Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ultramarine blue

I worked about a 14 hour day today and I can barely focus my eyes. I guess I am burning the candle at both ends. I discovered tonight that I wrote a whole post on alizarin and spelled it with an i instead of an a throughout. I re-edited that. I work to eliminate typos, bu they just happen. Spell check doesn't know a lot of the art words. I guess it is inescapable that the blog is a little home-made. No editor and written in failing condition. Well lets see if I can spit out another.

Ultramarine is the color I use most after white, I keep trying to change that and I do cut down for a while, but it is still the case. Ultramarine is a modern synthetic substitute for the lapis lazuli blue that was used until the b1820's when it was superseded by the synthetic. Lapis was an important color in the days of illuminated manuscripts as it looked good with gold. It was however tremendously expensive. Many painters did without blue and "spoofed it with ivory black, until the synthetic became available.

Ultramarine is a light fast, clear and strong blue, that sometimes has a slight reddish cast. Poorer grades are either stringy or waxy, so it important to buy a good grade of this color. Again as I said last night, all of the major professional brands are fine.

Ultramarine blue is useful in painting shadows, skies and mixed with cool reds makes a fine violet. It pairs well with burnt sienna, it's near compliment and that is excellent for lay-ins as they can be varied in color temperature. More tomorrow when I am rested.

16 comments:

Debra Norton said...

I got a good laugh out of this post! Either you're spoofing your spelling or you're really really tired. I'm wondering why you try to cut down on ultramarine, and what do you use instead? Thanks, love this blog!

René PleinAir. said...

Looking forward to it.

Sleep well.

Gregory Becker said...

Have you ever tried your hand at making your own piments?

mariandioguardi.com said...

Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy; some of the most opulent use of lapis lazuli blue along with gold and silver leaf halos in the frescoes of Giotto. Giotto was commissioned by an evil financiers son to restore the good name of his father so Giotto had a limitless budget and used lapis lazuli to his hearts content.

Many of the older landscape and marine painters recommend FRENCH ultramarine blue. It's semi-transparent and gentler and moving much closer to purple.
I haven't successfully substituted on my pallet for ultramarine I am thinking that using French ultramarine and cobalt on a and landscape pallet could do it all. What do you think?

John D. Wooldridge said...

Hey Stape

Any chances of coming back down south to Mississippi or surrounding area for a workshop again next year?

Jody said...

Stape, thanks for that; and for the effort after a long day! Ultramarine is back on the menu!

Bill said...

I love Ultramarine blue. In watercolor, Ultramarine and Cerulean are all the blues I need. I need Cobalt as well in oil paint though.

Richard J. Luschek II said...

These are some great posts Stape.
When will you be posting about our favorite tube of paint- Flesh?

Seriously though, have you ever used Sevres? That is a great blue for the sky, and I find it very useful for light grass. It has a wonderful intensity.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Debra:
No spoof. I was so tired I couldn't function.I get tired of having all of that blue and want more red and yellow.
.......................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Rene'
I did sleep well and then did it all again today.
....................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Gregory;
I have done a little of that, but I prefer to leave it to the pros. I have enough to do.I just want to paint.
...............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Marianne;
I will use French ultramarine if it offered. I like the ultramarine from RGH well enough.
......................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

John;
I am on the list for next year.
.................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Jody;
I think of ultramarine as a staple.
......................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bill;
If I have those two, I am fine.
..................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Richard;
I believe Sevres blue is a pthalo and titanium mix.
...............Stape