View Full Version : Lightfast Test

Phil Bates
05-25-2009, 02:00 PM
For what it's worth I ran the following test several months ago. The purpose was to test the lightfastness of the most vulnerable colors, the brilliant reds and oranges of multiple pastel brands. I did not record the identifying names/numbers of the sticks, just the brands. I included Holbein watercolor as well since I use that for underpainting.

I purposefully did not test NuPastel because I know there are lightfast issues with reds in that brand. (in retrospect, I wish I had included them for comparison)

First, I made solid strokes of color on a piece of mounted Wallis paper. Then I covered the bottom half of the marks with a piece of matte board, taping the edges with black tape (the black tape did not touch the pastel). Here is what it looked like:


I placed this in a south facing window that received partial sun.

After three months, I took it down and removed the cover:

As you can see, there is virtually no change. This surprised me but made me feel more secure about using these pastel brands. The only one I noticed was the Great American yellow-orange and the Holbien watercolor Carmine, both of which showed only a very slight change, not really enough to concern me.

In addition, I ran the same test using the UArt sanded paper (dull yellowish color) that is currently available. Please note, this is NOT the same UArt sanded paper (light beige color) that will be introduced soon.


As you can see, it is subject to fading. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE UArt paper, but if I am going to leave transparent areas or watercolor underpainting showing, it is helpful to know that things may change over time.

(Again, this is NOT the new UArt paper that will be shown at IAPS which is more beige in color. I am currently running another test on that one, but it will be a while before I know the results.)


Paula Ford
05-25-2009, 03:10 PM
This is so helpful Phil. I hope the test on the new Uart turns out better. It's a great product.

Thanks for doing this. Very interesting and informative.

Donna T
05-25-2009, 03:30 PM
Very interesting, Phil. Thanks so much for doing this and letting us know that most of our favorite pastels passed the test with flying colors. I guess we should be sure to cover our UArt for now ... although I might just put my unused sheets in the sun because I prefer that faded color to the original.


nana b
05-25-2009, 08:13 PM
That's very interesting. The colors still look great except the two you mentioned. Thanks for sharing.
The fading of the Uart paper is something we need to keep in mind for the very reason you stated, although I usually cover completely. I do love that paper..wish I could afford their boards. But it's not too much trouble to mount them yourself. Again, thanks for sharing...


05-26-2009, 12:05 AM
I find this really, really helpful, Phil. Thank you so much for sharing your findings!

05-26-2009, 11:56 AM
Great info Phil, Thanks.:thumbsup:

05-26-2009, 05:24 PM
Personally, I find sennelier to have fantastic reds and oranges. They are very vivid. Actually, I would like to have more greyed out oranges and reds in my colliction. As far as colors goes, from my experience it is the violets and red-violet colors which give me the most trouble in the lightfastness department.

05-27-2009, 12:01 PM
Not surprised. I asked Ricahrd McKinley specficaly about UART at the Santa Barbara workshop. His responce was that there is a lot to like about it but the one area he has an issue is that the pigment used to dye the sheet is not light fast. Otherwise, it is a great alternative to Wallis.