Lapis Lazuli

April 5, 2019
My heart surges even when I mix paint.
Knowing the histories spring each tube to life.
For example, what is now referred to as “ultramarine blue” originally came from the gemstone Lapis Lazuli mined in Afghanistan.
I always thought that it was named for its deep blue color but really “ultra” refers to “over” and “marine” refers to “sea” because traders from Italy would have to cross “over the sea” to get it.
I picture the negotiations back then, golden coins in exchange for a color.  It was so expensive that patrons in the renaissance would base how much blue could be used based on what they could afford for the commission.
You can still buy the gemstone version of it today.
Empowering an artist with the knowledge of their materials is like giving a superhero a cape and the power to just put an arm up and take off in the sky.