotion. During that time, as  my excess acrylic paints would dry in their respective bowls, I would find ways to peel that dried paint out and toss the leftovers into a pile. Random colors and fragments seemed to meld together to create something new.

So I brought some of them with me to Maine also, wondering how my own colors might blend with the rocks. Two examples here are part of a larger project , more of which might show up here again in the future.

And here are two of my latest paintings in progress. Both are roughly 5′- 5.5′

I hope this new post will beget more. If that happens I imagine that the visual focus might widen as my initial fascination with fossils has led me to so many other aspects of nature –  from deepest time to the present. If any of this is not “your cup of tea” please let me know and I will remove you from my mailing list. For the rest of you, thank you for your time. I hope to post again soon.

I’ll leave you with an image of an arriving storm a few weeks ago in Maine.                  (Even storms are gorgeous up there!)

Thanks for the visit.

092018: A Devonian Sampler

For today’s post I have gathered together a selection of images of fossils found in the vicinity of my studio in Catskill, NY. Those viewers familiar with the subject will, I hope, enjoy these images, some new, some reworked.

For those new to this blog, perhaps a brief explanation of the subject matter is in order. The Devonian is a period in geological time that ran from app. 420 to 359 million years ago. In my “neighborhood” one can find fossils from the Middle Devonian (app. 387 mya). And this  mix here is all marine invertebrates, mostly coral and brachiopods. One more note – at the time these animals existed this land resided well south of the equator. Thank the enormity of the time frame and land movement due to plate tectonics for that.

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Thanks for the visit.

091318: Nature!

A few years ago, our neighbors, Dorian and Jim, gave to me two rather large hornet nests. They had been hanging in their barn for years and thought they might be good subjects for me – a very kind gesture that I much appreciated.

Over time I photographed them enough (on the outside) and finally decided to take a look inside. These first five images were taken as I slowly broke the nests down to the honeycomb.

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Fascinating structures they are! The hexagonal pattern that defines the honeycomb is a pattern found throughout nature (See “Why Nature Prefers Hexagons.”). And it has been around for a long time.

The image above is not an old or even fossilized honeycomb. It is, rather, a favosite, more commonly known as honeycomb coral. This fossil coral is approximately 387 million years old (during the Devonian Period) and was something I dug up locally.

Brachiopod and Mollusc

“Geometry in nature” seems to be a good segue into more of nature’s designs – an image sampler of fossils, all locally founded and all as old as the honeycomb coral.

Brachiopod

Cephalopods and Brachiopods

Gastropod

Brachiopods

Tabulate Coral

I’m closing today with three mixed media drawings. I had trilobites on my mind so I created some generic versions  – each one app. 36″ x 48″.

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Thanks for the visit.