U is for Ultramarine: A-to-Z Challenge

web self portrait1Ultramarine 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!



727px-Lapis-lazuli_hgUltramarine blue was originally made from lapis lazuli, which contains rivers of pyrite (I grew up calling that “fool’s gold.”)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.

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in acrylic, color, oil paint, watercolor and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to U is for Ultramarine: A-to-Z Challenge

  1. Sammy D. says:

    That is stunning, Katie. Ultramarine, lapis, azure – they are all exotic names that do justice to that spectacular color.


  2. Raquel says:

    The lapis watercolor is way, way cool. I adore the stone, painting with it would be magical.

    When started studying painting, my teacher wouldn’t allow students to use black paint, saying that teenagers relied on it wayyyy too much. She forced us to make out own blacks… and equal parts of ultramarine and burnt umbre make a fantastic black. One of the first things that comes up whenever anyone mentions ultramarine 😉


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