060117: My Antidote

The crazier current events become the more I find ways to dig further into my fossils. They don’t endanger the world order. They don’t infuriate with their madness. At the very least they do nothing more than allow for a pleasant diversion from all that “other” stuff.

More than that though, they remind me that, in the long stretch of time that they represent, our current moment of political madness will eventually pass (as all things do). The obvious follow-up question then becomes “At what cost?”

We’ll save that question for another day. In the meantime, these 387 million year old objects wish to speak! A lot of coral today with a sprinkle of brachiopods and a few trilobites for good measure!

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This strange little self-portrait of mine was accepted into the upcoming Small Works Show at the Woodstock Artist Association and Museum (WAAM). And the piece below entitled “Requiem” from my ongoing Galileo series was selected for the show in the main gallery. WAAM is in the heart of Woodstock (NY) and the opening is set for Saturday 4-6pm. If you are in the neighborhood please drop by.

I’ll close today with another orb – a recent full moon.

Thanks for the visit.

092216: Goodbye Summer

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Thanks to the world of moss and lichen some otherwise bland looking fossils take on a whole new appearance. Today’s opening image shows a shard of coarse sandstone filled with broken pieces of brachiopods, coral, and other denizens of that inland sea that covered this area 387 million ears ago. Moss has grown thick on parts of the rocks while some strange little (I believe) lichen appear like some bright blue pinheads.

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This extreme close-up gives a better sense of them. If anyone can confirm just what they are I would be grateful to hear back.

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Here are several more images of the moss creeping up on some soon to be covered marine invertebrates.

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Those images got me back into my routine. I haven’t had much time for fresh shooting lately, being sidetracked with other matters. So I continued aiming the camera at other fossils nearby and found my groove again. Here is what was near at hand.

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Goodbye to Summer and all that goes with it, including butterflies.

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I’ll close with these two variations on circles! Above is a nest within a nest. The large one came from a visit last Autumn to Paradox Lake in the Adirondacks. The small one, found by Cindy this Summer, we believe to have come from a ruby-throated hummingbird.

And below – the  second piece of my Galileo series. The first one, which was posted a month ago, is currently on view through this weekend at the Woodstock Artist Assn. and Museum (WAAM).

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Thanks for the visit.

0407: An Odd Mix

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This time last week I was hurrying to get the blog posted. It was 72 degrees out with a bright sun – easily the best day of this early Spring. The rest of the day was spent at my favorite quarry where I eventually filled the trunk of my car with fossil laden rocks.

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Fresh material to explore and photograph. Material enough, I was sure, to fill several of these posts. Most particularly today’s.

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But two days later, my plans changed when a Spring surprise arrived in the form of six inches of snow. And that pile of rocks sits waiting for me.

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So, in search of a  new topic for today, I decided to browse one of my photo libraries from a few years ago. Often, I can find many images that I had originally passed over (for whatever reason). And, with fresh eyes and a different perspective, they all becomes new material to explore.

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What you see today is this rather odd mix of images that seemed to beckon to me – no criteria other than that.

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This next set of images is from the Florence Museum of Natural History – this time the subject is bones.

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And, finally, a nice piece of news – The image above, which I had shared with you a few weeks ago, has been selected for “Far & Wide”, the 8th Annual Woodstock Regional Exhibition. Entitled “Natural History – Mushrooms,” it was taken at the Botanical Division of the aforementioned museum. Opening and reception is set for May 7 from 4-6 pm.

Thanks for the visit.

0331: Natural History

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Today I have more from the Florence Museum of Natural History – mammals, entomology and paleontology in particular.

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Last Fall a friend gave me a couple of hornets’ nests. They had been hanging in her barn for years. She thought I might find them interesting (which I did) and passed them along to me to explore (which I am). These are my first attempts. (Thanks Dorian).

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This last image is a mixed media piece of mine entitled “Primordia.” I have been working on a drawing project for the past nine months or so and this will be the first time one will be displayed. It hangs at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum in the active members show opening this Saturday 4-6 pm.

Thanks as always for the visit.

1203: Combining the Two

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I guess this had to happen – this opening image, that is. All this time lately going back and forth between the fossils and mushrooms has led to this pairing. The mushroom was one from the trash heap, one that had gone past its prime. The brachiopod fossil seemed to work well with all those lines.

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So before I get to today’s fossil images here are a few more mushroom pics for you.

