Monday, May 16, 2011

Still Life of Lapis Lazuli, Semi Precious, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Semi Precious
9x12 oil on canvas

Lapis Lazuli has a long history in the world of art.  An expensive natural mineral, this blue stone was ground into a fine powder, washed repeatedly to remove impurities and then mixed with a drying oil to create oil paint.  Vermeer used it extensively.   Unlike many of his contemporaries who used the much cheaper azurite, he liked to paint with this more expensive blue, and his patrons liked the prestige of knowing their purchases contained the 'real thing'.

In the 1800's a synthetic blue pigment replaced this expensive mineral in the creation of  ultramarine blue paint.   Whenever I squeeze some ultramarine blue onto my palette I think of Vermeer, and realize how lucky I am to be able to use it whenever I want.
Lapis lazuli was, and still is, a popular choice in jewelry design.  The necklace above, which I painted laying on orange and ochre stripped silk fabric was from a previous post, but I wanted to let you see it again.

9x12 oil on canvas

No comments: