Friday, June 27, 2014

Sacré bleu

My husband was reading the novel by Christopher Moore Sacre blue and either neglected to tell me or notice that a motif centering around blue, a particular blue used by artists for centuries might interest me...more than a little.

 "The translation of sacré bleu is sacred blue," says Moore., in an interview with NPR "In medieval times, the church said that if you are going to portray the Virgin Mary's cloak, it has to be in a certain shade of blue. And that blue must be ultramarine, because ultramarine blue is permanent. It doesn't go black or fade as organic colors do. And that is made essentially from crushed lapis lazuli, which is only available in Afghanistan. If you think about the 11th and 12th century, trying to get a stone from Afghanistan to Europe, for years and right up into the 19th century, was more valuable, weight for weight, than gold."

French blue or Ultramarine is a favorite of mine to use as it has a bit of red making it lean towards violet but more because it never dulls as some colors can when thinned or white is added. My friend, artist Christina Baker and I had a discussion about blue and it led to her suggestion to combine a few of my recent works containing this historically important and marvelous color.

I thought you might enjoy the first page of text from Christopher Moore's book Sacré bleu. After reading it I was stunned that my husband did not hand the book directly to me. Apparently he has underestimated my interest in color.

Prelude in Blue
This is a story about the color blue. It may dodge and weave, hide and deceive, take you down paths of love and history and inspiration, but its always about blue.
How do you know, when you think blue- when you say blue-that you are talking about the same blue as anyone else?
You cannot get a grip on blue.
Blue is the sky, the sea, a god's eye, a devil's tail, a birth , a strangulation, a virgin's cloak, a monkey's ass. It's a butterfly, a bird, a spicy joke, the saddest song, the brightest day.
Blue is sly, slick, it slides into the room sideways, a slippery trickster.
This is a story about the color blue, and like blue, there is nothing true about it. Blue is beauty, not truth. "True blue" is a ruse, a rhyme; it's there, then it's not. Blue is a deeply sneaky color.
Even deep blue is shallow.
Blue is glory and power, a wave, a particle, a vibration, a resonance, a spirit, a passion, a memory, a vanity, a metaphor a dream.
Blue is a simile.
Blue, she is like a woman.


Are you a fan of any particular blue?


Christina Baker said...

I just love what you have created here and how you shared your inspiring & beautiful story of the color blue. Your work show is just breathtaking.

Karena Albert said...

Kerry Ultramarine is my favorite of the blues, of course I love, love the jewel tones and this color has so much history behind it.

The Arts by Karena

Vel Criste said...

So informative Kerry, never knew that the term had an interesting story behind it.

Kristen @ Pursuing Vintage said...

THanks for sharing a bit of the history! Beautiful color - beautiful work.

Nancy {at} powellbrower at home said...

I love blue, a brilliant cobalt, or a periwinkle with a hint of lavender. Great collection of paintings! Have a great weekend. xo Nancy

Anonymous said...

I’ve got to read that book. Did your husband enjoy it? Had no idea that was the meaning of “sacré bleu” but did hear many references to lapis lazuli when we were in Italy. It was a sign of wealth that tour guides love to point out right along with gold.

home before dark said...

I love the deep saturated luminous side of blue. Pastel blues give me the blues.

Natasha Stevens said...

Can't wait to check out that novel and I think you have convinced me to paint my Front door French blue. This is a really great Van Gogh biography that recently came out. Fascinating. The author also proposes that he did not commit suicide.

Natasha Stevens said...

Oops. Here is the link.

An Urban Cottage said...

Interesting stuff I never knew.

I love the color of ultramarine but in watercolor, ultramarine is semi-transparent so the solids would tend to settle in the grooves of the paper if you water it down. And since it's semi-transparent, it's not the best for layering because it can turn muddy. I would tend to use cobalt but it also faded back when it dried so you really had be a little heavy-handed with it.

Lenny Lianne said...

The book, Sacre Bleu, is a humorous,
sometimes hilarious, book set in
19th century Montmatre where the
Impressionists hung out. The text
is printed in blue ink. It was a fun

heather gilmour said...

Nice work, thanks for sharing!
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Amira Rahim said...

Oh so beautiful! Love the story behind the beautiful paintings you've created. I'm a fan of prussian blue for sure.