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!










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.

121516: Year End 2016


The heat is cranked high in my studio right now. Snow is coming down so thick that it obliterates any view out the windows. And, like a substantial portion of the country, we are bracing for a “deep freeze.” Not unusual, given that its the final days of the year.


As I normally do at this time, my post includes a selection of images from the entire year past – a sort of review, if you will. In this case they are a variety that reflect on experiences encountered and hints at directions to come.


The first three images are products of the Maine coast. The shells (above), washed ashore last Summer, made me think of all the many fossils (seen below and 6 to 20 million years old) I encountered earlier at the Museum of Natural History in Florence, Italy.


Perhaps one of the most exciting experiences of my career was the interaction with that museum and its staff. I could never fully or properly express my gratitude for the opportunity to access many of their vast collections and to meet such an amazing group of dedicated professionals.


“Captured” is the title of the above image, shot in the storage rooms of the Mammals Section. It is also currently on display for the remainder of the month at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY as part of the 80th Annual Mohawk-Hudson Regional Exhibition.


From the Ornithology Collection


Florence street scene (with shrine)


In the rear of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence sits this funerary monument of Galileo Galilei. Directly across, on the opposite wall, sits the burial monument of Michelangelo, who died the day that Galileo was born. dsc01037_01print15_lr_12

I have always been fascinated with Galileo and the role he played in both world history and the history of science. This fascination has led to the image above, part of my ongoing  “Galileo” series.


Fossils and lichen share the spotlight in this image where these deeply grounded objects combine to suggest the astronomical.


Some fossils.


Some lichen.                                                                                                                   (currently on view through December at the Woodstock Artist Assocciation and Museum)


And a trifecta – fossils, lichen, and moss all rolled into one.


These last two favorites – tree remains.


With the holidays upon us, I’ll be taking a break and will be back in January. Best wishes to all of you for the upcoming year.



050516: May Begins


It’s a rainy start for May this year here in the Catskill region. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to get outside with my camera in between raindrops.


My first stop was the garden – I know, flower shots – what a cliche! But when the world around you looks so good you can’t ignore it.


And this delicacy is a very brief treat.




Stop number two was my favorite neighborhood quarry.


Interesting rocks with a few fossils (all brachiopods) mixed in.














This last image is something of a group shot – a handful of local fossils sitting on my shooting table.



These last two images, both of which have been seen here recently, will appear in two shows opening on Saturday at WAAM, the Woodstock Artist Association and Museum.The “mushroom” cabinet image, taken on my recent trip to the Florence Museum of Natural History, was chosen to appear in Far and Wide, the 8th Annual Woodstock Regional.

And in the downstairs gallery, the image below received an Honorable Mention in the Small Works Show. If you are in the area please drop by. The opening reception for both shows is 4 – 6 pm.


Thanks for the visit.

0407: An Odd Mix


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.


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


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.


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.


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












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








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


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
























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).




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.

0205: More From the Vaults


Greetings from the snow covered upper Hudson Valley. The wind is howling as I write this today, giving life to the multitude of chimes I have hanging all around outside my studio. The cacophony of bright, crisp sounds provides a pleasant backdrop to today’s tasks.


I have chosen once again to dive back into the vaults seeking overlooked images. And this time I settled into my images from Paris. First is a group from one of my favorite museums, the Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy. The gigantic ammonite seen above hung in a stairway landing – an odd place for it I thought, but striking nonetheless.


Next an arachnid, I think, from a time unknown to me (Take me out of the world of marine invertebrates and I am lost!).


And the last fossil for today – a pterodactyl.


Aside from the wonderful collections housed in this museum, the building itself is worth a visit alone. Built for the Paris Exposition of 1900, it has wonderful detailing at every turn, such as these three examples of the “natural history” architectural embellishments.







And then there are the stairwells.


Earlier posts captured this museum much more fully. For anyone interested, here are those links:






These last few are some random favorites, a somewhat odd mix. The first is a view of the Seine taken from the top of Notre Dame. Speaking of stairs, there are 387 steps to the bell tower and another 147 to the very top (where I shot this picture). And, as I stood there trying desperately to catch my breath, I looked across at the 300′ tall spire – only to see three workers climbing to the top!




Gare d’Austerlitz


An odd but favorite image of mine – Voltaire’s tomb in the basement of the Paris Pantheon. His shadow watches over.


One last image from Paris for today. The wonderfully inscrutable work of one of my favorite artists, Cy Twombly, at the Pompidou.


A couple of final notes. This Saturday, February 7, two of my images will hang in juried openings:


“Madonna Erotica” will appear at the Woodstock Artist Association and Museum in the Small Works Show – 4-6pm.


