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Beyond the sea

From BlackWhite magazine - issue 04, picks + tricks

BlackWhite editor Laura Lynn Johnston shares her top tips for bringing Resene's beautiful new limited-edition blues to your next project.

Resene Beyond the sea - paint colour chart

“Given that vivid blues are currently experiencing something of a renaissance, I can't think of a better time to have even more brave and bold colour options on the table. When Resene asked me to be the first designer to try out the colours from their brand-new limited edition ultramarine palette, it's safe to say I was beyond thrilled.

Ultramarine is an ultra-special pigment. It's made from lapis lazuli, a highly-prized mineral that began being mined in Afghanistan as far back as 7000 BC. For millennia, the stone was used to craft valuable artefacts, including statues, beads and masks for only the richest and most prominent political and religious figures. By the end of the Middle Ages, lapis lazuli began being exported to Europe where it was first ground into powder and made into ultramarine – which is widely considered to be the finest and most expensive of all blue pigments. During the ‘real' Renaissance and Baroque periods, ultramarine was used by some of the most prominent artists like Masaccio, Perugino, Titian and Vermeer who often reserved the precious hue for the clothing of the central figures of their paintings – especially important religious ones.

The Resene Beyond the sea palette itself is special, too. The six colours included on it, ranging from a blackened ultramarine blue through to an exuberant lighter blue, are the first instances that this ultramarine pigment has been used to make paint locally. So given that it is such a unique colourway, it also requires a uniquely toned base – which has only been formulated for Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen. That means these incredible colours are reserved for interior settings only. While that may seem like that limits your options for designing with them, we've come up with some clever tricks to stretch their creative uses further.

The Resene Beyond the sea range

Blue sculpture and artwork

Colour palette: The new Resene Beyond the sea palette features six brilliant new colours made from authentic ultramarine pigment: (from left to right) Resene Azur d'Acre, Resene Ultramarine, Resene Lapis Lazuli, Resene Brilliante, Resene Artiste and Resene Wild Blue Yonder. These hues are only available tinted into Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen, however, you may adjust the sheen by applying a topcoat in Resene Concrete Clear flat, satin or gloss. Backgrounds in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen, balls clear coated in Resene Concrete Clear gloss.  Sculpture/artwork: Wall and tabletop in Resene Wild Blue Yonder, circles in Resene Brilliante, sculpture and rocks in Resene Ultramarine and vases in (from left to right) Resene Lapis Lazuli, Resene Artiste, Resene Brilliante and Resene Azur d'Acre.

Firstly, Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen is generally the recommended choice for bringing enamel-style toughness to broadwall areas. And given that the blues in this ultramarine palette are such rich and vivid hues, it's ideal that they're available out of the tin in a low sheen finish that doesn't sacrifice durability. The finish greatly reduces reflected glare from interior spotlighting, accent lighting, task lighting or sunlight streaming in from outside, so your clients get to view these extraordinary colours in their full glory. And that also makes these hues epic options for feature walls in living rooms, bedrooms, offices and theatre-type spaces. The surface prep is exactly the same as when you use regular Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen. Once the surface is ready, apply the required Resene Acrylic Undercoat and allow it to dry before painting your topcoats – and three topcoats are recommended.

A blue home office

Using Resene blues on artwork

Office: Back wall in Resene Wild Blue Yonder, right wall and pencil cup in Resene Ultramarine, pendant lamp, vase, plant pots in Resene Black White and textured artwork created with Resene EzyFill topcoated in Resene Black White. Chair from Bauhaus, desk from Target Furniture, plinth and sculpture from Public Record.  Artwork/sculptures: Background in Resene Wild Blue Yonder, plinths and rocks in Resene Ultramarine and vase in Resene Black White. Sculptures and mobile from Public Record. Projects: Laura Lynn Johnston. Images: Bryce Carleton.

For projects with walls and ceilings where you want or need a higher sheen level, you can overcoat Resene ultramarine blues in Resene Concrete Clear flat, satin or gloss. Since trying the overcoating method myself, my head has been spinning with ideas for how it could be used on projects. For instance, I would leap at a chance to first paint a wall in Resene Lapis Lazuli or Resene Artiste and then overpaint a geometric design using Resene Concrete Clear gloss. Despite the mural being all in the same colour, the contrast in sheen levels would be clearly noticeable and increase the visual texture and interest in the space.

When it comes to the complexities of these colours, I think the best word to describe them is 'otherworldly' – which is what inspired me to channel the deep beyond in my colour and sheen experimentations. While the brilliance of these Resene ultramarine hues is something we've tried our best to capture the essence of in the imagery on these pages, there's just nothing quite like experiencing them in person. Dramatic, moody, exotic, brilliant and striking all at once; I simply can't wait to see all the creative ways you'll put them to use.”

top tip:  Resene ultramarine blues are available in Resene A4 drawdown paint swatches and tinted in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen. Order swatches of these hues online at

Resene Azur d'Acre

Resene Ultramarine

Resene Lapis Lazuli

Resene Brilliante

Resene Artiste

Resene Wild Blue Yonder

BlackWhite magazine

This is a magazine created for the industry, by the industry and with the industry – and a publication like this is only possible because of New Zealand and Australia's remarkably talented and loyal Resene specifiers and users.

If you have a project finished in Resene paints, wood stains or coatings, whether it is strikingly colourful, beautifully tonal, a haven of natural stained and clear finishes, wonderfully unique or anything in between, we'd love to see it and have the opportunity to showcase it. Submit your projects online or email You're welcome to share as many projects as you would like, whenever it suits. We look forward to seeing what you've been busy creating.

Earn CPD reading this magazine – If you're a specifier, earn ADNZ or NZRAB CPD points by reading BlackWhite magazine. Once you've read an issue request your CPD points via the CPD portal for ADNZ (for NZ architectural designers) or NZRAB (for NZ architects).

Return to BlackWhite, issue 04


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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

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