Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Did sunlight damage my test painting?

The first year test results...
When you buy -or paint- a beautiful aquarelle watercolour that you would like to have on your wall, you have to put it behind glass to protect it from dirt and humidity. Also, better not put it in direct sunlight, because that's asking for fading. The beauty of aquarelle is in the subtlety and the transparency - and that would be what you lose when it 'fades'.

Nowadays you can buy varnish for watercolours, that claims to be protecting the painting from 'light' damage. I have one of the brand Schmincke and tested it a couple of times and it doesn't visibly change the watercolour. It made it somewhat waterproof, but not quite enough (more about that in a future post). But will it protect the painting against bright light? I use Winsor and Newton artist quality aquarelle paint and Arches acid free cotton paper that also claim to be perfectly light resistant...
Time for a test!

A year ago, I painted 9 colours that I often use (Payne's grey, Sap green, Sepia, Crimson, Ultramarine, Lemon, Winsor Blue, Winsor Red and Winsor Orange) on a sheet of Arches Torchon 300grs watercolour paper.
I cut the paper in 3, put one part in a binder (with absolutely no light). One other piece I varnished, and then put that up together with an untreated one, in a window of my atelier, on which the sun shines all day (remember I am in the South of France...)

Today, a year later, I took them off the window and put them together again:

The photo is a bit blue and vague - but you can see that there is no difference. The top part is varnished, the middle part was in the binder and the lower part is completely untreated.
Not much to conclude yet, but for sure, one year in the bright sun can be handled by W&N on Arches without varnish!

They are back in the binder/on the atelier window, more next year!

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