051718: Leaves Left

I am constantly brushing leaves aside whenever I’m rummaging through the many fossil laden rocks that surround my studio.

Here in the northeast, these leaves bring us beautiful colors during autumn. The rest of the time we generally look past them as they blend (decay) into the forest floor.

 This week, rather than ignore them, I decided instead to focus on a handful of last autumn’s leaves.

Even in decay, nature provides beauty!

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Thanks for the visit.

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030118: Two From Maine

The northernmost coast of Maine (oddly enough known as “Down East” Maine) is a rocky coast with an occasional sandy beach cropping up. Jasper Beach, home of a billion billion stones, is one of them. And it is great fun to visit.

One of my visits yielded two distinctly different series of images that I have for you today. The first seven images focus on the beach sands and the other seven on the rock walls that surround. As you will plainly see, each is a vastly different series – all within a “stone’s throw!”

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Part Two – The Rocky Walls.

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Found on the beach, this last little oddity is a piece of kelp that wrapped itself around a rock and dried into a mold of the rock. An odd but certainly interesting new object.

Thanks for the visit.

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.

0331: Natural History

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Today I have more from the Florence Museum of Natural History – mammals, entomology and paleontology in particular.

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Last Fall a friend gave me a couple of hornets’ nests. They had been hanging in her barn for years. She thought I might find them interesting (which I did) and passed them along to me to explore (which I am). These are my first attempts. (Thanks Dorian).

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This last image is a mixed media piece of mine entitled “Primordia.” I have been working on a drawing project for the past nine months or so and this will be the first time one will be displayed. It hangs at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum in the active members show opening this Saturday 4-6 pm.

Thanks as always for the visit.

The Last Snowflakes

The other day saw an unexpected snow shower here in Catskill that lasted only a few minutes – a violent start and a quick ending. Seems appropriate that this be the last snow of a relatively snowless winter. That shower has now been replaced by strong signs of Spring. The other day, while hiking through the woods, I stopped in my tracks as I struggled to identify a low sound off in the distance. Not an unfamiliar sound – just one I hadn’t heard for a while. Slowly but surely the sound increased until it seemed to surround me. I looked up and saw formations of geese flying north filling half of the sky! What a sight to behold.

Scientists can tell us all the whys and wherefores regarding this natural event. (Everything related to animal migration is truly fascinating to me.) But, regardless of how much or little one understands the process, one can’t help but be awed by this display of nature and the seasonal clock it keeps.

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.  ~Henry David Thoreau

This whole fossil “thing” that has, for some time now, captured my attention is somewhat similar. Geologists and paleontologists have done amazing work over the years explaining early life, its origins and progressions through seemingly incomprehensive time frames. I study the subject and often struggle to understand the scientific underpinnings. And when the “light” turns on and I get it – well, that’s a wonderful moment for me. But it’s nothing compared to the sensation I feel when I crack open a rock and expose remains of life forms that lived almost four hundred million years ago! The whole experience bypasses the brain and seems to go to my very core – much like being witness to Spring migration!

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.            Albert Einstein

Writers far more adept than me have waxed on about the beauty and wonder of Spring. If you can’t find time for such reading at least try to take a walk in the woods. Leave the phone behind and allow yourself a brief moment with nature. It never disappoints.

                              The poetry of the earth is never dead.                                      John Keats

The good weather has allowed me to spend more time photographing new found fossils. Today I’ll focus on some of the small ones – small but beautiful nonetheless. They are deserving of a moment in the spotlight, especially after being hidden for so long.

Thank you for the visit. More images at www.artmurphy.com

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