010418: Bivalves and Barnacles

Several years ago I had the opportunity to photograph parts of the fossil collection belonging to the Paleontological Research Institute in Trumansburg, NY. Among the many and varied fossils I worked with were these barnacle laden bivalves. Since I have long forgotten the technical/historical information on these marine invertebrates I cannot give you any accurate information on them – other than to say that they are uniquely beautiful and intriguing. I hope you think so as well.

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Thanks for the visit. And best wishes to all of you at the start of this new year!

STAY WARM!!!

101217: Revisiting Trilobites

Since I began working on a series of trilobite inspired drawings I decided to revisit my photo library to put this grouping together. I don’t find them around here too often. And when I do they are seldom more that parts – sometimes the eyes, but mostly the hind end or pygidium. These first four images come from other, well established collections.

The first three are from the collection of the Paleontological Research Institute / Museum of the Earth. They are located in Trumansburg NY, just outside Ithaca.

And the fourth one (below) is from Chazy Reef on Isle La Motte in Vermont.

The remainder of images are taken from the surrounding area here in Catskill, all of which I have found while digging.

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These last two trilobite images have a slightly different story. I came across this box full of Moroccan trilobites at the wonderful outdoor market in Florence, Sant Ambrogio, a few years ago. It was the only time I ever purchased a fossil.

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I’ll leave you today with a seasonal note – Autumn is definitely upon us.

Thanks for the visit.

0305: Ice

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Ice, not snow, has been the bane of my existence this Winter. The thick ice that blanketed my driveway at the beginning of the season will finally leave when Spring gets here. So, like most all of my neighbors, the thought of 40 degree weather gives us hope.

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It was ironic, then, that another encounter with ice should leave me positively elated. Last weekend, friends of ours (Pat and John), who live right on the Hudson River, invited a small group over to experience the ice on the river and share the strange magic of a walk out onto the Hudson. The day was beautiful. No wind. The sun was bright. And two feet thick ice was the “ground.”

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Most of the ice was covered by 4-6 inches of snow. There were areas, though, where the wind cleared off the snow and other areas where irregularities created uneven surfaces that allowed the ice to bubble up, thus providing me with the best surprise of the day.

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Looking into these clear spots was like viewing a cats eye marble – fascinating patterns under the surface. Like the old adage about how every cloud has a silver lining, the thick ice of the Hudson held much beauty and surprise as well as some quiet, solemn moments in nature.

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Last week, I chose to explore outtakes from my visit to the Yale Peabody Museum. And I was surprised that so many fine images went unnoticed through the first round of selections. Since the snow has prevented me from producing fresh, new fossil images I decided to look through the library for other museum experiences. I’m happy to have rediscovered the work I did at the Museum of the Earth (the Paleontological Research Institution). So today I have some fresh outtakes from that experience.

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One last note about the Hudson River experience. I was so excited by my discoveries that I went back out there the following day. Gone was the tranquil warmth and quiet solitude – replaced by winds that blew so hard I could barely stand in place. Sometimes all of life is in the timing!

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!

A New Year Begins

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I don’t know about you, but I must admit to having a rather sluggish start to the new year. Much to look forward to and be excited about yet the winter “blahs” seem to have settled in. Perhaps it is the result of the polar vortex and all the misery that accompanied it. Or perhaps it’s just that seasonal cabin fever thing that can be remedied with a few warm sunny days.

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Some artist friends of mine had a back-and-forth on Facebook the other day all about that seasonal lack of energy and creativity. So apparently I’m not the only one. But I do always have this blog to post – and that keeps my hand in the process, whether I’m bursting with creativity or wondering if the creativity had permanently departed! And thanks to the wealth of images in my library that I never had time to explore I always have fresh images or, in the example above, fresh new doors to open and work to explore.

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So I present an odd mix – images that may or may not work well but certainly worthy of exploration. Here is a strange, hidden landscape – a heavy fog hides the Umbrian town of Spoleto from an aerie high in the hills to the north.

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In case of emergency Break Glass! This from a private park in Florence.

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Florence graffiti.

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Two back alley outdoor workplaces in Rome.

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Close up of Rome basilica.

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A new entry to my Street Shrine series. In this case graffiti that has the same effect as the larger, more lavish shrines found on many street corners.

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And now something I have wanted to revisit. This fossil series was made on my last visit to the Museum of the Earth and PRI, located in Trumansburg, New York.

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Thanks for visiting.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage artandfossils.wordpress.com

Winter’s Bounty

_MG_1923_01_LR_15For me, “Winter’s bounty” translates into a rich backlog of unprocessed images left over from a very busy Summer. And now, finally, with snow on the ground and outdoor temperatures uncomfortable, I can revisit images that I simply didn’t have the opportunity or time to process.

IMG_4828_01_LR_12One fine example is my last visit (back in August) to the Museum of the Earth and the collection of the Paleontological Research Institution. At the time I had managed to post nine or ten images from that trip – just the ones that jumped out at me. But, as you can see from today’s selection of images, there was so much more – and there are more still to come in future posts.

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IMG_5307_01_LR_12Should you ever find yourself in the Ithaca area drop by the Museum of the Earth. There is much to see – fine fossils, great exhibits, and events for the entire family.

