0108: A New Year Begins


I needed to start this first post of the New Year (Happy New Year, by the way) with a blur of summer color – something to help me cope with the deep freeze that is currently plaguing much of the country. A small thing – especially given what others have to endure.


Three hundred seventy two years ago today, in 1642, the brilliant Italian scientist Galileo Galilei died in his home in Florence, Italy. He had been sentenced to house arrest in 1633 by the Catholic Church for the crime of “vehement suspicion of heresy.” His “heresy” was the scientific conclusion that the Earth revolves around the Sun and not vice versa. Thirteen years, the last thirteen years of his life, were spent under house arrest – all because his thoughts and ideas were different than others.


I have to wonder, as we start a new year, how much we have evolved.



I’m trying to get back into the swing of things after a couple of weeks away. And I started with a return to my Devonian Drawer. It seemed to be time to revisit this project after a long hiatus. More to come hopefully.




These seven images are all brachiopod fossils, or rather parts of brachiopods in some cases. Over 12,000 fossil species are recognized, thus the visual variety. And these are all roughly 385 million years old. I wonder what the Roman Inquisition would have done with that information.













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A couple of final notes – These two pieces, from my “Abstract/Concrete” series, have been chosen for an upcoming show at the GCCA Gallery in Catskill, NY. The show, entitled “EXTREME SURFACES,” is opening this Saturday. The reception will be held next Saturday January 17, 5pm – 7pm.

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The image below, entitled “The Navigator” has been chosen for the annual show at the Hudson Opera House in Hudson NY. The reception is scheduled for the same time as the GCCA show – 5pm – 7pm on the 17th as well. If you are in the area please drop by one or both venues.


Thanks for the visit. Here’s one last image from warmer days.


0605: A Wealth of Subjects


Cleaning around the studio recently allowed me to become reacquainted with many fossils I have found over time. And rummaging through those piles always turns up “fresh” material to focus on. The neighboring quarry alone provides me with seemingly endless supplies of fossils. And then there’s the rest of the world to aim a camera at.


So from time to time I feel a need to make a little progress in the backlog I have in many categories. That’s why today is something of a mixed bag. All these images are new, but come from different sources. These first three have been waiting on my deck for their turn in front of the camera.




I found this group of brachiopods as is – grouped together on the face of a rock that was disintegrating all on its own – from the quarry but in an area I hadn’t previously explored.


I brought a number of them back to the studio. You’ll probably see them again as time goes on. There are thousands of brachiopod “variations” and they are certainly a predominant fossil throughout the area. As they are plentiful, so too then are they my subject matter:














I took a break from looking down for fossils and looked up long enough to find these two buildings that caught my eye.

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And I leave you with a brief return to my Devonian Drawer series – a crinoid stem matched with a cutting from the yard.

Thanks for the visit.

0410: Springing


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


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


…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.


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.


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.










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…


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


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.”


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.


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_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:


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.

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.











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



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_1849_01_LR_12Thanks 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:

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Traces of snow,pieces of fossils

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Thanks for the visit!

041103 – Brief Notes

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The above work, titled Hunts Point, is one of four images of mine that will be in a show running from April 18 through May 26 at the Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson, New York. This is my first time showing with Carrie and I am delighted to have the opportunity. Urban is the name of the group photography show. Opening reception is set for Saturday, April 20 from 6 – 8 PM. All are welcome. Please join us.



Also, I sat for an interview yesterday with Ann Forbes Cooper for her radio program Between the Lines. Art and culture is the focus of her show and it will broadcast next Thursday, April 18 at 2 PM on WGXC (90.7 FM), community radio for Greene and Columbia Counties. OR go to their website and click on the LISTEN LIVE button. After it airs, I’ve been told that the interview will be archived. I should be able to provide a link for it next week. It was a pleasure sitting with Ann here in my studio, discussing my fossil work, what led me to it, and where might it take me from here.


In the midst of all that (and a lecture I’m giving tomorrow at Bard College’s Lifetime Learning Institute) I did find a way to get back to my Devonian Drawer series, this being the latest installment:



I’m looking forward to getting back outside. I hear fossils calling in the distance! In the meantime, as I ponder my upcoming show in Italy this Fall, I am constantly reminded of all things Italian (this time thanks to the local Thai restaurant and their interior accessorizing!):


Thank you as always for visiting this site. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage  https://artandfossils.wordpress.com


I’ve been going through boxes that have been stored for way too long – finding a few things that deserve to be saved but much more that should have been tossed long ago. Thousands of chromes and prints, old tearsheets, daytimers, etc. Anyway, the image above definitely deserved to be saved. A Polaroid transfer from a visit with my son to the pumpkin patch a long time ago. Most appropriate for this time of year. Glad I found it!


We’ve had a few very fine autumn days lately, the kind that just want to make you move. Usually for me that means trying to sort out the many piles of fossil rocks that surround my studio. And, invariably, I notice features that I hadn’t seen during earlier encounters. It’s almost like finding fresh new subject matter. That’s great for making more images; not so great for sorting and organizing! But, then, I can live happily with that.

So today I present a mix of local fossils used in different ways. These three are a continuation of my Devonian Drawer series – the first time I’ve worked on that series in months.


I’m always looking for interesting and/or odd textures to experiment with, backgrounds that can work with certain fossils. In this case, storage once again yielded more opportunities (Maybe recycling the stored junk into one’s consciousness is an inexpensive and effective way to endlessly explore!) This time my attention was grabbed by a funky old frame that I bought years ago as a prop. The torn canvas of a rather forgettable painting provided some worthwhile starting points.




And finally, a few pairs. Brachiopods from the hill behind the studio. Trilobites from our recent visit to Ithaca. And, following the first frost of the season, a pair of flowers from my neighbor Bo’s spectacular garden.


Thank you as always for visiting. More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage https://artandfossils.wordpress.com