Lightfastness Test Strips
(bottom half is the sun-exposed section)
Back in January, I painted these test strips of Mission Gold watercolors because I was concerned about the lightfastness of the pigments used in manufacturing these paints. As I've reported before, I cut the sheet down the center and put half in a drawer in my flat files and half on an enclosed porch that gets a few hours of strong sun on clear days. Despite the limited sun exposure during our rainy winter months, there are definite changes to many of these pigments.
The sun-exposed yellow has become darker in the full-strength strip, but other colors have either become slightly dull or are changing color slightly. At full strength, permanent rose, permanent violet, and burnt sienna are faded and somewhat duller now and prussian blue is slightly faded and also leaning towards green.
Changes are more noticeable in the tints, which is often the case with impermanent pigments. While orange and peacock blue had only slight fading, there is noticeable fading to the permanent rose, rose madder, permanent violet, prussian blue, and burnt sienna. Sap green and Van Dyke brown both showed moderate fading.
Out of curiosity, I changed the white background of my photo to a 60% grey tone in Photoshop. The neutral grey really makes the colors pop and makes it easier to see the changes to the sun-exposed pigments.
I'll be leaving the test section in place on the porch for the forseeable future. Even with many hours of full sunlight, it can take several months to see the full extent of changes to pigments. I plan to report back here in a month.