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September 2013



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The importance of permanence...

faded art, originally uploaded by Cathy (Kate) Johnson.

I've been going through art to scan for the new North Light book and stumbled across this, done 2 years ago in my journal. I'd known that some of the watercolor pencils are fugitive and liable to fading, but I thought closed in a journal away from the light the problem would be minimal.

It seems you still need to be very careful about what colors you choose and what their ratings are!

I've gone through most of my Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils and pulled the most lightfast ones for my work--I literally made my own "set" of pencils, and now I see the wisdom of that decision.

This wasn't Albrecht Durer--I was test-driving a new kind of watercolor pencils, as I often do--but I'm glad I scanned the original version as a record. That's how I remember the art looking...

Most manufacturers of art supplies DO show their lightfastness ratings, either right on the materials (Faber-Castell pencils are all marked with a code of *** with the most *s being the most lightfast) or on their website. If lasting work is important to you, I recommend you check this out before beginning to work, whether with paints or watercolor pencils--or any other art-making tool.

A few years ago I combined "permanent" markers and regular technical pens in my journal, and today the permanent marker lines are odd, haloed marks that look as if they've spread and stained the paper around them. The marks are permanent, all right, but they're not the same as they were originally. I can't help but wonder if they will eventually eat through the paper...


No kidding, I was really surprised since it was closed in a book all this time!


Seeing is believing. This is a good lesson about colors that are light fast. I assumed that meant for work displayed,not inside a closed book. I learn lots from you, Kate.
I always assumed things in a closed journal would be OK, too, but obviously not!


This is really useful to see. I've been
weeding out my watercolor pencils and
crayons and paints, and originally thought
that I'd use up the poor ones for experiments
in the sketchbooks. Guess, now, I'll just use
them for experiments that I plan to throw out.
I think you've saved all your readers a lot of
surprises up the road when they check old
I guess I did! Sorry it happened to this one of my Scoutie, though...
Eek! Thank you for the heads-up!

This is also a useful reminder to scan EVERYTHING, even practices and journal pages!

Edited at 2008-07-23 01:52 pm (UTC)
It is, isn't it!


What happened to your painting is absolutely horrible. Judging from the fact that it was in a book and thus not in direct contact to sunlight there is also some possibility that the paper is slightly acid? Do you have other sketches in your book (and comparison scans)? What happened to them?
I don't think so, it was a regular watercolor paper. And yes, other sketches, same paper, same conditions, not nearly as much fading. It must just have been that particular color. Bizarre, isn't it!?