Ultramarine blue is one of those amazing electric colors that you want to fall into. I first fell in love with the crayola color, then Golden Acrylic’s Ultramarine Blue Deep Hue. It was my go-to blue!
Ultramarine blue was originally made from lapis lazuli, which contains rivers of pyrite (I grew up calling that “fool’s gold.”) It was finely ground into oil and used by Renaissance artists, especially in their depictions of the Virgin Mary’s gowns. lapis became the catch word associated with the color, and the names in various languages are azure, azur, and azul, to name a few.
Gamblin Oils are my go-to oils; Gamblin’s Ultramarine blue is shown right. “Blue is the most commonly confused color in terms of its hue temperature. There is a widely held misconception that all blues are cool. This is not at all the case: Prussian, Cobalt, and Phthalo Blue, for example, are warm, and Ultramarine Blue is so warm that it’s almost purple.” (Gamblin’s comments on his Blues page.) Robert Gamblin discusses his early trials with making oils as the masters may have made them; he tried lapis along with many other minerals.
Daniel Smith makes a French Ultramarine Watercolor, but he is also making Genuine Lapis Lazuli Watercolor in their Primatek Line, shown below. I am dying to try some — I love the granular effect of the ground mineral line!
Below, a very cool video of the making of Genuine Lapis Lazuli Watercolor : The Art of Making Watercolor!
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Thanks to Wikipedia for the Lapis image.