Mother Mars

An older oil painting of mine, embodying the Mother Nature on Mars and the ALH84001 meteorite. (Portions of this post are reposted from May 2008, with new images.) Click to enlarge.



This image appears in my latest calendar. Did you know you can choose which month my calendars start in?
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This painting was inspired by the Martian meteorite, ALH84001 and the inscription is carved into the rock in the bottom left.


The figure represents a mythology that never-was, the personification of Mother Nature on the planet Mars, wasted and haunting.



After struggling with a "mermaid's purse" shark egg to represent the false hope of organisms on Mars, I eventually attended a lecture at the University of Toronto where the topic of discussion was the possible discovery of fossil remnants in a meteor that originated on Mars. I learned about the magnetite chains found in the meteor, and watched a video of the cute little microbes whipping this way and that, following a moving magnet. I replaced the shark egg with an enlarged, ruptured microbe immediately.



Until that lecture, this painting sat unfinished and abandoned for over a year, and I was sure I would paint over it. It's something I seldom do, but I really wasn't fond of it. The addition of the magnetite-bearing microbe made all the difference to me.



The face was a sort of riff on the infamous hill-face on Mars, later proved to be simply a low-res, shadowed coincidence. I felt the debunked image lent a certain poignancy to Mother Mars.



Mars is what we make it. Perhaps a future mission will find signs of life in the Martian arctic? If not, it continues to be a planet of hope, and one we invest more myths, ideas and dreams in than any planet other than our own.



Here is one of Phoenix's photos of the Martian arctic:


© NASA

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Artwork Monday: Mother Mars

In honour of the Phoenix lander's successful touchdown in the Martian Arctic last night, I thought I would share a painting done a number of years ago.

Mother Mars

This painting was inspired by the Martian meteorite, ALH84001 and the inscription is carved into the rock in the bottom left.

The figure represents a mythology that never-was, the personification of Mother Nature on the planet Mars, wasted and haunting.

After struggling with a "mermaid's purse" shark egg to represent the false hope of organisms on Mars, I eventually attended a lecture at the University of Toronto where the topic of discussion was the possible discovery of fossil remnants in a meteor that originated on Mars. I learned about the magnetite chains found in the meteor, and watched a video of the cute little microbes whipping this way and that, following a moving magnet. I replaced the shark egg with an enlarged, ruptured microbe immediately.

Until that lecture, this painting sat unfinished and abandoned for over a year, and I was sure I would paint over it. It's something I seldom do, but I really wasn't fond of it. The addition of the magnetite-bearing microbe made all the difference to me.

The face was a sort of riff on the infamous hill-face on Mars, later proved to be simply a low-res, shadowed coincidence. I felt the debunked image lent a certain poignancy to Mother Mars.

Mars is what we make it. Perhaps Phoenix will find signs of life in the Martian arctic? If not, it continues to be a planet of hope, and one we invest more myths, ideas and dreams in than any planet other than our own.

Here is one of Phoenix's of the Martian arctic:

(Photo from NASA site) Make sure to head over to the Phoenix site over the coming days, weeks and months for astounding findings. Also, check out the ever-entertaining Bad Astronomy blog for more news and commentary.

Cheers, to all involved with the Phoenix project!
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All original artwork on
The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow. The contents of this blog are under a Creative Commons Licence. See sidebar for details.

Random News & Made-Up Hominid

-The Flying Trilobite is now on Fish Feet's blogroll!

Fish Feet is a fascinating site by Sarda Sahney, and she has added The Flying Trilobite to her blogroll. Sharks and Tyrannosaurs! Sweet!

-Next, may I introduce our drawing this evening, a made-up hominid I drew when I really felt like drawing some sciency (sciencish?) anatomy. Note the nifty cranial ridge for enlarged jaw muscles. It was fun to smudge the graphite for the skin on the lower left and draw really tight lines for the muscles next to it. Juxtoposition plays with you.

-While reading the May 21st 2007, edition of Maclean's today I note with sadness that The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins is sadly, no longer in their Top Ten Non-Fiction. Yes, lads & lasses, hang ye heads low. Lower. Ok stop.
Maclean's is kind of like Canada's answer to Time magazine, and I have been agreeing or disagreeing with their articles very strongly, which is what I look for in a magazine. The God Delusion hung on to a Top Ten spot for at least 28 weeks here in the Great White North.

-In other news, God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens has debuted at #1 on the Maclean's Top Ten Bestsellers, Non-Fiction. Way to carry that torch! Check out an exclusive excerpt here at Slate Magazine online.

-For fans of astronomy, I have been fascinated all week by a few pictures from the Cassini probe of a strange hexagon cloud system on the pole of Saturn. It's so creepily hexagonal, I'm sure conspiracy theories will run rampant over this. My vote is that the Saturnians are harboring weapons of mass destruction. Check it out over at the Jet Propulsion Labs' site.