View Full Version : Lightfastness of Pastels

11-13-2006, 04:51 PM
Hi everyone!

I'm pretty new to pastels and I was wondering if anyone knows of a lightfast chart I can get that covers all (or as many as possible) the pastel brands? I would really like to be able to find out about the lightfastness of the different brands without having to go to each brand's website. Anyone know anything about this??


11-13-2006, 05:05 PM
yeah, the more $$, the more lightfast!!

really tho., dont' know of such a thing, seems some put a code on the wrappers, some on the color charts. but i also just buy the top brands and not worry about it.

11-13-2006, 05:15 PM
avoid the nupastels, and the reds LOL....

11-13-2006, 09:37 PM
You might want to search the forums. There have been a number of threads about this. Also search the web in general. There are some good pastel resources out there. I have been to a number of websites, but information is scarce. The rembrandt site has a colour chart with lightfastness ratings. A few of the reds and violets are listed as only 10-25 years, about 1/3 of the colors are listed as 25-100 years. The remaining 155 colors are listed at 100+ years. All these years are under "museum" conditions, of course!

In general, the higher priced supplies are better. Professional grade are better than student grade. Sometimes that can be confusing as well. Some art supply stores catagorize Nupastels as student grade, others list it as professional grade.

Personally, I think too much concern exists about lightfastness. The key, it seems to me, is not what supplies you use - but to frame your work under glass and keep it out of direct sunlight. I have pastels done 20 to 30 years ago that have not faded at all. I have a watercolor done 30 years ago - done with the cheapest possible craft store watercolor pan set - that has been framed under glass all these years with no fading.

The unfortunate reality is that we will fade and be gone long before our artwork is.


11-14-2006, 03:33 AM
Thank you Don and Harvest moom. Since I do commissions, I am concerned about the lightfast ratings of pastels. I am just starting to use pastels seriously, but have been doing commissions in colored pecnil for a couple of years now. Stupid me never thought about pastels & lightfast ratings. Duh! I checked out the pastel library first before posting this, but didn't find anything on the subject. Guess I'll just have to do it the hard way. *sigh* Oh well. :rolleyes:

11-14-2006, 07:30 AM
I ordered the manufacturer's color charts form Dakota Pastels. The lightfastness rating of each color is on the charts. I think the whole group cost about $6 US when I bought them.

Katherine T
11-14-2006, 09:17 AM
If you go to the Heaton Cooper site you can obtain and print a list which gives the lightfastness for all Schminke pastels http://www.heatoncooper.co.uk/frame3.html

I gather the main issue re pastels and lightfastness is that there is no internationally recognised standard - which I find somewhat difficult to comprehend if this is indeed the case. How come?

11-14-2006, 11:56 AM
If you're doing commissions, you might propose to your clients that they "go the extra mile" and frame with UV glass. This is probably your best best.

11-21-2006, 08:21 AM
I've started putting a small card on the back of my framed works, advising people that hanging any kind of artwork in direct sunlight is not advisable, even if high-quality pigments have been used.
Trouble is that once you've sold a picture, you've got no control over what people do with it, or where they hang it. At least by providing some written notification, you can "cover your back" a bit if the work did fade as a result of improper care by the buyer.
I was interested in the comment about "UV glass"....never heard of it. I thought that simple ordinary windowglass was capable of blocking a lot of UV radiation, and that it all depended on how thick the glass was;. i.e thicker glass stops more UV.

11-21-2006, 05:35 PM
Ordinary glass blocks the shorter wavelengths of UV, but not the longer ones. It's better for blocking UVB and UVC than UVA. It stops about 70% of the UV radiation in sunlight.