Watercolor Lightfastness Testing

I swatched out 3 palettes of mine for testing lightfastness–my Muted Palette, Primary Palette, and a palette consisting of Da Vinci and American Journey watercolors. I think there may be 2 or 3 slightly fugitive colors, but I wanted to test all of these, so let’s see what happens. I included masstone and diluted swatches of each color as I’ve heard that some fade when diluted even when their masstone doesn’t show fading. These are swatched on Arches 140lb cold press paper.

Muted Palette

  • Lamp Black, Sennelier
  • Aquarius Gray, Roman Szmal
  • Warm Grey, Sennelier
  • Buff titanium, Daniel Smith
  • Cyprus Raw Umber, Roman Szmal
  • Sepia, Roman Szmal
  • Permanent Carmine, Winsor & Newton
  • Quin. Maroon, Roman Szmal
  • Quin. Red Gold, A. Gallo
  • Quin. Burnt Sienna, Roman Szmal
  • Gold Ochre, Winsor & Newton
  • Gold Ochre, A. Gallo
  • Quin. Gold, Roman Szmal
  • Olive Green, Daniel Smith
  • Olive Green Light, Roman Szmal
  • Chromium Oxide Green, A. Gallo
  • Green Earth, Roman Szmal
  • Perylene Green, Daniel Smith
  • Blue Spruce (custom mix)
  • Aqua Green, Winsor & Newton
  • Harbor Blue, A. Gallo
  • Indanthrone blue, Roman Szmal
  • Payne’s Gray, Winsor & Newton
  • Misty Morning, Roman Szmal

Primary Palette

I did not repeat the colors in my Primary Palette that are in my Muted Palette.

  • Quin. Rose, Daniel Smith
  • Coral (custom mix)
  • Transparent Orange, Winsor & Newton
  • Aussie Red Gold, Daniel Smith
  • Indian Yellow Hue, Jackson’s
  • Jackson’s Yellow Light, Jackson’s
  • Green Gold, Daniel Smith
  • Sap Green, QOR
  • Sap Green, Daniel Smith
  • Perylene Green, Daniel Smith
  • Phthalo. Green (B), Roman szmal
  • Transparent Turquoise, Roman Szmal
  • Cobalt Turquoise Light, Winsor & Newton
  • Cobalt Blue Violet, Daniel Smith
  • Mineral Violet, Roman Szmal
  • Payne’s Gray, Jackson’s
  • Sepia, Daniel Smith
  • Ochre Havana, Roman Szmal
  • Raw Sienna, Winsor & Newton

Da Vinci & American Journey Palette

  • Red Rose Deep, DV
  • Carmine Quinacridone, DV
  • Rose Dore, DV
  • Vermillion Hue, DV
  • Benzimidazalone Orange Deep, DV
  • Alizarin Gold, DV
  • Gold Ochre, DV
  • Arylide Yellow, DV
  • Hansa Yellow Light, DV
  • Green Gold, AJ
  • Olive Green, DV
  • Joyce’s Mother Green, DV
  • Chromium Oxide Green, DV
  • Perylene Green, DV
  • Blue Stone, AJ
  • Seaglass, DV
  • Prussian Blue (G), DV
  • Phthalo. Blue, DV
  • Indanthrone Blue, DV
  • Midnight Blue, AJ
  • Ultramarine Blue, DV
  • Ultramarine Violet, DV
  • Joyce’s Mother violet, DV
  • Shadow, AJ
  • Mauve, DV
  • Raw Umber Violet, AJ
  • Raw Umber, DV
  • Transparent Oxide Yellow, AJ
  • Raw Sienna, DV
  • Titan Buff, DV
  • French Grey, AJ
  • Pat’s Coastal Blue, AJ
  • Davy’s Gray, DV

I will cover half of each swatch, put these in a south facing window, and check on them monthly or semi-annually, so watch for updates if you’re interested. Also, I did not cut the swatches in half as many people do since I suspect it will be easier to see subtle shifts without it. Instead, I covered them with thick cardstock from the covers of watercolor paper blocks.

Update—Dec 8, 2022: It’s the next day and the swatches are now mounted in the window.

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