Friday, May 15, 2015


In the latest Daniel Smith newsletter, a well known artist lists her latest favorite DS watercolors.  She says Opera Pink is great for painting roses.    

Here is what Daniel Smith tells us about Opera Pink:

Product Description

The most vivid of all pinks, has long been requested by DANIEL SMITH customers. A primary magenta with a hint of fluorescent pink granulation producing some of the most brilliant glowing mixes you have ever seen.

Try mixing Opera Pink with our New Gamboge for fiery oranges or with an Indanthrone Blue for stunning violets and glowing purples.
  • ASTM Lightfastness Rating: Fugitive
  • Granulating: Yes
  • Staining: Non-staining
  • Transparency: Transparent

This is a pet peeve of mine:  when an artist suggests I buy a certain color because it's pretty, but does not tell me that the very pretty color is a fugitive color.  

Maybe you've never heard of Fugitive Colors.  Here is what it means.  It means the manufacturer gives you 0 guarantee that the pretty color you put on your painting today will remain that color in the next year or so - in fact, they tell you right up front it is fugitive and will change over time.  

I once fell in love with the organic color Rose Madder Genuine (also from Daniel Smith).  I used it on a few paintings when I first started in watercolor - before I learned which colors to avoid, no matter how pretty they are.  

Maybe avoiding fugitive colors only matters to me.

But isn't the "nonpermanence" issue one of the major drawbacks mentioned by those who put watercolor paintings on the low end of art materials?  Don't they say watercolor pigments won't last - they are too delicate - they can't withstand the test of time like oils??  And don't we buy right into that criticism when we use colors we KNOW are not permanent?   And we know better.  Because the manufacturers tell us which colors they put out (due to customer requests) that will not stand the test of time.   

Educate yourself on those colors to is a link to the Daniel Smith chart of watercolors that tells you which are rated Fugitive (or not).    


E.M. Corsa said...

Thank you for that valuable information! All I use are Daniel Smith watercolors and happily my favorite one isn't a fugitive. I never realized what that meant. Good job RH!

Sadami said...

Thank you, Rhonda, for your kind information and advice. Kind regards, Sadami

RH Carpenter said...

EM, I love Daniel Smith and use only that and a few Holbein colors - usually pick up something new from Holbein or Winsor Newton if recommended by a workshop instructor, but keep to my DS palette mostly. I used to buy all the new colors coming out, then learned about the Pigment numbers and what colors mix to make those new colors (and found I usually had those colors already so just need to mix them!). In the past, the colors were not all permanent and artists used whatever they could find and afford - now we can use permanent colors and make sure our artwork lasts (especially if we are going to sell it to others).

Hi, Sadami :) I know as an illustrator, you must use the best materials for your work :)