092718: Paris Revisited

I recently donated a print of the above image to a charity auction to raise money for the Southern Poverty Law Center (a most worthy cause, to my mind). The image, a favorite of mine, was taken on an upper floor of the d’Orsay Museum in Paris.

Digging up that print got me thinking about my other Paris images and that led to a pleasant afternoon rediscovering that photo library. Here is some of what particularly caught my eye. Above is another from the d’Orsay.

Louvre Window Study

Sortie (Exit)

Windows, Gare d’Austerlitz

Grand Palais

Sainte-Eustache

Pantheon

Staircase, Museum of Comparative Anatomy

Sainte-Chapelle

Graffiti

Louvre Entrance

Montmartre

Book Stalls on the Seine

I’ll finish today with this picture postcard image of the Seine as it passes through the heart of the city.

I hope you enjoyed the visit.

1119: As Thanksgiving Approaches

 

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Like most sane people around the world, I was shocked and deeply saddened by the events in Paris last Friday. Shocked and saddened but not surprised. Having lived in Manhattan during the September 11th attack and its long aftermath, almost nothing seems to surprise me any more. Let me please tell you, though, that I am far less fearful of foreign terrorists than I am of our own homegrown variety. And by that, I’m not referring to those disaffected young men, usually white, who shoot up movie theaters and classrooms (thinking of them as “troubled mentally”and not as “terrorists.”). Nor am I even referring to the Christian zealot abortion clinic bombers or a whole host of malcontents that peppers the American landscape.

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No, those I fear most are the politicians and a sycophantic press who indulge in an orgy of fear mongering. They twist reality to fit their own self interests. And these days the odor of fear and the chickenhawks’ drumbeat for more war fills the air, or, rather, the airwaves.

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– Haven’t we been here before? “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” Wasn’t that Dick Cheney’s mantra (while he simultaneously made millions for Halliburton as hundreds of thousands died)?

-Now we have the likes of tough talking human embarrassment Chris Christie, who wants us to be fearful of three year old Syrian orphans. I’m sure he sees that as a winning position to garner the attention of the troglodyte base of his party to boost his standing in the polls.

-Now we have the leading Republican presidential candidate, the carnival barker Donald Trump, stating most eloquently and “presidentially”, that “I’ll bomb the shit out of all of them.” And the “Take Back Our Country” crowd growls with delight.

-Now we have the supposed “smart” Bush brother, Jeb!, along with the idiot incarnate, Ted Cruz, say Christian refugees would be welcome, but not the others. “Others” in this case refer to non christians, I suppose. So, to my Jewish friends, atheist friends and non-believers of all stripes, you have no place in the America of the 21st Century.

– Then, of course, we have the NRA, Faustian owners of the souls of much of Congress, who insist that people on the Terrorist Watch List are entitled to buy and own automatic weapons because they have constitutional rights too.

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Etc., etc., etc.

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Just remember the words of Sinclair Lewis who said, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Fascism lingers on our doorstep, waiting for that door to fly open. That’s what we should be worried about.

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When you sit down to dinner next Thursday, give thanks for all that you have and all that you are fortunate enough to share with family and loved ones. Think for a moment of the luck of your birth, in this great and fine country of ours. Then think of the sixty million human beings on our planet who are currently displaced. They only want the same that we do, what any human being wants. And then think of the proverb “There but for the grace of God go I.” You could just as easily have been one of them.

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Voltaire

Three years ago, this past week, Cindy and I were in Paris for a show I was in during Paris Photo Week. The image above was a quirky favorite of mine taken in Paris’s Pantheon. It shows the shadow of Voltaire quietly watching over his tomb. I think often of his exhortation to “tend one’s own garden.” Mine, fortunately, is filled with evidence of the history of life on this planet, of which we are a small part.

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Since I usually post on Thursdays I’ll be taking a break next week. So let me offer my best wishes to you and yours for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

0528: The Joys of Technology

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This morning I got up and drove a few miles down a peaceful country road to my studio as I do every day. But somewhere between I seemed to have taken a wrong turn and landed in Technology Hell! Don’t know how it happened. Maybe some retrograde planets. Maybe some form of karmic retribution. Or just maybe it simply happened to be my turn.

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We all have those days, hopefully not too often. But between the phone company, power company and other assorted interests, my “quiet country road” turned into a parking lot for loud, oversized heavy equipment. And all I wanted was to be somewhere else.

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Fortunately, my photo library was there for me and I was able to calm down by revisiting wonderful places I have seen. So here today is my calmative. From the top are three images from the Adirondacks, Umbria, and Spoleto. The result of my “deep exhale” follows.

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Tuscany

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Fisk Quarry, Isle La Motte, Vermont

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Paris

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Chaco Canyon. New Mexico

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Eastern Montana

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 Florence

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Florence

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Notre Dame, Paris

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Eiffel Tower, Paris

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Rome

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Ithaca, New York

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It worked. I am quiet and content now!

Hopefully, you enjoyed it as well.

Thanks for the visit.

 

0312: Almost Spring

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We hit fifty degrees yesterday – what a welcome relief! Spring is near. For whatever reason, my thoughts turned to the trees that are soon to bloom. So I put together a group of tree images for the post today. No fossils this time. Hopefully melting snow will uncover some and provide me with fresh new fossil pics. Until then please enjoy what Mother Nature surrounds us with. (More on Mother Nature at the end of this post).

Today’s opening image is from an olive grove near the town of Assisi.

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Siena, Italy

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Vermont

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Lake Champlain, NY

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Paris

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Boboli Gardens, Florence,Italy

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Platte Clove NY

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Leonardo da Vinci birthplace, Vinci, Italy

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Cairo NY

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Lexington VA

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Opus 40, Saugerties NY

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These four color images are possible late additions to my upcoming show at Marist College. The opening is set for April 1st, 5-7pm. More on that in days to come. For now I thought they would be a good counterpoint to all the black and white.

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This last one is part of an entirely different project. I had to include it since I just finished it and I think it holds much promise.

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A final note – regarding Mother Nature. I was knocked out by a video that a friend posted on Facebook yesterday, so much so that I needed to share it with you. It comes from the website Nature is Speaking. There are eight brief two minute videos beautifully shot with voiceovers – very powerful statements that need to be considered. Perhaps a donation might be in order.

Thanks for the visit.

0205: More From the Vaults

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Greetings from the snow covered upper Hudson Valley. The wind is howling as I write this today, giving life to the multitude of chimes I have hanging all around outside my studio. The cacophony of bright, crisp sounds provides a pleasant backdrop to today’s tasks.

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I have chosen once again to dive back into the vaults seeking overlooked images. And this time I settled into my images from Paris. First is a group from one of my favorite museums, the Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy. The gigantic ammonite seen above hung in a stairway landing – an odd place for it I thought, but striking nonetheless.

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Next an arachnid, I think, from a time unknown to me (Take me out of the world of marine invertebrates and I am lost!).

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And the last fossil for today – a pterodactyl.

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Aside from the wonderful collections housed in this museum, the building itself is worth a visit alone. Built for the Paris Exposition of 1900, it has wonderful detailing at every turn, such as these three examples of the “natural history” architectural embellishments.

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And then there are the stairwells.

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Earlier posts captured this museum much more fully. For anyone interested, here are those links:

https://artandfossils.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/back-from-paris/

https://artandfossils.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/the-paris-natural-history-museum/

https://artandfossils.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/the-gallery-of-paleontology-and-comparative-anatomy-paris/

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These last few are some random favorites, a somewhat odd mix. The first is a view of the Seine taken from the top of Notre Dame. Speaking of stairs, there are 387 steps to the bell tower and another 147 to the very top (where I shot this picture). And, as I stood there trying desperately to catch my breath, I looked across at the 300′ tall spire – only to see three workers climbing to the top!

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Louvre

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Gare d’Austerlitz

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An odd but favorite image of mine – Voltaire’s tomb in the basement of the Paris Pantheon. His shadow watches over.

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One last image from Paris for today. The wonderfully inscrutable work of one of my favorite artists, Cy Twombly, at the Pompidou.

