111716: Change is Coming

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Well that’s pretty obvious. Who knows how all this change will play out. In the meantime, though, the idea of change is taking on personal significance. After nearly thirteen years I am preparing to move my studio – giving up this wonderful little cabin in the woods for another forest setting. The foundation was just finished and building will begin on my new studio in the woods across from our home.

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It will take months to complete. When done, I’ll have much more space to work in – more than twice what I currently have. Needless to say, the slow migration of supplies and rocks to the new location will upend the current routine and orderliness (?) I currently operate under. So, for the next few months (and hopefully no more), my posts will be a bit more sporadic.

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This week’s images are the result of some of the changes.

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I’ve always maintained that one needn’t go far to find visually interesting opportunities.

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Sometimes a fresh look at out immediate surroundings can open paths to explore.

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In this case today I have focused on the excavated site of the new studio with its uncovered rocks and early stage foundation work.

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These last two are from the evening of the full moon. On top – a moody Autumn evening image along the Hudson. And below – the aforementioned full moon rising over the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

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I’l be away next week. So please have a happy and warm Thanksgiving holiday whatever you do.

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.

052616: The Geology of the Devonian

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Today’s fossil images will appear in a show that I am excited to announce. I was honored to be asked by Dr. Robert Titus (aka The Catskills Geologist) to join him and his wife, Johanna Titus, in an exhibition at the Erpf Gallery at the Catskill Center in Arkville, NY.

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From the press release:

The Geology of the Devonian: In the Heart of the Catskills will be on display at the Erpf Gallery June 4th through July 30, 2016. This exhibit will merge the scientific geological writings of Robert and Johanna Titus with the exquisite fossil photographs of Art Murphy. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, June 4, from 3-5 PM, at the Erpf Center in Arkville.”

01. Devonian Mix_a

“Come journey into the heart of the Catskills through an engaging merger of science and art. Discover the history of the Devonian period, some 400 million years ago, when tropical seas and primitive forests left the wonderful fossils we find today. Learn through the narrative of science, the beautiful photos, and fossil displays of this diverse exhibit why New York is known worldwide for its fine exposures of the Devonian strata.”

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“Robert and Johanna Titus, along with Art Murphy will be speaking about the exhibit at 3 pm on Saturday, June 4. After the talk please join us for a reception as we celebrate 25 years of the “Kaatskill Geologist” in Kaatskill Life Magazine.”

09. Brachiopod slab 2

“Dr. Robert Titus is a professor of Geology at Hartwick College in Oneonta NY, and his wife Johanna Titus is an instructor at SUNY Dutchess. They are columnists, writing popular geoscience columns for Kaatskill Life Magazine, the Woodstock Times, the Hudson Register Star, the Catskill Daily Mail, the Chatham Courier, and the Windham Journal. They are frequently invited to speak for Catskills and Hudson Valley civic groups. They are the authors of Hudson Valley in the Ice Age, a geological history and tour.”

03. Atrypa Brachiopod_a

“The Geology of the Devonian: In the Heart of the Catskills is on display June 4th through July 30, 2016. The opening reception will be held June 4, 2016 from 3-5 pm. For more information, contact the Catskill Center at 845-586-2611.”

10. Crinoid Columnals

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the fascinating “deep time” history of our region – a history that is seated in a time nearly four hundred million years ago when an inland sea covered much of this area.

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I have had the good fortune of hearing Dr. Titus speak on the subject and have read his books. He has a way of taking sometimes difficult scientific subject matter and making it understandable and accessible to the layman.

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So, let June 4th be a fine day to plan a drive out to Arkville, take in the beautiful scenery of New York State in Springtime, and learn more about this wonderful place we call home! I hope to see you there.

02. Spiriferid brachiopod 1_a

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And speaking of shows – I’ve been preparing for a show in mid July with my friends up at the Isle La Motte Preservation Trust on Lake Champlain (the Vermont side).

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No fossils this time. But rather some of my observations from the world of nature.

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These images of gnarled, weathered wood seem to represent my latest obsession!

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Between the wood, the lichen, and, of course, the fossils, I’m thinking I might need sherpas to help me with all that I carry out of the local forest (or perhaps another arm or two)!

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Thanks as always for the visit.

PS – Hey Linda Fitch I hope you like what you see!

