062118: Continued

I couldn’t resist using last week’s backdrop again for this week’s images. Today’s fossils include gastropods, brachiopods, crinoid ossicles, coral, and various trilobite parts (including the one below – a Moroccan trilobite I bought in a Florence flea market). All the rest make up a nice little Devonian sampler.

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Thanks for the visit.

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081717: Fresh Fossils

Today’s post is all fossils. I know that some of my viewers are particularly interested in fossils, while others prefer to see other type images. I try to strike something of a balance, especially since my work generally is more dimensional than a single subject.

My time is short today so I’ll just leave you with this new batch of images.

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Since I am finishing with two (partial) trilobites I thought I’d follow up with a few recent drawings of trilobites from a new series I am currently working on.

These are charcoal and chalk. Each is approximately 2×3 feet in size.

They are more “generic trilobites” as opposed to any specific type and they are fun for me to explore!

 

Thanks for the visit. Enjoy the eclipse next week wherever you are. And remember to follow viewing instructions carefully.

063016: Summer Begins

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I needed to get the blood circulating the other day so I walked down to the nearby creek. It was one of those Summer days when life seemed to slow down to a crawl – temperature and humidity pressing down like a vise – leaving me somewhat listless, hoping for a breeze of any sort to bring respite.

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I’ve come to learn that, on days like that, Kaaterskill Creek, even as it runs low this time of year, can always provide that needed respite. Always a breeze creekside.  Always eight to ten degrees cooler. And this day possessing one of the only patches of day lilies around (the rest all eaten down by the large deer population).

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I also managed to find this nice large (5-6′) slab of ripple rock. The breeze and cooler air served its purpose and so, feeling refreshed, I returned to the studio where I continued to sort through the thousands of fossil rocks piled outside. By now there are so many that I have forgotten about that it was either like seeing old friends again or discovering something anew. Either way. it’s a win – win situation!

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What you see above is a grouping of trilobite parts, all of which are parts of head sections (cephalon). While there are many areas where trilobites are plentiful, this is not one of them. So this is somewhat uncommon for me. The bulging piece in the lower left is that head section. The dotted parts on each side are the eyes. Those other dotted fragments  are eyes also (from other trilobites).

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The tail section, or pygidium, appears a bit more frequently in this area. These are three that I have recently found locally.

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The more commonly found fossil around here is the brachiopod. I have read that there are well over 10,000 different types, thus the variety of looks.

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I’ll close for today with these two images. My recent forays into the woods continue to result in finding beautiful sculptural pieces of wood. This one struck me as some kind of headless recumbent figure. And below, once again, another visitor to my shooting table – ancient looking creatures coming together over millennia!

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Thanks for the visit. Please have a safe and happy 4th!

0225: Santa Croce

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While I am not big on churches in general I must say that the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence is a wonder to behold. Construction on it was begun in 1294 and it was consecrated in 1442. It is a thing of beauty. The walls are filled with stunning paintings, sculptures and frescos – work done by artists such as della Robbia, Donatello, Giotto, Gaddi, Vasari, and many more.

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Toward the rear of the church are numerous tombs running along the side walls. This one, pictured above, belongs to Galileo (which we visited the day after his birthday). It sits directly across from the site of Michelangelo’s tomb. An odd note of history – Galileo was born on the day of Michelangelo’s death. Many have said that, at the moment of Michelangelo’s death, his soul passed on to Galileo!

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Thanks to my never-ending interest in rocks and stones, while most visitors spent much of their time looking up, I often look down. The floor of the Basilica is a wonder of marble patterns and designs.

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The neighborhood surrounding Santa Croce is our favorite area to stay. Everything is only a short walk away. There is an irresistible charm that pervades.

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The local Sant’ Ambrogio  marketplace has all things fresh daily from meats and cheeses to pasta, bread and flowers. Much to my surprise, I even found fossil trilobites from Morocco on sale for a few euro each!

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On a drizzly day last week we were surprised to see the Piazza Santa Croce transformed. A large  area of the piazza (directly in front of the Basilica) was fenced off with 2-4 inches of sand covering the cobblestones and some hay bales along the sides. An Italian rodeo perhaps?! Rather, we soon found out that we were about to witness a game called “historic football.”

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As the story goes, the game’s origin traces back to Roman times and was played regularly by association teams. On February 17, 1530, the game was played in defiance of an impending attack on the city. To ridicule the enemy, the game went on – because nothing was going to get in the way of the Florentinian tradition. And so, annually, the game is played on that date. And we were lucky enough to stumble upon it.

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At first, following the opening pomp and ritual, we assumed it to be something akin to “Old Timers’ Day” with some lighthearted attempts at a game.

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We soon found out otherwise as the game was a brutal battle that all parties took very seriously. ( A local told us that teams had been forbidden from recruiting released convicts lest it become particularly nasty!).

