100517: Circles and Arcs

I geeked out again this week on NASA’s Cassini website and found myself mesmerized by the amazing images of Saturn and its moons. Those images triggered a response in kind thanks to my pile of props – junk of all kinds, especially circular metal objects. That led me to today’s exercise – an attempt to explore some simple shapes.

Two of Saturn’s moons – Titan and Diane.


Titan passing in front of Saturn’s rings.


Saturn’s two largest moons – Titan and Rhea.


Another view of Titan passing across the face of Saturn.


The moon Enceladus appears before Saturn’s rings while the larger moon Titan looms in the distance.


The North Pole of Saturn


Clouds forming over Saturn.

These and many other beautiful images may be found at the NASA Cassini website:

Goodbye to the Dark Side

Thanks for the visit.

092817: The New Season

It’s a cool breezy day here in Catskill today. The recent heat has given way to what appears to be a perfect early Autumn day. And a brief trip to the farm stand at Story Farms confirms the seasonal changes that we are in the midst of. Gourds, pumpkins, apples and late corn fill the bins. It all seems to move quickly so enjoy this season while its here. “Tempus fugit” as my old Latin teacher would exhort!

I finally managed to get out the other day and explore a new fossil site (new to me, that is). It was a small limestone quarry just outside of town. Not much to find, it turns out, but just good to be out in the field again. These are a few of my discoveries: Above is a trilobite pygidium (always fun to find around here).

Next is a type of brachiopod named Leptaena. I generally don’t find to many of these so any time I find one I think it’s a pretty good day!

Here are a few brachiopods. Upon closer view, in the center of the image, there are small circular objects – crinoid ossicles, small segments of the stem of a crinoid.

These next three images show different views of a coral, Syringopora, that snake through the limestone. It’s pretty common around here. In this case, though, the definition and delineation is particularly noteworthy.



And here are a few more fossils (not from that quarry trip) that caught my eye starting with this impression of another coral type in sandstone.

Two brachiopods with what I believe to be the impression of a another trilobite pygidium.

And last, a group of various brachiopods sharing a very small space together



I’ll close out today with more Sci Fi art – covers from 1950s pulp magazines. All the recent events surrounding the Cassini Mission and its descent into the Saturn atmosphere has had me mesmerized! And seeing Saturn in the sky in the above image reminded me of it all the more. Enjoy!




Thanks for the visit!

080317: Looking Out (and Looking Back)

Today’s opener was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft last year. It has been exploring Saturn and many of its 62 moons since its arrival at Saturn in 2004. Currently the spacecraft is in the middle of its “Grand Finale,” as NASA refers to its ultimate and final stage – plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere next month on September 15. It has treated us to previously unimaginable sights and still has six more weeks of transmissions.

More on this image – https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA21046

Above are the first three drawings ever of Saturn and made by the observations of Galileo over 400 years ago. July 30,1610 was the first one (top) with slightly better results for the other two as he continually refined his telescopes.

We’ve come a long way – this pic taken from behind Saturn looks back at Earth (the dot center right). The beauty and importance of these and many other images, to me, cannot be understated.

More on this image – https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17171

This trio of craters, also shot from Cassini, reside on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons.

More on this image – https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA20011

NASA’s image libraries are full of these wonderful and fascinating images and are all easily  accessible online.This one above is from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and shows part of Mars’ south pole.

More on this image – https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/pia21639/erosion-of-the-edge-of-the-south-polar-layered-deposits

And last in this series is a picture of our own Grand Canyon taken from the International Space Station by a student controlled EarthKam camera!

More on this image – https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/space-stations-earthkam-sees-the-grand-canyon

As I said, NASA has endless libraries worth perusing. Also, my favorite non-NASA sight you might want to visit is  Planetary Landscapes – daily posts of images from here on Earth and elsewhere!

One last note: Saturday, August 5, will be the fifth anniversary of the explorations begun by the Mars Rover. It continues to chug along the surface of the planet, sending back wonderful and astounding landscape images of Mars – Images – Mars Science Laboratory


All this thought about outer space got me to break out my collection of pulp Sci-Fi magazines. The stories age great. The cover images make me dream of being aboard a spaceship exploring the wide universe. I think it’s my way of coping with the depressing news that we witness daily – especially the science related cutbacks, the dissolution of important government functions ranging from climate change to research of all kinds, etc.

The two  “Thrilling Wonder Stories” are from 1951 and 1952.

The three remaining magazines, “Amazing Stories,” are from 1947 and 1948.




So, from the faraway future to the faraway past – I had to toss in a few new images of the very old – 387 million years ago (give or take a few mil!) – Devonian invertebrate fossils from the neighborhood.




Science matters.

Thanks for the visit.

0324: A Spring Break


Another walk starts off this week’s post. It was an overcast early Spring afternoon that got me up and away from the computer – a break from all the Florence images that have had me tied up lately. A need for nature not pixels! The lichen was a good start.


The garden showed me some things new…


…and some things old.


Some shapes reminded me of other shapes.

Some images reminded me of other images.


And that brought me back to the computer – which led to this mix.


Crustacean 1, La Specola


Crustacean 2, La Specola


Stairwell, Bardini Gardens


Tools of Mosaic Artist


Jupiter and Saturn, Orrery, Galileo Museum


Gastropod, Florence Museum of Natural History


Santa Maria della Spina, Pisa


San Miniato al Monte, Florence


Virgin with Child and Bicycles, Florence


Vasari’s Vision of Hell, Duomo, Florence


Thanks for the visit.

So What Do You See?

The above image is that of a brachiopod in course sandstone, a small lip falling into shadow, and various colored stripes (that I assume are the result of chemical interactions over a very long period of time.) That’s what’s there. That’s the result of the last whack of my hammer and chisel. And yet as I view it I keep thinking about Saturn.

I am often pleasantly amused when viewers of my work see “other” things in the images. A few friends delight in playing their own version of “Where’s Waldo” where Waldo is replaced by a menagerie of animals. It’s that creative side of the brain at work. And for those who swear that they are anything but creative take a moment to read what Leonardo da Vinci said about letting the mind wander:

“When you look at a wall spotted with stains, or with a mixture of stones…you may see battles and figures in action, or strange faces and costumes, or an endless variety of objects, which you could reduce to complete and well-drawn forms. These appear on such walls promiscuously, like the sound of bells in whose jangle you may find any name or word you choose to imagine.”

I always hope my images provide the viewer with a jumping off point, whether for exploration, contemplation, or simple visual information. We each bring our own experiences to art. So if you find Waldo, congrats! Same too for “cosmic meaning” or even for just finding some 380 million year old former resident who lived and died at the bottom of an ancient inland sea.

I’ve posted some new work on my website, both fossils and non-fossils. Here are some direct links to those pages and a few samples. Take a look. I hope you enjoy them.

        New Fossil Images                                               New Assorted Images

Thanks for the visit. More always at www.artmurphy.com.