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A couple of final notes. This Saturday, February 7, two of my images will hang in juried openings:

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“Madonna Erotica” will appear at the Woodstock Artist Association and Museum in the Small Works Show – 4-6pm.

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And this work from my Devonian Drawer series will appear at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance in Narrowsburg NY. That opening will run from 2-4pm. If you are in either area please stop by.

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Thanks for the visit.

1120: “We’ll Always Have Paris”

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A few nights ago I watched (for the umpteenth time) the film Casablanca – easily one of the best films of all time. Sometimes I just watch it with the sound off – just to appreciate all the more the lighting or the framing or the quick-cut editing and close-ups in the climactic scene, etc.,etc.

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This time the sound was on. And when I heard that memorable line “We’ll always have Paris” I suddenly realized that it was exactly two years to the day that Cindy and I were there for a show I was in. It was a memorable trip.

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Yesterday I found myself revisiting my Paris library. And, in doing so, I found a number of fossil images that I had originally overlooked – all taken at the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy.

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So today I have chosen to intermix these new fossil pieces with some of my favorite images of Paris. I hope you enjoy them.

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I’ll leave you now with one of my favorite props set against the shell of a horseshoe crab. Yeah – my studio shelves are full of strange things!

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Thanks for the visit.

0130: More Design

IMG_7549_01a_LR_10Museum of Comparative Anatomy, Paris

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I continue to pour through my libraries, finding new and interesting ways to group various images. One topic that I simply cannot ignore is the amazing opportunity provided by fossils and rocks – capturing the designs in Nature never cease to amaze me. I have put together this selection of images that, I think, is a good example of this thought.

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IMG_0303_01a_LR_10Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven

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IMG_2306_01c_LR_10Crinoid Ossicles, Chazy Reef, Vermont

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This next group of five images are plant fossils from Schoharie Creek, ranging from one to three feet across.

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These last four are representative of the places I find myself in – fossils or not, these are the wonders I often find myself amongst.

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Schoharie Creek, Gilboa, NY

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Kaaterskill Creek, Catskill, NY

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Trace Fossils, Catskill, NY

IMG_2772_01a_LR_10Ausable Chasm, NY

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Two personal comments on the way out.

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It was exactly fours years ago when I first exhibited my fossil images at the GCCA Gallery in Catskill. Unsure how the work would be regarded, I was ultimately gratified by the response. And I remain especially thankful to my good friend, Fawn Potash, for having faith and giving me that opportunity. Much has happened since that show!

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Much of the upside of being a working photographer, to me, was always the notion that the camera was a ticket (or a pass) that allowed one into a world of experiences that few other occupations could ever match. I have many fine memories of unique and special encounters.

seegerv3_lr_12A number of years ago I had the good fortune of spending a day photographing Pete Seeger at his hilltop home overlooking the Hudson River. I was shooting for Bill Moyers’ production company. Bill was there to conduct an extended interview. As we strolled through the neighboring woods Pete spoke about everything from the Spanish Civil War to the blacklists of the 1950s. But it was talk about the Vietnam protests and their respective individual roles that produced one of the most amazing conversations I have been privy to. While Pete was one of the major figures protesting, Mr. Moyers was President Johnson’s Press Secretary. What each side knew and did not know about the other at that time was fascinating.

Mr. Seeger was a true giant who very few could ever match. You could feel his presence. It was palpable. And it was truly special. Rest in Peace.

Thank you for visiting.

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!

Year’s End 2013

IMG_5800_01_LR_12Kaaterskill Creek passes within a hundred yards of my studio – a pleasure to view anytime of year. Yesterday it looked like this.

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We’ll be on the road this holiday season so this will be my final post for the year 2013. As I reflect on the past twelve months I must acknowledge the good fortune I have experienced, all thanks to the wonderful people I have been fortunate enough to meet. Many people to thank. The following images, personal favorites of mine from 2013, often reflect the kindness of others. I am most grateful for their interest and assistance.

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img_1796a_01_lr_10My thanks to everyone at the Catskill Center in Arkville. This image was created while participating this past summer in their Platte Clove Artist-In-Residency Program.

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img_7810_2b_lr_12A product of Paris – part of the Mohawk-Hudson Regional Show currently on display at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls.

