060718: Remembering Italy


My son called a few days ago, telling me about the wonderful first visit he and his family are currently experiencing in Italy. And I couldn’t be happier to hear all about their adventure. So, with all that going through my mind, and with a serious desire to be there myself, I have opted for the next best thing – my photo libraries! Today’s post scratched that itch (for the time being!).

I started off with some trees – the opener is from an olive grove near Assisi. The image immediately above is a very old tree in the garden surrounding Leonardo‘s home and birthplace in Vinci.

Doorway, Florence

Spello, Umbria

Street Shrine, Florence

St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice

Entryway, Trastevere

Vegetable Stand/Barge, Venice

Flowerpots, Trastevere

Private Driveway, Tuscany

Gondolas, Venice


Souveniers, Assisi

Dress Shop, Venice

Santa Croce Basilica, Florence

Thanks for visiting Italy with me today!

092117: Back to Work

Round Top, NY 2012

Septembers have usually been busy and exciting times for me. Shows, travel, and new projects have generally been the focus of my posts ever since I began this blog in 2011. As my regular viewers know, if its Thursday there’s a new story waiting. Unfortunately, other matters have intruded and, as a result, the past month or so has had me focused elsewhere.

Mushrooms 2011

Due to a misdiagnosis well over a year ago, my partner, Cindy, has been hit with Lyme disease with a vengeance. It’s been harrowing and disturbing. Fortunately, she is ever so slowly on the mend. And as she progresses I will be able to get back on schedule.

Coral on Canvas 2012

As a way to break back into some creative work, I’ve picked out images for today that were taken in previous Septembers – but never worked until now. So, in a way, these are fresh new pieces. Definitely an odd mix, and quite varied.

Tea Set, New Jersey 2012

And, yes, the sofa and chairs were covered in plastic too.

Parking Garage, Spoleto 2013

On this day four years ago my solo show opened at the Florence Museum of Natural History. It was a wonderful occasion and allowed us to travel the countryside in the days that followed.

San Gimignano 2013

In the shadows of this wonderful hill town, as the sun set, we finished a day of Tuscan fossil hunting. Some of what we found appear below.

Gastropods, Tuscany 2013

Sea Shell, Maine 2014

Maine 2014

Our view to the East. We fell in love with Maine on this trip and now return annually – not only for the local beauty but also to shoot the coastal rocks such as the image below.

Coastal Rock, Maine 2014

Bearded Rocks, Lake Champlain, Vermont 2015

Isle La Motte, home of the famous Chazy Reef geological site, is another favorite. An important annual event celebrated there is Teddy Roosevelt Day in honor of his visit in 1901. In fact, the annual celebration is being held this Saturday the 23rd with a full day of activities. If you are anywhere in the vicinity make plans to visit. As they say it’s fun for all ages!

For information and directions for this year’s event clock here – Teddy Rooesvelt Day.

Donald, Isle La Motte 2015

Our dear friend Donald posed following the historical recreation.

Gastropod, Isle La Motte 2015

Coral, Catskill, NY 2016

Sunset Over the Catskills 2011

A slightly different journey today. I hope you liked it. I’ll try to be back soon.

Thanks for the visit.

120116: Recent Pics


Several days of much needed rain has kept me inside, leaving shooting plans on hold. I’m never at a loss, though, thanks to a library full of overlooked images.


In reviewing image folders from the past few months, I came up with this selection – a mixed bag of objects ranging from plant life (above) to three more fossil images (at the end) from Isle La Motte.


In between are a few local rocks and fossils and this unique artifact (above) – a “smudge pot” holder from a Tuscan vineyard where we dug for fossils on a previous visit. Yeah, most people return from such a trip with objects of beauty. Me – I come back with interesting junk!












These are the three new images from September’s visit to Isle La Motte.






I close today with a creekside view of a wonderland created by my good friend, Harry Matthews, the Renaissance Man of High Falls Road!

Thanks for the visit.

051216: Spring Cleaning


The recent great weather has inspired me to deal with a long standing personal issue – tackling the many large piles of fossil laden rocks that surround my studio. It’s a problem of my own creation and it is way out of hand!


The upside of such an issue is that I have a seemingly endless supply of material to re-explore and discover favorites both old and new.


The down aide is that each new trip to the quarry or creek has me returning with bags full of fresh new prospects and the piles of rocks grow larger and larger.


So, before paring things down, I chose to crack open those rocks headed for disposal – one last chance for them to show me something new.


And these are some of the last minute finds.


All of the fossils shown are locally found brachiopods (with the exception of the partial gastropod that appeared in the lead image).






These two are positive and negative from the same fossils – both well delineated and as crisp as could be.








A new (and permanent) exhibition opens this week at the Florence Museum of Natural History. Tales of a Whale is the product of nine years of effort which began with the discovery of a ten meter long, three million year old whale skeleton in the hills of Tuscany.