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On a more civilized note – During the 1400s and 1500s this neighborhood was full of artists and artisans. It very much remains so to this day. Of the many artists who live and work here there is one fascinating and wonderful artist by the name of Paolo Carandini.

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Paolo designs and creates objects of wonder and fascination. With the talents of a skilled artisan and the soul of a poet he builds these objects with parchment, leather and various imagery that are  enigmatic, often filled with literary references, sometimes with whimsey, sometimes with cathartic power and implication. And, if that’s not enough, each of his objects are clever and stunning visually.

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Please visit his site – www.paolocarandini.com

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And, finally, some street art. I have always enjoyed seeking out the various street shrines in Florence, and particularly in this neighborhood, many of which have been in place for hundreds of years. So today I bring you one from just down the street…

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…and something obviously more contemporary!

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Thanks for the visit.

1217: Year End 2015

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I can hardly believe that another year has already come and gone. The clocks tick at the same pace as always. The earth seems to rotate at the same speed (although I read somewhere recently that the increasing liquification of the world’s glaciers is having a measurable effect on that!).

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As is customary for me, this last post for the year revisits certain favorites of mine (out of the 600 to 700 fresh new images) that have appeared over this past year. While I have left out a lot, these seem to represent some of the directions and diversity that have occupied my time and efforts. They range from fossils and geology to the mushrooms and wallpaper images of recent months, as well as various other miscellany.

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Thank you for the visit today and thank you as always for your continued viewership. I’ll be back again after the first of the year. Please have a safe and happy holiday break.

0604: Rocks and Brachs

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Sometimes the brachiopods I find have a delicate beauty. Others, and there are thousands of variations, seem to have the gnarly look of creatures remote and primordial. Both descriptions are appropriate. There are few other objects that better fit that slot, especially given that the earliest brachiopods appeared roughly a half a billion years ago! These shown today are merely 385 million years old. The lead picture of today’s post is a rock (about the size of my fist) that I dug up at the nearby quarry – from a section where the shaley rock is brittle and seldom contains much in the way of brachiopods (a few gastropods can sometimes be found there and not much else).

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But this fist-sized rock was packed with large brachs, obviously part of a dense bed that provided them with their final resting place. I began photographing the outermost fossils and then proceeded to play a game of Paleozoic Jenga – slowly and carefully peeling away the outer surfaces in hopes of further discoveries. And I was not disappointed. Here are some of the findings from within:

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And this was the pile that remained.

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This next set is made up of old and new finds – all of which sit on new and different backgrounds that I am currently experimenting with.

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I leave you today with a zen moment. A dense fog from a hilltop aerie in Umbria.

Thanks for the visit.

0320: Trilobites

img_5543_01_lr_10Two recent media items brought this post on. It’s seldom for one to ever hear the word “trilobite” – unless your work (or play) bumps up against some parallel lines of interest. I knew nothing about them until I began finding fossil parts of trilobites and photographing them. The lead image today is that of a trilobite pygidium (the hind of three parts) that Cindy found one summer while we were exploring near Ithaca.

MurphyArt3The New York Times ran a terrific story recently all about trilobites. Brief enough but a great introduction to a strange and fascinating world – this one over three hundred million years ago. The article, When Trilobites Ruled the World, is accompanied by a chart that shows some of the wide variations of this marine invertebrate species (some 20,000).

Devonian New York 3881In the second episode of Cosmos, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson takes time to explain the trilobite and its role in the evolution of life. He referred, in particular, to the eyes – trilobites were some of the earliest creatures to have developed eyes. It meant, among many other things, that they no longer needed to bump into their food to survive. Now they could see it! It may sound a bit silly to dwell on but that’s about as basic as it gets and pretty fascinating as well. The picture above shows one of the first trilobite eyes I ever found – cracked open a large piece of coarse sandstone and there it was. And I must admit it made my day.

img_5686_01_lr_10So, with trilobites on my mind, I picked through my libraries and came up with a variety of my trilobite images. The ones I found are all the above images – rough and fresh out of the ground. These remaining images are from several collections.

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From the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

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From The Paleontological Research Institution

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From The Paris Museum of Comparative Anatomy

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Last, I wanted to remind my friends that my work remains hanging at the BAU Gallery in Beacon, NY for two more weeks. We had a fine opening and the gallery looks great.  IMG_2676_01_LR_10

In Gallery One we have a members group show Tasty. Seen along with my flamingo and my ice cream cone are sculpture by Tom Holmes (left), Erica Leigh Caginalp (center) and Herman Roggeman (right).

IMG_2662_01_LR_10Sculptor David Link and I are also in Gallery 2 this month. As the two new members we were allowed this introduction. The shows run through April 8.

And today is the first day of Spring!!!