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img_9475_01_lr_10Auctioned off for “Hungry For Music“, a group that raises money for kids who can’t afford musical instruments.

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img_0071_01_0076_lr_12My thanks to Susan Butts and Derek Briggs at the Yale Peabody Museum who opened their doors to my camera. The twin “portrait” of crinoids was the result of exploring their backroom storage shelves.

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ilm_2306_lr_10And this image of crinoid ossicles, looking like a pile of buttons, was a favorite at my show this past summer on Isle La Motte in Vermont. These were fossils found there at Chazy Reef, some of the oldest I have ever photographed. My great thanks to Linda, Donald, and their friends and associates for the fine reception they gave this work.

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img_1698_01_lr_12Tile floor at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.

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Uniforms_LR_12Thanks to my friends, both old and new, with whom I shared in a wonderful project that led to a successful and well-received show, Small Town Parade, held at SPAF in Saugerties. It was an honor to share the experience with them.

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img_0999_01_lr_12A surprise find on the road, just outside Cooperstown – Wood Bull Antiques.

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img_9427_01_lr_10I met a guy on the street in Hudson one day. This box sat in the back of his pickup truck. He saw my interest, snapping away from the curb, so he gave it to me. Thanks again whoever you were.

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img_9442_01_lr_12A friend gave me this old rusted bicycle seat. Seeing it there, sitting in my drawer, conjures up thoughts of the Hindu God Ganesha.

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img_9357_01_lr_12My favorite gastropod, sitting in my Devonian Drawer with metal mesh salvaged from a burned down factory.

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img_2735a_01_lr_12An empty studio in Florence. Even empty space looks great there!

None of these images from Italy wold exist were it not for my dear friends who invited me to exhibit with them at the Natural History Museum on Florence. Many Thanks!

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img_4802_02_lr_10Rome Building Lobby

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       img_4177_01_lr_10And, finally, a misty hilltop in Tuscany. To all my Italian friends “Buon Natale.” And to everyone else, Best Wishes for a safe and peaceful holiday time and Good Fortune for 2014.

And thanks, as always, for your kind support and interest.

Colorless Again

_MG_1857_01_LR_BW_12Before we dropped off into this latest deep freeze I managed to take some pictures of my favorite cephalopods in what is ordinarily a dry stream bed. The brief thaw exposed them and the melting snow had the creek running. Seems like I’m staying in that colorless world that I wrote about last week.

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But before I explore that I’d like to tell you about an opening set for Saturday the 26th (tomorrow) at the GCCA Gallery on Main Street in Catskill. Entitled Visitors, Visitations, Visions, the show will display the works of 21 Hudson Valley artists including the following three of my own.

IMG_5502_01b_LR_10The Lost Boys

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IMG_4068_01c_LR_10Enlightenment 1

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And in the upstairs gallery my good friend friend and wonderful painter Elin Menzies will have her work hanging as part of a two person show entitled Animal, Myth, Magic. the opening for both shows will be an early one – 2PM until 5 PM.

ElinElin Menzies, Crow and Crowboy Admire the Giant Poppy

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So here I am stuck in that colorless world again. What I have assembled this week is a mix of images from my library that I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to play with. As you will see, they cover a range of subjects. Their obvious commonality is the lack of color. Are details and patterns more recognizable? Is there a greater purity to gray scale – no distractions? I don’t really have a position on that old argument about color versus black and white. A strong image is about content, composition, contrasting tonality, and a host of other considerations with color only being one. In this digital age, the image may suggest its fate.

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IMG_7688_01_LR_12Eiffel Tower from the Trocodero

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_MG_1128_01_LR_12The Louvre

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_MG_0681_01BW_LR_10The Pantheon

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_MG_0640_01_LR_12Jardin des Plantes

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_MG_0115_01_LR_10Place des Vosges, Paris

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IMG_7348_01BW_LR_10Saint-Eustache Organ, Paris

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_MG_0639_01_LR_10Paris Alley

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IMG_8934_01a_LR_10Route 32, Saugerties, NY

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IMG_8224_02_LR_12Snowy Landscape

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IMG_5698_01BW_LR_10Jack & Jill

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

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