Should watercolor beginners care about lightfastness?

Lightfastness refers to the permanence of a pigment; some pigments tend to fade, darken, or otherwise change color with prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light, such as when displayed on the wall in a sunny room. The most lightfast a pigment is, the longer it can withstand the sun without changing color. Some pigments can last for hundreds of years. Others – fugitive pigments – tend to fade within months, unless kept away from light (such as in a closed sketchbook) or in carefully controlled museum lighting conditions.

My favorite online pigment experts, such as Bruce MacEvoy and Kim Crick, tend to base their opinions of various pigments in large part on lightfastness. But is this something I really need to care about as a beginner?

(My short answer is no, by the way, but read on.)

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How (Not) to Learn Watercolor

Are you tired of enjoying watercolor? With these quick tips, you’ll be slogging your way through an unpleasant learning experience in no time. Focus on the destination, not the journey. Remember, the goal is to become perfect, which is both normal and attainable. You’ll know when you’ve arrived! Hold off on everything good until that … Read more

Should I only get single pigment paints?

Single pigment paints are those that contain only one pigment, or color-making chemical. By contrast, mixed paints or “convenience mixes” contain multiple pigments.  A frequently-given piece of advice is to stick to single pigment paints. But why?  What are single pigment paints? The most obvious attribute of a paint is “what color is it.” The … Read more