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View Full Version : Lightfastness Tests - Faber Castell Polychromos, Mt. Vision, Conte, Charvin and more


JamieWG
09-27-2015, 05:56 PM
I've run some lightfastness tests in 2015. They were in a south facing window, but there was some shade too, so those that have already faded or shifted color are definite no-nos!

First the bad news.
The Charvin "Water-Soluble Pastel Painting Sticks" (used to be called "Masters" brand), which are claimed to be "Pure Pigment * Lightfast Pastel Painting Sticks" are not all lightfast. I tested the full set of 48 and although the vast majority fared extremely well, many of the cool reds and violets failed. There are no numbers on the sticks, so I'm just going to pull the failed colors out of my set and toss them in the trash. If you have this set and want to do the same, you can try color matching from the image below. The image shows the test strip and control strip. I marked the control with an "x" below the six failed colors. Those are the ones to color match with the sticks and toss. You can see the fading and shifting that happened in this short period of time.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2015/13766-IMG_9049.JPG

I also tested the Faber-Castell Polychromos. Although I have the full set, I only tested those I thought likely to fade --- about 100 sticks. Only three have faded so far:
#128
#136
#137
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2015/13766-IMG_9048.JPG

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Sep-2015/13766-IMG_9047.JPG

Surprisingly to me, only one of my Conte Pastel Pencils faded. That was #12 (orange). I have a small set and tested them all. The ones that have not faded are 13, 47, 04, 14, 17, 40, 07, 03, 39, 41, 32, 05, 11, 01, 29, 46, 06, 16, 02, 34, 44, 20, 09

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The following brands and colors did not fade (yet) in my tests:

Alphacolor Grays - Alphacolor makes a very inexpensive set of black/white/grays that is wonderful for going out and doing some quick value studies. Since they were so cheap I thought I'd best test them. They did not fade at all. It's a best buy! :thumbsup:

Mt. Vision - I have the full set of Mt. Visions, but only tested these (some of my faves). None of them have changed. :)
303, 302, 301, 284, 283, 282, 281, 232, 231, 214, 211, 210, 194, 250, 602, 601, 600, 573, 391, 350, 393, 392

For anybody who's interested, I also simultaneously tested the Cretacolor Charcoal Powder, Sepia Powder, and all of the 5.6mm "Artist Leads" and they have all proved to be lightfast so far.

*Deirdre*
09-28-2015, 01:12 PM
Thanks Jamie, You're very kind to do this for us...I'll pop in in Pastel Talk, and leave a redirect...and eventually it will go to the learning Centre with the others:wave:

JamieWG
09-28-2015, 04:49 PM
Thank you, Deirdre. I didn't know where to put it. I know these kinds of things don't usually get much of a response, but it's still good info to have available for those who want it!

*Deirdre*
09-28-2015, 05:20 PM
Thank you, Deirdre. I didn't know where to put it. I know these kinds of things don't usually get much of a response, but it's still good info to have available for those who want it!
Sure is Jamie...Thanks for taking the time and trouble!:thumbsup:

robertsloan2
09-28-2015, 11:15 PM
Jamie, thank you! I have that set of Masters 48 colors but used them all mostly in sketchbooks and sketches on a paper I love that's not archival either - Bogus Recycled Rough paper. Sketches are stored in the dark. The ones I put up didn't fade but then, my room is pretty dark so maybe that's why. It's a surprise that some of the colors in it are sound and don't fade! Good to know, I might sort them and use the rest more.

Really good to know about the Mount Visions. I fantasize about getting a large full range and MV is one of the brands I've always considered - especially if I start painting large again. I have the Chromatic set and love the colors, now I want tints and shades of them. And maybe some muted colors, Thunderstorms set, Tropical set... oh I could put together quite an order from MV.

I've got the full range box of Faber Castells too, thanks for that. I don't have them with me but I will get them again eventually and will be sure to bookmark this thread to check off those few colors. Mark them in some way, tape around thm, because I do use fugitive colors for preliminaries, sketchbook works and anything that'll be kept in the dark. Also ephmeral uses like Christmas decorations.

Which was the best painting I ever did with the Masters ones - sketched some large Christmas balls based on quite small ones and hung the painting on the wall for the holidays. Really liked that till it got water damaged. Now I don't hang anything next to the sink.

Mike L
10-01-2015, 12:52 PM
That is really great information. Thanks for taking the time to do the testing and for posting the results.

R/Mike

JustinM
10-02-2015, 03:26 PM
Thanks Jamie, These sort of tests are always very useful/valuable.


Surprisingly to me, only one of my Conte Pastel Pencils faded. That was #12 (orange). I have a small set and tested them all. The ones that have not faded are 13, 47, 04, 14, 17, 40, 07, 03, 39, 41, 32, 05, 11, 01, 29, 46, 06, 16, 02, 34, 44, 20, 09

Yes, ive been very happy with the overall lightfastness of the contes. I still consider them the best/ my favourite pastel pencil...if only there was a way to sharpen them without burning through any sharpener/blade ive found!

MChesleyJohnson
10-03-2015, 04:46 PM
Good work, and thanks, Jamie. I had purchased Polychromos under the impression that, unlike the NuPastels, they didn't fade. Now I know better! :(