The beautifully designed exhibit, seemingly set in a deep blue sea, centers around the whale skeleton which is surrounded by fossils of other marine life that were found in the same field. All this makes for a fascinating and informative look at that local ecology with a strong nod to contemporary ecological issues. (The image above comes from Museum files. The following image comes from a slide show on the website of La Repubblica Firenze where more images of the exhibit can be found).


My congratulations and best wishes go out to Dr. Stefano Domenici and Dr. Elisabetta Cioppi for their brilliant work and long time efforts – efforts that have resulted in a brilliant exhibition and a greater understanding of our world. Should you find yourself in Florence, put this destination on your list!

Thanks as always for your visit here today.

0805: Taking Off


I was remarking to Cindy the other night that we had not seen any luna moths this year. And then I remembered that she found this one dead in our driveway last year. So I retrieved it from the baggie I had originally placed it in and set it against one of my many rocks.


This week I’m mixing a few things I’ve been playing with. We are leaving for vacation tomorrow so I’m a day early with this post and not real focused. These three images involved the fossils I  found on my last trip to Tuscany.


I’ve been drawing a lot lately, so the old weathered pastel box seemed to fit the mood.




Whenever I can’t focus I can always go to my default place – hammer and chisel in hand – cracking rocks open.


All three from the same rock from the quarry.




And, last for today (and until I return in a couple of weeks), a few shots of the neighborhood.


Thanks for the visit.


0312: Almost Spring


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.



Siena, Italy






Lake Champlain, NY






Boboli Gardens, Florence,Italy



Platte Clove NY



Leonardo da Vinci birthplace, Vinci, Italy



Cairo NY



Lexington VA



Opus 40, Saugerties NY



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.








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.


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.

0226: Revisiting the Peabody


By “revisiting” I mean looking over images in my library from my visit a while back. Two days shooting at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History left me with too many “selects!” – a problem one likes to have. Actually, it’s hard to miss when the subjects are so impressive. It was a  wonderful experience. The fossils were certainly a wider array than I am familiar with (from Devonian crinoids to Jurassic shrimp).

Browsing through that  picture library also led me to a group of moody images from a quiet day in the Tuscan hills.These images proved to be a fine escape from the cold and snow and allowed me to explore some different techniques – while at the same time offering a glimmer of hope that Spring arrive soon!

Enjoy the pics and stay warm.








IMG_0235_01_LR_12*****  IMG_0610_01_LR_12





















Thanks for the visit.

0313: Those Creative Juices


This time of year, as we slowly work our way out of winter’s hibernation, I often see a rise in those self-help articles – you know – “15 Tips for Creativity,” “Daily Habits of Artists That Unlock Creativity,” “Nine of the Best Ways to Boost Creativity,” etc. Perhaps they work for some. I will often scan them – one never knows where or when inspiration will rear its head. But over the years I’ve come up with some tricks of my own to help jumpstart the process.


The other day I dug into some architectural images from my library and attempted a fresh and different approach to the subject – in the above case two views of a walkway from a recent visit to Empire Plaza in Albany. Next was a visit to my New York images. This last one, below, had always seemed unresolved to me, seemed to lack something. But now, after a few severe changes, it holds some new found appeal, maybe a new direction to explore. But it got the wheels turning, however creakily!

Exhaustv3 _01_LR_10

These exercises must have had some effect because, after leaving my camera sitting dormant through the last few storms, I pulled it out yesterday. And on that very gray day I found this odd bit of color. Almost felt like Easter lilies – color brightening my day and my outlook!



I have a few other tricks that fire up those creative juices. And, no surprise, they mostly have to do with visual stimuli. Chief among them is my longstanding love affair with the work of the late great American artist Richard Diebenkorn. His Ocean Park series, much of which I was fortunate to see at the Corcoran a couple of years ago, is an endless source of inspiration.







NASA always has spectacular images available for perusal. At the moment, in honor of the new “Cosmos” series currently airing, they have posted a stunning new gallery of space photos on Flickr. Here are a few:









And then there is the issue of Google Earth and its vast visual possibilities. I’ll delve into that in a coming post. For now, though, here are two images I captured while exploring the Gobi Desert.



Screen Shot

Whether on Earth or in deep space, natural design abounds. Inspiration soon follows!


Finally, a quick roundup of my current shows. The opening at BAU Gallery in Beacon was a wonderful success. I’m very happy with my move to BAU – the members are terrific and the town is a positive hotbed for art. Show runs through April 6, Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 6 PM. I’ll be sitting the gallery this Saturday, March 15 and also on the closing day, April 6. Please drop by if you are in the area.


The 38th Annual Photo Regional opened the other day at the Albany Center Gallery and will run thru April 18. Two of my pieces were accepted into this juried show. An Artists Reception is set for April 5, 5-9PM.



