What does this have to do with art? In "Blue all over" I sang the praises of ultramarine blue, but it has since occurred to me that I would be misleading you, Dear Reader, to imply that all blues are cooperative team members. To employ a mixed geographical metaphor, Prussian (or phthalo) blue is a tartar! It simply cannot be trusted to play nicely.
I was warned by Kathy Marlene Bailey, who has mastered glaze oil and shares its mysteries, that it should not even be added to the palette until the final glazes. She was right: it is so finely textured that it insinuates itself everywhere, making even Greek yoghurt look like a slacker. More than once I have come home from shopping to discover that I have been parading a Prussian moustache around town . Why does no-one mention these things?
And why, then, include Prussian blue in such a spare palette as mine? Because it is the truest of glazes, ready to transform a pasty blue underpainted sky into a splendour. Do you remember the scene in Dances with Wolves when the camera swings up from the grisly horror of the butchered buffalo herd into that deep blue zenith of the sky? I caught my breath, recognizing that sky as that of my prairie childhood. The smoggy summers here had masked it so gradually that I had forgotten its deep loveliness. And I know that I can't paint it without that last glaze of pure Prussian blue.
Now it's back to the kitchen for me. Did I tell you that the cupboard doors were open during the Great Greek Disaster?