This is one of my night sky paintings:
Haven, 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals
I like lighthouses, although I wasn’t thinking of any particular place when I painted this. I wanted the painting to be mostly about the beauty of the sky, overwhelming the tiny symbol on the horizon, a theme I’ve been working with in many forms. This painting features a lot of Smalt Hue, one of Golden’s historic colors.
Smalt Hue is a modern synthetic approximation of the blue color that was once made from ground cobalt glass in 16th and 17th century paintings in place of Ultramarine or Cobalt blue, which were made from crushed precious stones and very costly to use. Blue is a rarity in Renaissance paintings due to cost of the pigments. The method of making blue paint from cobalt glass was much less expensive, but the colors faded over time.
Working with modern paints, I don’t have to think much about the relative cost of the colors on my palette (although some still cost more than others) or worry about the lightfastness. I still discovered Smalt Hue as a beginner artist because it was relatively inexpensive (as a Series 1 color, it costs roughly half as much as Cobalt Blue, which is Series 8) and I fell in love with the slightly purplish shade for skies. As you can see from the swatch on the tube, it’s very transparent and easy to layer.
The other main colors are Paynes Gray and Dioxazine Purple, with some Titan Buff in there for the moon: