072816: Abbreviated

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July heat, way too much time spent watching the conventions, and a new project all have played a role in this being a shortened, somewhat abbreviated post this week.The new project, a drawing/mixed media effort, has me pretty excited over possibilities. The opening image, which I have titled “Galileo’s Dream,” builds upon my recent drawing efforts over the past few years. More to come as time goes by.

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I have a handful of new fossil images to fill things out today and start with two versions of a mollusk fossil I found in central New York last year.

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Coral

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Two brachiopod images.

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And last for today, a pair of crinoid stems from my favorite neighborhood quarry.

Posts might be spotty for the next month or so, what with vacation and drawing competing for my time with the fossil process (finding and photographing). I am most fortunate to have these as my daily options.

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!

0407: An Odd Mix

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This time last week I was hurrying to get the blog posted. It was 72 degrees out with a bright sun – easily the best day of this early Spring. The rest of the day was spent at my favorite quarry where I eventually filled the trunk of my car with fossil laden rocks.

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Fresh material to explore and photograph. Material enough, I was sure, to fill several of these posts. Most particularly today’s.

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But two days later, my plans changed when a Spring surprise arrived in the form of six inches of snow. And that pile of rocks sits waiting for me.

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So, in search of a  new topic for today, I decided to browse one of my photo libraries from a few years ago. Often, I can find many images that I had originally passed over (for whatever reason). And, with fresh eyes and a different perspective, they all becomes new material to explore.

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What you see today is this rather odd mix of images that seemed to beckon to me – no criteria other than that.

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This next set of images is from the Florence Museum of Natural History – this time the subject is bones.

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And, finally, a nice piece of news – The image above, which I had shared with you a few weeks ago, has been selected for “Far & Wide”, the 8th Annual Woodstock Regional Exhibition. Entitled “Natural History – Mushrooms,” it was taken at the Botanical Division of the aforementioned museum. Opening and reception is set for May 7 from 4-6 pm.

Thanks for the visit.

0319: All Packed Up

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Just finished packing up all my prints for my upcoming show at Marist College in Poughkeepsie NY – Opening on April 1st (Wednesday) 5-7 PM. For all my NYC friends it’s a fine opportunity to drive an hour north and take a midweek break. For anyone and everyone else interested please come out and join us. Marist has a wonderful large gallery that I will be sharing with painter Fran O’Neill. 

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For those who can’t make it I thought I’d share the images with you this week and possibly next week. Not much else to add, so please enjoy this mix of images.

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Thanks for the visit.

The “New” in New Year

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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.

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A few housekeeping notes first:

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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“Industrial Cathedral, Paris”

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“PRI Pair”

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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!

1205: The Florence Museum of Natural History

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Since my return from Italy I have displayed a few images taken at two sections of the Florence Museum of Natural History. I have now assembled a selection of images from the Botanical Museum, La Specola (The Zoology Section), as well as images from my show at the Geology and Paleontology Section. All can be found above in the Menu bar and will reside there indefinitely.

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These first five, all from La Specola, attempt to show some of the museum’s diversity. Popularly known for its collection of wax anatomical models (which are mind-blowing, without a doubt!), the zoological collections that fill out the bulk of the museum are equally stunning.

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These five images are from the Botanical Museum, parts of which date back to the 1500s. It is the largest in Italy and one of the finest in the world. It is home to several herbaria, as well as many other related collections including one of botanical wax models of flowers and plants. I can only assume that, during the heyday of “wax” artists, museums were big employers.

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And along with those two sections, of course, is a selection from the Geology and Paleontology Section, all of which appeared in my September show. The show was divided into two rooms, The downstairs room (Sala Strozzi, named after a member of the Strozzi Family, one of the great rivals to the Medicis) is shown above. The effective lighting and clever panel design allowed the photographs to float in a room walled by old cabinets full of fossils.

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Part Two of the exhibit, set in an upstairs room never before opened to the public, showed my New York fossil images set against wonderful old glass cases full of invertebrate fossils.

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All in all, it was a most memorable experience.

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I have given talks in a number of various locations but never in one as great as this!

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And here are the two people responsible for all these most memorable experiences – my dear friends Dr. Elisabetta Cioppi and Dr. Stefano Dominici. Their deep understanding of the connections between art and science and their points of confluence are what enabled this exhibit to occur. And their desire to share these ideas with the greater public made the show a complete success. Their hospitality was boundless – as boundless as our affection for them.

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Thanks for visiting.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage artandfossils.wordpress.com

1017: Back from Italy

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Just got home the night before last after spending four wonderful weeks in Italy. I’ll have much to show and discuss about the trip in coming weeks – especially all the events surrounding my show at the Museum of Natural History in Florence. For now, though, I chose to put together an eclectic mix from a partial first edit – ones that jumped out at me for whatever reason.

The image above was actually done here yesterday. I came back with some Pliocene fossils we found on a trip in the country with my friends Elisabetta and Stefano. Here one sits on a rusted old pot that I found in the same field.

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In no particular order, here are some images from the trip:

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Street Lamp, Florence

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Fish, La Specola, Florence

Most people equate La Specola with their anatomical waxworks but there is so much more. These are a couple from their Fish Collection.

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Near Spoleto

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Tuscany

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Two views of the same little castle town in Umbria – one from above, the other from below.

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Empty Studio, Florence

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Public Garage, Spoleto

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Siena

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St. Sebastian, Florence

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Graffiti, Rome

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Much more to come.