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The image above is currently hanging in the annual Holiday Show at the Woodstock Artist Association and Museum (WAAM). And below is one last mushroom image – this one appearing at WAAM where it has been given an honorable mention in the Small Works Show. The opening for both shows is set for this Saturday (4pm-6pm) in Woodstock.

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My studio is surrounded by piles of rocks. Rocks filled with fossils. All carried back here from their nearby homes of the past 387 million years. And, were it not for a good leaf blower, they’d probably hide for another 387 million years under heavy annual blankets of leaves!

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There as at least a few thousand of them laying around, many of which I have long forgotten. These are a few that I was able to reacquaint myself with the other day. The first two are corals from a dry stream bed down the road.

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These next two, broken out of much larger rocks, come from the Kaaterskill Creek at a point only a hundred yards away from the aforementioned dry bed. In this case these two rocks each contain several cephalopods.

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And this last rock contains a fossil root (or branch) from the Gilboa Forest in Schoharie County.

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I’ll close for today with images from a second visit to an old (1830s) building in Catskill. With the exception of the next image, all others are various states of wallpapers and their decay over time.

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This gives an overall sense of the level of disrepair. I am sure, though, that the day will come when this room and all the others will be transformed into beautiful living space.

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Thanks for the visit.

1008: Rocks and More

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Today I begin with an image I have shown previously. It’s always been a favorite of mine. I’m pleased to say that a large print of it will appear in a pop-up show this Friday, October 10, in the Towbin Museum Wing of the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum. The opening (6pm-8pm) will coincide with the Preview Party for this year’s Benefit Auction. The show will remain up through the final day of auction on the 17th.

In a related matter there will be a panel discussion on the following Friday (October 16, 7pm) entitled Connections: Enduring Themes in the Art of the Hudson Valley Region. Panel members will include Daniel Belasco (Curator of the Samuel Dorsky Museum), Jason Rosenfeld (Co-creator of “River Crossings” and Distinguished Chair and Professor of Art History Marymount Manhattan College) and Norm Magnusson (artist and independent curator).

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I continue to work on my files from Maine. I’m beginning to think that I could spend endless amounts of time exploring the coastal rocks up there.

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Another set of rocks appear in these two images. Pretty interesting landscapes in fact. Turns out they are both images from Mars. I’ve been spending some time lately browsing the various NASA libraries – another variation on what I’m finding endlessly fascinating these days.

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In many cases, image files of considerable size can be downloaded and examined more closely. The next image, color enhanced, comes from a recently released composite picture of Pluto taken by the New Horizons spacecraft. More amazing things thanks to the scientists at NASA.Pluto_crop a_LR_12

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Back to earth once again, puttering around the studio led to these recent images. First, a fuzzy visitor making its way around fossil coral.

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I also brought out my old (Devonian) Drawer. It’s been hiding on a shelf somewhere so I thought I’d put it to use once again. The first image contains a few objects that were part of an exercise that eventually led to the image below – containing a rather large cephalopod, a 387 million year old marine invertebrate that I popped out of a rock a few years ago.

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Thanks for the visit.

0611: Early Mornings

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Some mornings, despite my best efforts, I can find myself struggling with “brain fog.” Nothing major, mind you, perhaps I should rather call it “a slow start to the day.” Over time, I have discovered ways to lift that fog and get rolling. One such solution is a head clearing walk down to Kaaterskill Creek, with or without camera, to forget everything else for a while as I take in the beauty of the surroundings.

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Yesterday, instead of climbing down to the creek, I chose instead to view it from the bridge above. Within a matter of minutes the fog began lifting as I found a little visual game with which to amuse myself  – a short series of images, each of which shows something of the creek.

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By the time I got back to the studio I was ready to take on the day wide awake and clear headed. The fossil images that follow this exercise are the products of the remainder of the day.

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And now the fossils:

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One final note – Two juried shows are opening on Saturday (the 13th) at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM). I’m happy to say that I have a piece in each of them:

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“Abstract/Concrete_0530” (upstairs)

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“Fisher Sidebar” (downstairs)

Saturday 4-6pm

Drop by if you are in the area.

Thanks for today’s visit.

1114: More From Italy

IMG_358101_LR_10 Three little groupings this week – starting off with more from the Botanical Section of the Florence Museum of Natural History. It houses one of the finest collections of preserved plant specimens (more than 225,000) in Europe.

IMG_3410_01_LR_10Also, endless cabinets filled with glass bottles containing just about any particular seed you may ever want – well, not you, but you understand. I was fortunate enough to be allowed in for a tour and a little shooting time while visiting last month.

