I’ve been watching with some interest “A History of Art in Three Colours” on BBC 4 on Saturday evenings. The first episode, narrated by Dr James Fox, looked at the way gold has been used in art over the centuries. Last Saturday it was the turn of the colour Blue.
The programme began on the Venetian Lagoon and told the story of how the precious stone Lapis Lazuli was brought 3500 miles across the Mediterranean from a land that is now Afghanistan, to the edge of Europe. The Lapis Lazuli was ground to dust and the precious powder was then purified into a pigment which could be painted with. The colour blue was to transform the world of art.
It’s a colour which I’ve used extensively throughout my 32 years as an artist but none more so in the last 5 years when I have been painting on location in Oman. In 2007 I visited Sur for the first time, a coastal town renowned for its building of dhows. From that trip I produced this small original watercolour which I’ve reproduced as a limited edition print. I remember the day as being incredibly hot and the sky being a very intense blue as I sketched the dhows not far from the spot where I’ve painted the old watch tower in the painting above.