Thanks for visiting.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage artandfossils.wordpress.com

0912: Off to Florence

8968After more that two years of conversation and planning, Cindy and I leave tomorrow for my opening at the Florence Museum of Natural History (Friday, Sept. 20). There’s really little I can say about it right now. I’m deeply honored that they would display my work and allow me to speak while there about Art & Science. I also look forward to seeing once again my good friends, Dr. Elisabetta Cioppi and Dr. Stefano Dominici.

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I have just about enough time to pack. We will be away for a month and it is doubtful that I’ll be able to post while gone. I am sure I’ll have much to share upon my return. So I would like to devote this post to the show coming up. The images shown today partially comprise the Florence show. And the accompanying text was written for the show by Drs. Cioppi and Dominici.

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INSPIRED FOSSILS

by Art Murphy

 21 September – 13 October 2013

 To the eyes of a paleontologist a fossil may suggest many things: from an ancient environment, the evolution of living forms, deep time and so forth, right up to the research associated with the most advanced scientific technology. But for the non-expert, the same amazement and desire for information can come from photographs of fossils taken by an artist. The exhibition “Inspired Fossils”, in this manner, achieves the union of art and science. If we add that the images exhibited are related to invertebrate fossils – much less well known than the famous dinosaurs – we have all the best ingredients for an unusual and fascinating exhibition.

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Art Murphy is not a scientist, but an artist, a pioneer in a new type of photography. He knows how to capture the aesthetic quality of fossils, and we, with our eyes free from preconceptions, willingly allow ourselves to be enraptured in a kind of rebirth of fossils. Unusual forms and colours, shadows and textures come alive in his shots. From a meeting of the fantastic fossils of our collections are born the images exhibited, together with others which Art has selected from his evocative American series of New York’s Hudson Valley, where his passion for fossils was born.

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On this occasion, the Museum is pleased to open specially collections normally closed to the public. Apart from the Sala Strozzi on the ground floor, where the historic collection of the Marquis Carlo Strozzi is housed, on certain days it will also be possible to visit the rich holdings on the second floor of the building, those which Art has called the “Sistine Chapel of Paleontology”. These rooms, full of treasures “never seen”, will become the ideal receptacle for the exhibition, one where the history of science and art are mixed together in an unusual journey.

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Through art we have rediscovered how the mind travels new paths, allowing us to be fascinated by the miracle of nature and of life on our planet.

The show is organized with the support of the Italian Society of Paleontology (SPI) and of the National Association of Scientific Museums (ANMS).

       Elisabetta Cioppi and Stefano Dominici, exhibition curators

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Thanks for visiting.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage artandfossils.wordpress.com

0813: Heading to Vermont

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I’m posting early this week. Normally, my “blog” day usually falls on Thursdays. But this week I’ll be hanging a solo show in Isle La Motte, Vermont. And, since most of my readers will not be making their way up there (a stone’s throw from the Canadian border), I thought I’d display some images from the show today.

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It was over a year ago when Cindy and I decided to get away for a few days, the only thought being that we point the car in the direction of Vermont, a place neither one of us knew very well. Quick research led me to Chazy Reef, 480 million years old, and described as “… the world’s oldest reef in which corals first appear.” by Dr. Charlotte Mehrtens, Professor of Geology at the University of Vermont.

Today’s opening image is a dramatic view of Fisk Quarry, another part of this Ordovician wonderland.

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Art & Fossils

Sunday, August 18, 1-5 PM

Fisk Farm

3849 West Shore Road
Isle La Motte, VT 05463

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There are two important stories to Isle La Motte and the Chazy Reef. One is, obviously, the extraordinary natural history of the site. The other is the effort, over time, of the local citizens to save this valuable site. The Isle La Motte Preservation Trust (ILMPT) was founded in 1998,  their mission being the protection and preservation of the reef. Their efforts allow scientists and researchers from all over the world to come  and study this most unique site.

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Galaxies of gastropods

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I’ll have more about Chazy Reef next week upon our return.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage artandfossils.wordpress.com

Gilboa Meets WAAM

I am happy to report that the above image, entitled Gilboa Tree Fossil, has won an award at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum’s upcoming show “Earth, Air, Water.” The opening is Saturday, June 16, 4-6 PM and will run for a month.

The proper name of the fossil is Eospermatopteris and it comes from the floor of the world’s oldest forest in nearby Gilboa. I’ll have much more on the topic of Gilboa in the next few weeks. In the meantime, let me tell you a few things about WAAM.

Since its establishment in 1920 it has served as a hub for art and artists throughout the wider Woodstock area. In its earlier days membership included such luminaries as George Bellows, Rockwell Kent, Robert Henri, and many others. An article about Woodstock,  appearing in Life Magazine (August 22, 1938), referred to WAAM: “The ‘Local Louvre’ houses many a violent art controversy during its annual summer exhibits.” And referring to an aerial photo of the town, it went on: “In midsummer, little of Woodstock surmounts the trees except steeple of church which few artists attend. Nearly every barn is a studio.” I wonder how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

These days it’s a great place to show one’s work, and a great place to view interesting and stimulating work. While it might appear to sometimes vacillate from “venerable and creaky” to “interesting and thought provoking” (depending on one’s perspective at any given moment) it is always well worth a visit.

Summer is just about here and that means visits to other local gems. This one is the Indian Ladder Trail at Thatcher Park. The park is located on the Helderberg Escarpment, one of the best fossil-bearing formations in the entire country.

Cold ice cream. fresh local fruits and vegetables. And, thanks to my friend and neighbor, Bo, a garden that always puts on stunning displays. So, for a change, instead of fossils, I’ll end with images from that beautiful garden.

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

Subscribe to this blog at my homepage https://artandfossils.wordpress.com