Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fugitive Reds?

Roses on a Table 

This is my question of the day. How do you decide how dark to make your reds when they are fugitive and will fade in an hour or two? I am completely flummoxed by this dilemma. 

What I have learned so far
The value changes within a flower are not as large as they appear to be.


  1. What are those reds? I have never heard of fugitive colors that fade that fast!

  2. It seems to be all reds. They looks great and then about 2 hours later I look at the painting and they have faded. Sometimes I add another layer and that does the trick but I would like to hit it correctly on the first try.

  3. I cannot say I have ever heard of any color, red or not, fading within two hours, regardless of fugitive status. Even the most fugitive commercially available reds take months to fade. Certainly it is not so that all reds are fugitive because it has been well documented that there exists a vast array of reds suitable for artistic painting.

    Based on the information seen here, I suspect one of two things: Either not enough paint is being used to obtain the intensity of color desired, or the paint has simply dried (Remember: watercolor dries one value lighter). Perhaps both.

    For reference, here are commercially available reds unsuitable for artistic painting.

    NR4 Cochineal
    NR9 Madder Lake
    PR23 Naphthol Red Dark
    PR48 Permanent Red BB
    PR60 Permanent Rose
    PR83 Alizarin Crimson
    PR216 Pyrathrone Red Deep

    Shame on the artist who uses these reds. Their presence on your palette will inevitably cause your paintings to vanish. Some other reds will vary in lightfastness by manufacturer, but these are by far the worst offenders at present.

    Note: Pay special attention to the pigment contents of your paint. Paint manufacturers slap all sorts of names on their products, so it’s far more reliable to check for the pigment numbers. You might be surprised how many fugitive pigments and convenience mixtures you come across.