topiary cats

topiary cats

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


Ultramarine blue used to be the most expensive pigment on planet earth, made of lapis lazuli. Painters had to grind and purifty the lapis themselves, and each batch made different grades, the first being the best. Traditionally it was reserved for the Virgin Mary.  Wealthy patrons would show off by how much blue was in their commissioned paintings.  Afghanistan was the primary source for the stone.

Nowadays ultramarine is synthetically made and very inexpensive.  Synthetic ultramarine is more intense than lapis.  I do not have a tube of genuine ultramarine, though it can be had- but astoundingly, as of right now, I don't want it.

A very nice piece of Lapis Lazuli

I got two (2) new ultramarine colors, which prompted me to pull out all of my ultramarines and make a chart. My new additions are the Sennelier Ultramarine Rose (PR259) and the Williamsburg Ultramarine Pink (PV15).

I thought I had a Williamsburg 
and maybe I did at some point 
but I don't now

As it turns out, I have some duplicates...... oh well, whatever, I don't care.  I can and will always use ultramarine.

Here is a chart of my ultramarines- they are all single pigment colors straight from the tube and mixed with titanium. I used Gamblin's solvent free gel for the transparent swatches.  All the ultramarines are somewhat transparent.  Very pretty.

Vasari and Williamsburg have Ultramarine Violets (PV15) which look like the Rembrandt's U. Violet.  WB PV15 and Rembrandt PV15 are both very different!!  I have not seen another PV15 like the Ultramarine Pink.

I painted this little canvas a while ago 
with ultramarine green, 
to show the transparency
in three layers.
It dries kinda matte so needs a gloss varnish.
It has way more depth with gloss.

The ultramarine green is made by Rembrandt (Royal Talens), and according to the pigment database no one else makes it, at least for oil. Kremer Pigments has it dry.  Here is what Blick says about it:

The name for this pigment comes from the Middle Latin ultra, meaning beyond, and mare, meaning sea, because it was imported from Asia to Europe by sea. It was introduced in Germany in 1828, but it never became popular. However, it was manufactured until 1960. It can still be found through pigment specialists or as part of low-cost oil colors or watercolors.

So, while it is by no means an essential (or even non-essential) part of anyone's palette, and it is unpopular, and old, and very weak tinting, and only one paint maker even bothers with it, and it is cheap, and easily duplicated with prettier pthalos or cobalts, and the pigment hasn't been made for more than 50 years because no one cares about it--- me myself personally, I LOVE IT. I have yet to use it in a painting but that is beside the point.

It's pretty cool to know, actually, that the pigment in my paint is at least 55 years old! And that's if it was made in its last year of manufacturing!


I once was lost, but now I'm found

Card today is Spark (upright)

My interpretation: Creative endeavours are an act of love from within to without.The flowing of Divine inspiration.  It is an act of giving and beauty.  The figure is in a wild, natural place, and as an added bonus she has green hair which I like very much. She holds the instrument- it plays yet she herself is not playing it.  She is a channel.

3+4=7 numerology 
Positive Characteristics: 7 isn't just a lucky number. It's also spiritual, intelligent, analytical, focused, introspective, studious, intuitive, knowledgeable, contemplative, serious, persevering, refined, gracious and displays much inner wisdom.

The booklet says 
"You are a clear channel for divine creativity"
Pretty much everything I said in my own interpretation, a good time to give birth to an idea.


  1. Oh, I love all your ultramarines. And now I have paint lust..

  2. Such beautiful colors!

  3. Oh, I love that color chart. <3

    And the pretty medium bottle.


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