I just received these pics from the opening of my exhibition “Inspired Fossils” in  the Tuscan town of Fucecchio last weekend. That’s my friend, Dr. Stefano Dominici, giving (I’m sure) his always interesting take on the work. I’m told that the Mayor gave some opening remarks as well. Reviews are good and there is real interest in the topic. My deep thanks to my friends in Italy who have worked hard to move the show to this new venue, the fourteenth century Civic Museum. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Thanks for the visit.

0227: An Odd Mix

IMG_6934_01_LR_10I’ve been so busy printing for two upcoming shows that I have no new fossil images once again (I do hope the snow goes away soon). So, in the meantime, I have an odd mix for you.

On Saturday, March 8, as a new member of the Beacon Artist Union (BAU Gallery), I will be sharing Gallery 2 with the other new member, David Link. I will be showing pieces from my Devonian Drawer series, printed large for the first time. Gallery 1 will hold a group show of the members (there are ten of us) entitled “Tasty.” That’s 6-9 PM, Saturday, March 8.

IMG_7198_02_LR_12For all you Woodstockers (and WAAM members), Carl van Brunt has an opening of his work on the other end of Beacon’s Main Street at Theo Ganz Gallery, same date, same time. So make the drive down to Beacon and check out both shows.


IMG_4329_01_LR_12Also on March 8 – I am excited to say that my recent Florence exhibition has found a new home in the Tuscan town of Fucecchio. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Andrea Vanni Desideri, scientific director of the Fucecchio Civic Museum, the show will run from the 8th of March thru the 23rd. The Museum building dates back to the 13th and 14th Centuries and is filled with delights ranging from paintings by Renaissance masters, to local archaeological and paleontological treasures to a truly mind blowing ornithological collection from the 19th Century. It is an honor and privilege to have my work displayed there and I am most grateful for the opportunity.

Here are a few pics from our last visit when we begin to plan for the show:

IMG_4333_01_LR_12Scene in the Town Square

IMG_4327_01_LR_12Museum Courtyard

IMG_4325_01_LR_10View from the Museum Balcony


Murphy_Art_July4,SaugertiesJuly 4, Saugerties

One last note about shows – I’m happy to say that these two images have been selected into this year’s 36th Annual Photo Regional Exhibition at Albany Center Gallery, which takes place from March 11th to April 18th. (Awards and artists reception is April 4, 2014 5-9 p.m.)

Murphy_Art_Devonian_CrinoidsDevonian Crinoids


Rio_Grande_Zephyr_in_1983-615x345This picture is not one of mine, but rather ran with a story in today’s news about Amtrak setting up some writers’ residency program. It sounds like an interesting idea. But it was the image that captured me. You see, during much of my 20s, before I picked up a camera, I was a locomotive engineer with the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. Quite an amazing job, I must say as I reflect back on it. We ran on some of the most beautiful (and sometimes scary) track in the world, up and down the Rockies. I had the opportunity to run the 5771 many times! So it was a treat to be reminded of it this morning!


IMG_2576_LR_10I’ll finish with one more piece of nostalgia. Late last night, flipping through the channels right before going to bed, what should I run across but an episode of Rocky Jones, Space Ranger! This was perhaps my favorite and perhaps most impressionable show I ever watched as a very young boy. Look closely at the insignia pin on Rocky’s hat.

IMG_7074_01_LR_10Yeah, here’s mine! I bought it on ebay quite a few years ago. And I swear it was that show that fed my early desire to explore. The show ran before the first astronauts – and here were these characters traveling the universe…


…and doing it in style!

 IMG_2555_LR_10I still want to go into space.


Thanks for the visit.

1121: Textured


This small group of Pliocene fossils, found while in Tuscany, continue to capture my attention. I have already shot them a number of times and they still seem to have more to give.




I’ve been adding to my “backgrounds” collection. So, now along with piles of rocks surrounding my studio, I’m developing a pile of rust scraps and other odd assorted items that I can turn to when in need of a different backdrop for certain fossils.

And thanks to a few days of good weather I’ve finally returned to old ways and managed to get out and dig for new treasure – also a perfect time to break out the new backgrounds.




This trace fossil came with its own textured background. I was out the other day on a hike with my friend and neighbor, Harry, when he discovered this rock in a heavily quarried area. Too big to carry back to the studio, so it was shot on site. Those curved lines are the result of a burrowing animal looking for food 385 million years ago.


IMG_5745_01_LR_10Back at the studio,with a fresh bag of fossils, I found myself pulling out all kinds of props, trying to see what might work best with them. From there pictures began to unfold.


IMG_5651_01_LR_10Out came my favorite prop, the erstwhile Devonian Drawer, this time sans Devonian, and used with an odd but intriguing antique object. Thanks, Lenny. If you really miss it you can have it back!


IMG_5631_01_LR_12One of the Italian fossils sits comfortably (lower right) with some animal bones.




I’ll finish today with some contemporary Roman textures.


The walls there seem to have stories to tell.


IMG_4709_01_LR_12Thanks for visiting.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

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