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A few from the cities and towns…

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And finally some from the countryside.

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One final note – Last Saturday, the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM) awarded me their annual photography award, the Leilani Claire Award for Outstanding Photography. I am honored to have been chosen and am most grateful. I have been involved with WAAM for several years and have enjoyed every moment of my membership – even hanging the annual holiday shows! If you are an artist living in the general area of Woodstock drop in. You ‘ll find it quite appealing.

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Thanks for visiting.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage artandfossils.wordpress.com

1107: Design

IMG_3756_02_LR_12The little mountain town of Volterra, Italy, known for its early Etruscan settlements, sits on a plateau surrounded by volcanic hills. The image above, which just won an honorable mention award in this Saturday’s opening Small Works Show at The Woodstock Artists Assn. & Museum (WAAM), shows one of those many hills. Like so much of the Italian landscape, the designs that nature provides can sometimes overwhelm (in a most favorable way) one’s own design sensibilities.

IMG_1698_01_LR_12No surprise, then, that great design can be found everywhere. And it’s been everywhere over there for a long, long time. I have a group of images today that reflect that sense of design. And, rather than look all around, I chose to look down at the ground. The triangles are floor tiles at the Cathedral of St. John the Lateran in Rome. As are these:

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This particular favorite, which covers wide areas of the Cathedral floor, reminded me of the mosaic tiled flooring (below) that was abundant in sections of the Third century Baths of Caracalla.

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Even the lowly sewer grates have a certain sense of good design:

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The Cypress trees, ever present throughout the countryside, create designs and patterns  much like some of the existing architecture – in this case the ancient aqueduct in Spoleto.

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After a while, even the crumbling walls of Rome begin to …

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Thanks for visiting.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage artandfossils.wordpress.com

0905: A Flurry of Activity

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I’m happy to say that the above piece, entitled “Buy Now, Pray Later,” just won the Juror’s Choice Award at the Woodstock Artists’ Association and Museum (WAAM) show opening this Saturday afternoon. You’re right – it doesn’t remotely look like fossils. The theme of the show is “In the News” (Art expressing a point of view about current or past events). I thought this image combined the nutty taste of run-amok evangelism with the ominous clouds of imperiled consumerism. I shot it a few years ago in the parking lot of the Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston. 4 – 6 PM Saturday in Woodstock.

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That Renaissance Guy up the road, my good friend Harry Matthews, has work currently up at the Mountaintop Arboretum in Tannersville. His balanced stone sculptures are delightful and mystifying. And set in such a beautiful location, with the Catskill peaks filling out the view, it’s a great reason to take a drive up Kaaterskill Clove and enjoy the last days of Summer or even early Autumn colors (it’s up until October 14).

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You might remember this one. It’s a favorite of mine that’s making the rounds lately. This double crinoid image, taken at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History made it into the PHOTOcentric 2013 show at the Garrison Art Center in Garrison, NY. I’m happy to say that this is the third year in a row my work has been accepted into this national juried show. The opening is Sunday, September 15 and it will run through October 6. Unfortunately, I will miss the opening. I will be in Italy, preparing for my September 20 opening at the Florence Natural History Museum.

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One last show to report on – this piece “Window” – was selected for the 2013 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region exhibition, being held this year at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY. It will run from October 15 through December 29.

I bring this up now because we had to run the print up there today (85 miles away) and used the trip to view a terrific show at the Hyde that only has ten days left. The show is entitled “Modern Nature. Georgia O’Keefe and Lake George”. It’s a small but very thoughtful exploration of O’Keefe’s days on Lake George and how it shaped much of her future (and more famous) work. And there are more than enough gems to make the trip worthwhile.

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For the first time (thanks to the curator’s choices) I was able to see her influences – from Arthur Dove, to Kandinsky, and even Braque. What a wonderful exercise! And what did I get hooked on? Her trees, of course! A subject that has certainly captured my attention these past few months. I never knew (or remembered) that she specifically painted them. It made for a great day.

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O’Keefe was quoted in 1927 as saying “If only people were trees…I might like them better.” Spending most of my days in my little studio in the woods I must say I’m beginning to understand.

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It’s only fitting that I give you a couple more tree images from our recent trip to Isle La Motte, including these two trees fighting over a rock.

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I’ll end with one last picture from Isle La Motte – our last night there.

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Thanks for visiting.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

Subscribe at my homepage artandfossils.wordpress.com