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

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

Final Thoughts – 2012

IMG_8154_02_LR_10Back in time from holiday travels to wrap up this blog for 2012. Two recent snowfalls have covered much of the Northeast with a blanket of snow (a return to a more normal winter perhaps?). It is a reminder that indoor projects will be more likely for me into the near future – there’s no upside that I can imagine to hike for fossils in snow!

img_2938_01_lr_12Fourth of July Parade, Saugerties, NY

But, before I get to them, on this last day of the year I would like to offer you my very best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year! According to my WordPress “annual report” (a great little statistics feature), this past year viewers came from seventy one countries around the world. So, whatever the time zone, have a safe and happy holiday.

img_8107_01_lr_wpDevonian Drawer: The Fool

I took some time earlier to scroll through this past year’s postings. There were 46 in all with a total number of images approaching 600! For me, so many of them fall down the “memory hole” once I’m on to the next week’s subject that it’s important to step back and review. You know – see where you’ve been – see where you’re heading. A nod to yesterday and an embrace of tomorrow.

So, here are some images from the past year that jumped out at me for a second view – not the best, not the worst, just some that hit a personal chord that I’d like to share one more time.

img_8015_02_lr_wpDevonian Drawer: Buddha with Crinoids

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img_1064_01e_lr_12Gilboa Tree: Espermatopteris

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img_5543_01_lr_10Trilobite Pygidium, Ithaca, NY

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img_8967_01a_lr_10Brachiopod, Florence Museum of Natural History

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img_9439_01a_lr_wpDevonian Drawer: Brachiopod

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img_5250_01_lr_12Crinoid, Paleontological Research Institution

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img_0097_01_lr_wpRock, Kaaterskill Creek

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img_6372dark_01_lr_10Altamont Fairgrounds, Altamont, NY

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mg_0969_01_lr_12Eiffel Tower, Paris

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

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

October Surprise

Good news to report on a rainy Autumn day here in Catskill. I received notification the other day (my Facebook friends have already heard) that my image entitled “Devonian Drawer: Gastropod” was accepted as a finalist in an international competition, the Grand Prix de Découverte: International Fine-Art Photography Award, to be exhibited in Paris on November 16.

Seems like a real good reason to see Paris. So we are making plans to attend the event and spend ten days in a place I’ve never visited. And not just any place! I am excited at the possibilities. If any of you have or know of favorite views or interesting places (on or off the beaten path) that we should check out please let me know. My camera will be put to use!

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Closer to home, I have a suite of four drawings in a group show opening on Saturday (Oct. 6, 5-7 PM) at the GCCA Gallery in Catskill, NY. Entitled TYPO, this show has allowed me to break out an earlier series that emanated from my interest in early astronomy and the diagrammatic interpretations of the universe at that time. Please drop by if you are in the area.

Ptolemaic Variations

This series was inspired by the Almagest, a Second Century mathematical and astronomical treatise on the motion of the stars and planets written by Claudius Ptolemy, a Roman era scholar of Egypt. Its models were accepted for more than twelve hundred years as the definitive representation of the universe. His diagrams of planetary motion led me to create these variations drawn on turn of the century science catalog pages.

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Last weekend I found myself at an outdoor concert at the Altamont Fairgrounds, just outside Albany. My son was performing and it was the closest tour date he’s had to this area in a long time. So heavy outbreaks of rain and mud everywhere couldn’t dampen my spirits!

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With serious storm clouds moving in I noticed this wonderful building (garage, storage, ??) on the far side of the fairgrounds and saw a fine shooting opportunity. The geometry set against a forbidding sky did all the work for me. I just recorded it!

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I’ll end this week’s post with a few more images from the collection of the Paleontological Research Institution and the Museum of the Earth.

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

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

2012 Catskill Artists Tour

My humble little studio in late afternoon. It’s an old cabin that sits tucked in the woods off a quiet country road. Kaaterskill Creek, familiar to the Hudson River Painters as well as Rip Van Winkle, turns into stunning waterfalls just through the trees. I tend to refer to this area as “dying and going to heaven.”

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In one week, on September 8 and 9, I will be participating in the Fifth Annual Catskill Artist and Gallery Tour. A wonderful and diverse group of artists and galleries will be opening their studios from 11 AM until 5 PM on those two days. Any and all of you readers are most welcome to drop by, see some of my work as well as the many fossils I photograph. It’s a fine time of the year to visit, especially for all of my friends down in NYC. Take a day trip, breathe in some fresh country air and stretch out in a place adopted by artists almost two hundred years ago.

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This long tradition – this relationship between artist and the Catskill Area – continues to flower today. The list of artists participating this year is a testament to that. To many of us, the relationship with the local landscape, that experience of nature, seems to take over and direct our work. At the very least, the locale informs and affects out creative processes.

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All the images in this post, in fact, both landscape and fossil, were taken within just a few miles of my studio.

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From the tour website:

From monster teddy bears made out of barbed wire to space-age yurts with amazing views, from Hudson River villas to restored gallery buildings and renovated churches, our past tours have celebrated some of the most significant talent and amazing locations, private and public, in the region and the state.

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Visit the Tour Website for more information, including artists’ profiles and tour map. Maps will also be available at the Thomas Cole House and the GCCA Gallery, both in Catskill.

Also, visit on Facebook.

A Pre-Tour Preview Party will take place at the M Gallery, 350 Main Street in Catskill on Friday evening, Sept. 7.

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Next week I’ll be filling you in on some shows I’ll be in that same weekend. Also coming up, I’m getting busy working on fresh images from the Museum of the Earth. The good folks at PRI allowed me back to photograph from their amazing collection. Much to look forward to.

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

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