Hematite and oil on canvas
Dimensions: 52cm (H) x 72cm (W) x 3.6cm (D) / 20.5" (H) x 28.3" (W) x 1.4" (D)
Note: Actual colours may vary due to photography & computer settings.
A sunset seen from the surface of Mars, painted with Hematite. Hematite is an iron oxide and takes its name from the Greek word for blood. Fine grained hematite is responsible for Mars's red hue.
Sunsets on Mars can appear blue because of the scattering of red light in its dusty atmosphere. The original photo I painted from was taken by Nasa's Spirit Rover from the surface of Mars.
Hematite is a fairly soft rock and breaks down into a very highly pigmented powder. A process called levigation was then used (suspending in water so the heavy particles sink, then pour off the water containing the fine particles) and once completely dry I had a very fine powder.
Hematite powder binds very well with oil, creating a very strong deep red paint immediately reminiscent of the rusty planet. It mixes wonderfully well with browns and oranges helping to produce the full tonal range of Mars.
This work was exhibited in my solo show Celestial Light (London, 2021)
I source my hematite from Cumbria, UK.
Size unframed: 70 x 50 x 1.9 cm
Size framed: 72 x 52 x 3.6 cm
Based in: London
Mark Batty lives and works in London. After graduating in Illustration in 2013 he changed his focus to fine art, specifically painting. After studying astronomy at school and joining a local observers group, he made the cosmos his artistic focus by examining the ethereal yet overwhelming nature of space through oil paint.
Through practice-based research and collaboration with astronomers and geologists, Batty’s work explores the relationship between science and art. He represents stellar regions, which reconfigure the aesthetic of the landscape through astronomical mapping. He brings materiality to his astronomic subject matter by grinding his own pigments with geological substances such as dust from lunar meteorites.
Recent exhibitions include Celestial Light, London (2021), Possible Futures, London (2021), Inner Space alongside works by Oliver Beer, Henry Moore, Lynn Chadwick and Katie Patterson, London (2020), From the Studio Floor, Cambridge (2020), Captive State, London (2019).
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