Into the blue

It catches me this feeling,
sinking deep into your blue.
Lost, I drown in crystal streams,
this source I drink from you.

You are the blue of heaven’s sky,
The rich of velvet robe.
Free falling through your ocean eyes ,
My rescue thrown no rope.

When God breathed life into your shine,
A priceless jewel was hewn.
A gift for all that look on you,
Beneath the stars and moon


Detail featuring the Virgin Mary, from the ceiling of the Capella degli Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), in Padua, magnificently adorned with Giotto frescoes in ca. 1305. For the luminous blue throughout Giotto made use of ultramarine, which, due to its chemistry and expense, had to be applied on top of the already-dry fresco (fresco secco) — Source (Photo: José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The artist who could find a patron with deep pockets would be inclined towards the finest blue. When the Italian traveller Marco Polo reached what is today Afghanistan around 1271, he visited a quarry on the remote headwaters of the Oxus River. “Here there is a high mountain”, he wrote, “out of which the best and finest blue is mined.” The region is now called Badakshan, and the blue stone is lapis lazuli, the source of the pigment ultramarine.

(Public domain review)

Ultramarine blue was deeply revered in the Middle Ages, a colour rich, beautiful, and most perfect, beyond all other colours. As the name implies, it came from “beyond the seas” — imported, since around the thirteenth century, at great expense from the Badakshan mines.

Detail from “The Ascension” (folio 184r) from the Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, ca. 1412

Ultramarine was precious not just because it was a rare import, but because it was extremely laborious to make. Lapis lazuli is veined with the most gorgeous deep blue, but grinding it is typically disappointing: it turns greyish because of the impurities in the mineral. These impurities have to be separated from the blue material, which is done by kneading the powdered mineral with wax and washing the wax in water — the blue pigment flushes out into the water. This has to be done again and again to purify the pigment fully. The finest grades of ultramarine come out first, and the final flushes give only a low-quality, cheaper product, called ultramarine ash. The best ultramarine cost more than its weight in gold in the Middle Ages, and so it was usually used sparingly. To paint so extensively with the colour, as Giotto did in the Arena Chapel, was lavish in the extreme.

More often the medieval painter would use ultramarine only for the most precious components of a painting. That seems to be the real reason why most altarpieces of this period that depict the Virgin Mary show her with blue robes. For all that art theorists have attempted to explain the symbolic significance of the colour; the hue of humility or virtue, for example, it was largely a question of economics. Or, you might say, of making precious materials a devotional offering to God.

Drawn to Blue

Singing the Blues Allan

Reflection Liz

Blue door Liz

Glimpse of sky Liz


First I rush on in

Stay a while then retreat

Seas ancient rhythm

Hydrangea Heather

Mop Head Hydrangea

Blowsy Blooms in shades of blue

acid to stay Blue

Blue Acrylic Pour Edna

Blue represents both the sky and the sea, and is associated with open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, expansiveness, inspiration, and sensitivity. Blue also represents meanings of depth, trust, loyalty, sincerity, wisdom, confidence, stability, faith, heaven, and intelligence.

The color blue has positive affects on the mind and the body. As the color of the spirit, it invokes rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming and exude feelings of tranquility. Blue helps to slow human metabolism, is cooling in nature, and helps with balance and self-expression. Blue is also an appetite suppressant.

Blue can be strong and steadfast or light and friendly. Blue is used to symbolize piety and sincerity in heraldry. The color blue in many cultures is significant in religious beliefs, brings peace, or is believed to keep the bad spirits away. In Iran, blue is the color of mourning while in the West the something blue bridal tradition represents love.

Mountain Bluebird

The blue color communicates significance, importance, and confidence without creating somber or sinister feelings. This is where the corporate blue power suit and the blue uniforms of police officers and firefighter came from. Considered a highly corporate color, blue is often associated with intelligence, stability, unity, and conservatism.

Blue gemstones are believed to aid in creating calm and relaxation in crisis situations or chaotic situations, to open the flow of communication between loved ones, to feel genuinely inspired, and to gain the courage to speak from the heart.

Different shades, tints, and hues of blue have different meanings. For example, dark blue can be seen as elegant, rich, sophisticated, intelligent, and old-fashioned, royal blue can represent superiority, and light blue can mean honesty and trustworthiness.

Additional words that represent different shades, tints, and values of the colour blue: sapphire, azure, beryl, cerulean, cobalt, indigo, navy, royal, sky blue, baby blue, robin’s egg blue, cyan, cornflower blue, midnight blue, slate, steel blue, Prussian blue.

Have a peek at this site for more painterly information on the colour Blue

Keep sending in your blue photographs and paintings for this gallery page xx

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