And this work from my Devonian Drawer series will appear at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance in Narrowsburg NY. That opening will run from 2-4pm. If you are in either area please stop by.


Thanks for the visit.

1023: Maine Rocks


It’s been over a month since my return from Maine and I am still thinking about the rocky shore and the endless photo opportunities those rocks presented. Many more images to wade through. Many more pleasant discoveries to be found in my library. And I have a few more to share with you today.


I did, though, find one boat to shoot – well, not quite a boat itself, but rather part of what I believe was a boat “mold.” It was as close as I could get to shooting standard Maine fare.











A quick trip to the quarry the other day yielded this fresh batch of (what else) brachiopods:



IMG_6613_01 _LR_12








And finally. if you should happen to be in the Woodstock vicinity, an image of mine entitled The Navigator is currently hanging as part of a juried show at the Woodstock Artists’ Association and Museum.


Thanks for the visit.

0410: Springing


What a lovely sight – the Catskills and a snow-free field. Signs of Spring abound. The peepers are peeping. The crocuses are crocussing…


…the honkers are honking (during a brief stopover on their journey north)…


…and the gobblers are strutting for the hens!


Once again, with the snow gone, I’ve been taking a fresh look at the newly uncovered fossil-laden rocks that surround my studio. What caught my eye this time were the large pieces of coarse sandstone. Often they are, layer upon layer, filled with wide varieties of marine invertebrates.


These images result from a few pieces that I cracked open with my hammer and chisel. A good rock can yield seemingly endless compositional possibilities. It takes persistence – but the results are worth the effort.


Here, two cephalopods crisscross, with a piece of coral breaking through one of them. Imagine this sea floor 385 million years ago – with this density of life forms.










A few days ago, I arrived early for the monthly meeting of the Beacon Artist Union. And, as I sat in the car in a steady rain, I realized I had a fine unexpected shooting opportunity…


This was exactly what it all looked like through the windshield.


No tricks. No filters. Just a steady rain.


During that meeting we dismantled the last show (Thanks to all my friends who visited). And we prepared for the upcoming show set to open this Saturday, April 12, 6-9 PM. The group show, entitled “Tasteless,” should be interesting! Who knows just where it will lead, but rest assured, this is a terrific group of artists and they are full of surprises. I’m glad to be a part of the group.

Here is one of my contributions, entitled “All American Dessert.”


Saturday will be busy starting with openings (upstairs and down) at WAAM in Woodstock. 4-6 PM. This work, from last week’s blog, was accepted into the juried Small Works show.


Then we go across the street to Oriole 9 for the opening of my Devonian Drawer show, 5-7 PM. If you are in the area please join us.

And from there we head down to Beacon for the Tasteless show, 6-9 PM, 506 Main Street. Also at bau, in Gallery 2, we will have a selection of works from our represented artists.

I hope to see you there.

0206: Sunday Drive

_MG_4678_01_LR_10This past week, in between snow storms, with country roads relatively dry, we managed to get out for a drive. Cindy at the wheel and me in the passenger seat. What a pleasure it is to view the local landscape without the burden of keeping one’s eyes on the road.

mg_4583_01_lra2_10And what a landscape it is around here!

_MG_4595_01_LR_10Both natural and man made.

IMG_6046_01_LR_10Miracle Mountain

_MG_4693_01_LR_10Strange remnants – The rear entrance or an underground bunker?

IMG_6019_01_LR_12An exit to where?

In this case, the fence belongs to a still surviving drive in movie.


Before I wrap up with a handful of fossil images I want to mention that the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM) is having its first shows of the new year. Juried shows both upstairs (Main Show) and downstairs (Small Works) will open this Saturday (Feb. 8, 4-6 PM). I’m pleased to say that I was accepted into both shows with an Honorable Mention in the main show.

Winter Scene_LRWinter Scene (upstairs)

IMG_2327_01a_enl copy_LRThe Luthier (Small Works)


IMG_2702_01b_LR_10As I continue sifting through my image libraries I have been reacquainting myself with some of my earliest fossil images.

IMG_3237_01b_LR_10Here are four that I decided to reconsider and rework.

IMG_2626_01b_LR_10I have a different set of eyes than I had when these were shot. And my approach has changed as well.

IMG_3239_01b_LR_10Fresh material!


This was end of day at the studio.

IMG_6057_01_LR_12Icicles, yes. But also longer days. I look forward to Spring!

Thanks for the 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.






A few from the cities and towns…





_MG_2963_01_LR_12Vinci 2




And finally some from the countryside.





_MG_3102_01_LR_10Umbria 2




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.


Thanks for visiting.

More images at www.artmurphy.com

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