101019: The Local Quarry

On Tuesday I visited my local quarry. I usually stay away during the Summer months since hornets often make their homes on the undersides of loose rock. So, with Autumn now in residence, it was time. And, thanks to recent digging by the owner, new areas of exploration have opened up.

What I found was that a transitional layer of rock became available, leaving loose rocks that exhibit an interesting mix of the different layers.

The image above is a fine example. The shaley, brittle rocks of the lower level, often laced with colorful staining, seldom have much in the way of fossils.The surrounding rocks are from the upper layer, where the fossil “motherlode” usually resides.

The opening image, with a well delineated brachiopod sitting next to a yellow streak of chemical oxidization, exemplifies that mixing.

So, I was struck by colors and fossils, sometimes separately and sometimes together. I even found a couple of images (at the end of today’s grouping) that display the unintended handiwork of nature!

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Thanks for the visit.

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052418: A Visit to the Quarry

I had an opportunity a few days ago to drop by my favorite local quarry. In earlier days I would dig there weekly. But lately my visits are few and far between. On these recent  returns I often feel like I’m visiting a fresh, new site.

The owner cuts into the side of the hill, taking ground fill and crushed rock away for his construction sites. Seldom are there any fossils in that part of the quarry. Instead, though, there are fine shooting opportunities as these first five images indicate. (By the way, the hill off in the distance is part of the eastern escarpment of the Catskills).

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Eventually, I made my way to the shelf that contains the fossils. There are always plenty to find. So today’s post is the result of that one trip – a nice selection of mostly ordinary 387 million year old marine invertebrate fossils, all dirty and broken but fascinating nonetheless.

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One surprise for me this trip were these gastropods I found – not particularly special but not often found at this site.

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Thanks for the visit.

102016: A Beautiful Autumn

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Aside from the continuing low water conditions, this Autumn has been beautiful in the Hudson Valley. Cindy and I spent several hours strolling around the grounds of Art Omi, a beautiful sculpture park and arts center located across the river in Ghent, NY. The rolling hills and the lagoon (pictured above) are the perfect settings for a wonderful array of fine sculptures.

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These are two pieces by the sculptor Folkert de Jong.

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And these two by the sculptor Philip Grausman.

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The next day had us visiting our friends, Manny and Marie, and a walk to the long defunct quarry on their property. Low water, once again – the lowest they could remember.

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I came back later to explore the quarry and its surroundings. The forest, for me at least, seems to provide endless visual  opportunities. You don’t know what they might be. But you can always find them!

These are a few from that walk.

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Back at the studio, downed leaves cover the many surrounding piles of fossil rocks. A few peeked through.

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Enjoy the remaining days of Autumn.

0514: Backgrounds

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I’m always looking for different backgrounds to match up with the fossils I find. Sometimes it’s a rock background. Sometimes it’s a rusty metal plate. Today it’s the cover of an antique tin box. This first group of images show some of that exploration.

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This gastropod has become a recent favorite of mine. It’s shape seems to be so particularly appealing as a design object as well as an element of deep time. In the image below it’s a Devonian bindi on the head of Ganesh.

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And what’s left for today is a small assortment from recently travelled paths:

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Quarry Wall

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At the Car Wash

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Mall Skylights

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Fisher Center Interior

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Leger’s Cornet

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All those recent cornet images had me thinking about an earlier project I did at the old, crumbling Burden Iron Works, with all its pipes and Rube Goldberg-esque machinery. So here are a couple from that structure that is no longer. It was torn down several years ago.

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Thanks for the visit.

0326: Marist Show_continued

Gilboa Tree Fossil 3768

For those unable to attend I thought I’d share more of the upcoming show today.

The opening image is titled “Gilboa Tree Fossil 3768.”

Here is the information, including directions, for anyone interested in attending:

Wednesday April 1st – Saturday April 25th

Gallery Hours: Monday thru Saturday – Noon ’til 5pm

Opening Reception: Wednesday April 1st – 5pm -7pm

Marist College Art Gallery

3399 North Road

Poughkeepsie NY 12601

Directions – From Route 9, turn onto Fulton Street and make the first right onto Beck Place. The studio and gallery are at the end of the street, on the right.

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Kaaterskill 6065

Kaaterskill 6065

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Maine 5312

Maine 5312

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Maine 5420

Maine 5420

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Maine 5430_

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Maine 5717

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Gilboa Tree Fossil 3656

Gilboa Tree Fossil 3656

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Gilboa Tree Fossil 4640

Gilboa Tree Fossil 4640

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Swarm 4432

Swarm 4432

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Quarry 7368

Quarry 7368

Thank you 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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Kaaterskill 6324

Quarry 7348

Quarry 7348

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Maine 5310

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Ausable 2781

Quarry 1820

Quarry 1820

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Maine 5568

Devonian Trace Fossil 5568

Devonian Trace Fossil 5568

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Kaaterskill 6334

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Maine 5404

Thanks for the visit.

Catskill Quarry in Autumn

One of my favorite places locally, especially this time of year, is a seldom used quarry just on the other side of the ridge from my studio. One section of it in particular is rife with fossils – cephalopods, gastropods, and lots of brachiopods. There are so many to be found that my greatest difficulty usually is trying to keep my bag light enough to hike out. And once again that proved to be so a few days ago when I ventured in there after a long absence.

I have learned the hard way that summertime gets a bit tricky when climbing around on tall rock piles. Hornets seem to like the underside of larger broken rocks and find them to be safely undisturbed – a great place for a home. And I’d think that’s a pretty safe bet for them to make. After all, who or what would want to be climbing around on loose rock? Ha! Too many times I unsuspectedly overturned a rock to find an angry horde of hornets all too willing to strike back at an accidental “assailant”! Fighting them off is far too hazardous to willingly wish for. So no quarry visits in the summer. Snow covers everything in winter. Spring is too wet. And that leaves Autumn.

Coincidentally, Autumn just seems like the very best time to hike up in there. The picture above is the view out to the west. From the ridgetop you look out at the eastern escarpment of the Catskill Mountains. And directly below the quarry (out of frame) is a beaver pond nestled at the base of the next ridge. Then, of course, there are the colors of autumn. While they may vary somewhat from year to year they are always beautiful and a true joy to behold.

So here is where it really comes out – the truth about this “fossil hunting” business. What better way to spend time then be alone on a ridgetop surrounded by a multicolored forest on a crisp sunny day. Getting to crack rocks in this big playpen, uncovering marine animal fossils from further back in time than I can comprehend all amounts to icing on the cake! And while it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll ever find anything of earth-shattering importance for the scientific community I find objects of visual and sculptural wonder at every turn.

Here are some of them from this last trip:

And on a final note I would like to wish a happy and joyous 84th birthday to my dear sweet Mother, Mrs. Hilda Veronica Gaudioso Murphy. I’m working on a fossil bouquet for you!

As always, you can subscribe to this blog at my homepage  https://artandfossils.wordpress.com

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