February 22

At the beginning of the year I asked myself, why is it that I hardly ever use Ultramarine blue? So I set myself the task of finding out more about it and what colour mixes I can create and which brands of acrylics I enjoyed using the most.

According to Wikipedia ‘Ultramarine was the finest and most expensive blue used by Renaissance painters. It was often used for the robes of the Virgin Mary, and symbolized holiness and humility’.

To start with I collected all of the Ultramarine Blue acrylic paint brands I could find. See the image above:
Here they are in order from left to right:
1.Winsor & Newton Galeria Student quality
2. Abstract 314 by Sennelier
3. Winsor & Newton Professional
4. Seawhite  340 Student quality
5.Liquitex Professional Heavy Body (Red shade)
Although I do not teach on ‘colour theory’ – I do enjoy ‘colour mixing’ to discover different colour palettes I love to use in my paintings.
Ultramarine Blue is a warm blue containing traces of red. It sits towards Violet on the color wheel. To start with I mixed a 50:50 ratio of each blue with a System 3 ‘Buff Titanium’ using a palette knife. This was to see how well each brand mixed and changed the tonal value. The sketchbook is  a medium (195mm x 195mm) by Seawhites.  It’s a chunky, square sketchbook and has 188 pages of sturdy, 140gsm cartridge paper. 
Mixing a 50:50 ratio of Ultramarine Blue with Buff Titanium
1st mix a 50:50 ratio of Ultramarine Blue with Buff Titanium
Next add a 50:50 ratio of White Titanium into the 1st mix

Next add a 50:50 ratio of White Titanium into the 1st mix to create a tint – (Tints are created when you add white to any hue on the color wheel. This will lighten it making it less intense).

Finally, I add a touch of the System 3 Payne’s Grey to the first mix to darken it and enjoyed using the colours to create a semi-abstract seascape in my sketchbook.

In conclusion the brand of colour I really enjoyed using the most were the:

Abstract 314 by Sennelier

Winsor & Newton Professional

Liquitex Professional Heavy Body (Red shade)

This was due to their mixing abilities and pigments. The student brands blended well and are well worth considering as a beginner and first starting out with acrylic paints.

More monthly inspirations to follow…