0501: Back to the Quarry

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A few days of dry sunny weather, and an accommodating schedule, allowed me time for repeated visits to the neighboring quarry. A new owner has plans for it. But until then I have full access. And I hope to take full advantage of the remaining opportunity.

IMG_1111_01_LR_10The density of fossils in one section of the quarry is a sight to behold. No hunting or searching here. Seems like every rock is full of fossils. Brachiopods primarily, but also cephalopods, gastropods, bivalves, and others. All are Devonian invertebrates.

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I’ll keep this brief. Two carloads of rocks await. I hope you enjoy these. There will be more to come.

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Last week’s road trip to Virginia – down through the Blue Ridge – no fossils this trip – Here is a selection of images – an interesting mix for such a short trip.

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Pembroke, Va.

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Railroad Tunnel, Gainesville, Va.

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Cast Iron Toy, Lexington, Va.

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Safe, Lexington, Va.

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Advertisement, Lexington, Va.

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Blue Ridge Parkway, Roanoke, Va.

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Peeling Bark, Peaks of Otter, Va.

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Mountain Lake Lodge (sans lake), Pembroke, Va.

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Peaks of Otter Lake, Va.

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The trip began with Mom and a visit for Easter. This was taken at a nearby restaurant the day before. Yes, you can tell she has had experience dealing with me and my camera! We had a wonderful visit.

1212: Beacon This Weekend

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I’m happy to report that these two images from my Street Shrines series was accepted into a juried show opening this Saturday, December 14 (6-9 PM) at the BAU Gallery in Beacon, NY. It is my first opportunity to show work there and I look forward to the event. The title of the show is Saints & Sinners – seemed like a good fit!

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I dropped the work off last weekend – my first visit to Beacon in a long time – and was I ever impressed. A lot of fine galleries with terrific art. It is also their monthly Second Saturday gallery walk. So if you are in the area please drop by.

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Like the rest of the eastern states, we here in the Hudson Valley felt the shiver of early winter the past few days. The snow and ice provided opportunity, as it almost always does, for fresh shooting prospects. I’m not quite ready for the cold just yet so I ventured only as far as my various piles of fossils and props that surround my studio.

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These slabs are all full of fossils and, when reduced to simple shapes, now look more like some cemetery in a dream…while metal springs, like the bare tree branches, pick up a nice coat.

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I also took the opportunity to throw a few prints from my “rejects” stack out into the snow and rain – don’t know where this might lead – but it has possibility. The fossil, by the way, is a rugose coral – one that I have used a number of times.

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The cold weather is also helpful in keeping me in the studio – and that is allowing me to chip away at all of my recent images from Italy. Not much in common with these new ones. They just caught my eye:

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Stairs, Spoleto

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Street Stall Stitching, Florence

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Construction, Uffizi

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Orrery, Vatican Museum

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And one last image from a recent stroll through the town of Hudson – sculpture from industry!

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Thanks for visiting.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

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0808: As Summer Races Along

IMG_2128_01_LR_10Corn every night from Story’s and an occasional ice cream from Circle W are two of the many things that make this time of year so special around here.

IMG_1257_01_LR_10It has been a very busy time for me in the studio lately. And I am happy to say that it’s getting even busier. So I’ll keep this pretty brief.

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IMG_1372_01_LR_10Last chance to see the Small Town Parade Show at the Saugerties Performing Arts Factory  (SPAF). The show has been extended through this weekend, August 10-11. All of us involved are most grateful for the response we received from the community at large. It was a great project for the eleven of us. Drop by if you can. Several of us should be around. including Rivka Katvan, seen below at the opening with her work.

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My main focus at the moment is my (rapidly approaching) show in Vermont. We hang the show next Thursday on Isle La Motte, as lovely a site for a show as any I have ever found. On this island sits the Chazy Fossil Reef, formed 480 million years ago. It’s a fascinating place, much of which has been saved thanks to the hard work of Linda Fitch and her associates. Their efforts led to the establishment of the Isle La Motte Preservation Trust, the organization that looks after things up there.

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The show is a collection of images I made from our visit over a year ago. The gastropod above is one of twenty five pieces that will be exhibited. I’ll try to have more on the show before we leave on Wednesday. In the meantime, I have a stack of prints and frames to attend to!

The opening will be held on Sunday afternoon, August 18 from 1-5 PM at Fisk Farm.

Fisk Farm is located directly north of the Fisk Quarry Preserve

3849 West Shore Road
Isle La Motte, VT 05463

I’ve been working on a number of gastropod images, so wouldn’t I start seeing them wherever I go – the other day in Woodstock, the wet sidewalk seemed to be weighing in!

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On another note, a stroll in Hudson the other day yielded this pair of color pieces.

IMG_2162_01_LR_10I moved to the left for this next one.

IMG_2161_01_LR_12It was the “ow” that caught my attention. It was speaking to me. The stroll was catching up with me – a herniated disc introduced itself while on my recent artists’ residency at Platte Clove – and it seems to want to hang around for a while. Despite it, that time spent up there was magical. And two of the images from that stay will be part of a show at the end of the month at the Catskill Center in Arkville. I’ll have more on that upon my return from Vermont. Here are the two that were chosen:

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IMG_1796a_01_LR_10Back to the framing for me. Thanks for your time today.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

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0801- Rocks and Trees

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Whenever I need a break from the computer, one of my favorite places to “reboot and recharge” is Kaaterskill Creek. It passes within a stone’s throw from my studio (every day is beautiful around here!). The creek has been a subject for artists for the past two centuries from Thomas Cole to the present. No surprise, then, that the creek can revive and refresh body, mind and soul. Yesterday was a bonus day. The local heron was paying a visit at the same time.

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A couple of brief notes:

This coming Tuesday, August 6 at 6 PM, I will be speaking at the Saugerties Public Library. The talk will be about what else – Art and Fossils. I’ll try to make it loose and informal. So if you are in the area stop in. I’ll have samples of my work and some of the fossils I have collected.

Something else I must share – my good friends at the Museum of Natural History in Florence have just announced my September show (I still get goosebumps!) This is posted on their website:

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I’m just back from my stay atop Platte Clove. I want to thank the Catskill Center once again for their Artist-in-Residency Program (AIR). It was an honor to be allowed to spend time there and I am most grateful. I have a few early images to share today.

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The cabin sits directly above Plattekill Falls, a 60 ft. tall beauty whose sounds of rushing, crashing water are a constant (and not unwelcome) companion. I was particularly struck by the creative energy the cabin seemed to engender. Perhaps it was the residue left by the many, talented artists who preceded me. I found myself absorbed creatively in a much different way. I couldn’t sit still! Everything I looked at or even thought about triggered lists of visual possibilities. And I was open to the fresh and new. I wish I could figure out how to bottle that up!

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I went up there expecting to photograph rocks. But I was certainly open to whatever “spoke” to me. It’s always a mistake, it seems, to be in new and different surroundings and focus too narrowly. You miss all else that the situation is offering. This time, for whatever reason (and I am sure there are many lurking about), the trees decided to speak up.

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The other thing that really struck me was the moss (images to come). And it seems I carried thoughts about it back to my studio. Upon my return, the first thing I noticed, in my rockpiles, was fresh moss on fossils, many of which I had only recently cracked open. So, after 385 million years hidden away, these fossils now have yet another weathering event to experience.

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

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071813

_MG_2741_01 _LR_10Just a few brief notes today. The first two pics (above and below) were accepted into juried shows opening at the Woodstock Artists Assn. & Museum (WAAM) this Saturday, July 20, at 4 PM. A very nice selection of work was chosen, so that should make for two good shows.

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Good news regarding the Small Town Parade show at SPAF – The show has been extended through August 11. Weekend hours are 1-5 Saturdays and Sundays and weekdays are normal business hours.

We had a great opening night with a big crowd. Reviews have been glowing. More info at smalltownparade.com
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I will not be posting next week. Instead. I’ll be spending six nights (and days) in the cabin atop Platte Clove – all thanks to the Catskill Center and the Platte Clove Artists’ Residency program that they administer. I am excited at the possibilities – the Clove and surrounding area is stunningly beautiful. And I am most grateful to have been chosen for the program.

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The fossils in today’s images are, once again, from the surrounding area.

The Earth giveth – enjoy!

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

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0516 – Spring Has Arrived

_MG_2181_01_LR_10Strawberries are on the way. This strawberry field at Story Farms, here in Catskill, will soon be the site of an annual Spring ritual – little kids out with Mom and Dad picking their own – childhood memories that run through generations. Jim and Irene and their operation are local treasures.

Cindy and I took advantage of a beautiful Sunday afternoon and drove up the mountain, with a couple of destinations in mind. First was the Platte Clove cabin I will be spending time in this July, courtesy of the Platte Clove Artists in Residency Program. After a brief tour of the cabin we hiked down to the base of Plattekill Falls, one of twenty or so falls that run the length of the Clove.

_MG_2176_01_LR_12The cabin is situated just above to the right of the top of the falls. Six days and nights – yes, I am excited!

From there a short ride over to the Mountaintop Arboretum, with its sculpted gardens and a grand view of the Catskill peaks. But it was the small pond that caught our attention.

IMG_9733_01_LR_10Floating just under the surface, seemingly everywhere, looking like pearls suspended in diaphanous  sacs, were clusters of salamander eggs. And it continues to amaze me to watch nature do what it does. I marvel at it.

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IMG_0785_01_LR_10More images here from a sandstone I picked up recently, mostly brachiopods. As ordinary as they seem to be, it should be noted that brachiopods first appeared on the scene during the Cambrian Period (540 to 485 million years ago). Even more amazing is that a small number of brachiopod descendants still exist today.

IMG_0729_01_LR_12Various extinctions have occurred throughout time. I read recently that, “…for complex organisms, the average lifespan of a species is only about four million years – roughly about where we are now.” (that from A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson)

IMG_0761_01_LR_12I also read the other day in the New York Times a story that got way too little attention given its import. Entitled Heat-Trapping Gas Passes Milestone, Raising Fears, it states:

The level of the most important heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, has passed a long-feared milestone, scientists reported Friday, reaching a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years…

…The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.

IMG_0744_01_LR_10I always thought that collective self-awareness was a logical step forward in evolution. Now I sometimes find myself wondering if we aren’t just one of the many species this planet has seen many times before with a limited lifespan.

CONTACT CONGRESS

Global climate change is real. Let your representatives in D.C. know that effective measures can still have a positive effect.Click on the link below for phone numbers:

http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

_MG_2222_01_LR_12Thank you as always for visiting this site. More images at www.artmurphy.com

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0502 – Old Business and New

IMG_9756_01_LR_12 I was finally able to gather together links to two recent events I have referenced recently. The first is a link to the terrific profile that Mik Horowitz did for the Hudson Valley Almanac. Peering into Deep Time is the title of the article. The full version (PDF with original layout) can be found by clicking on Deep Time in the Nav Bar above. The web version can be found here.

Also, the recent radio interview I did with Ann Cooper is currently archived at WGXC Radio. The full 45 minute interview can be found HERE.

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More good news arrived late yesterday. I was informed that I was chosen for the Platte Clove Artists in Residency Program. This is a program sponsored by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. Since 1969, The Catskill Center  has worked to protect the natural resources of the Catskills and promote the economy for communities throughout the Catskill Park, Catskill Mountains and the entire Catskill Region.

Regarding the program, their website states:

The Catskill Center also offers the Platte Clove Artists-in-Residence program – the only one in the country situated in the historic area where the first American school of landscape was initiated in 1825 (The Hudson River School of Painting) by Thomas Cole, Asher Durand, Thomas Doughty, Frederic Edwin Church and others who searched the Frederic Church,Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain Region for untainted wilderness.The Platte Clove cabin sits where mountain and valley meet, providing a tranquil and rustic workplace and retreat for artists working in a variety of disciplines in the living landscape where American art began.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to post some images from a project I did a couple of years ago tying the artists of the Hudson River School to the early geologists who together hiked Platte Clove.

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The above images are from the Thomas Cole House and are part of a collection that belonged to Cole himself. While Platte Clove, as far as I know, has no fossils it does have rock formations and landscape that those early explorers captured in their drawings and paintings. More from my project (with respect to those painters):

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IMG_3802_01b Seven days in the cabin atop the Clove. I can’t wait. My great thanks to the Conservancy.

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One last note – The Hungry for Music silent auction is scheduled for 4 PM – 7PM on Saturday at Opus 40 in Saugerties. Come out to bid on this print of mine and work by 30 artists – all for a great cause.

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

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