I think it’s pretty useful to know the transparency of a colour because I quite like the glazing idea. Several thin glazes that modify the colours beneath them, but don’t completely hide them, give the painting a sort of depth and make it a little more interesting.

permanenceSo I’ve listed which of my colours are transparent or opaque. In the process I’ve learnt a bit about permanence and lightfastness.

Permanence is the durability of the paint when smeared onto the canvas. It’s basically how long your painting is going to last with the colours intact. For Winsor and Newton paints AA or A will ensure your painting out lasts you.

Lightfastness, as far as I can tell, is pretty similar to permanence. It’s the resistance of the pigment to fading when exposed to light. Again, for Winsor and Newton I and II are considered to be good.

Here’s what I’m using at the moment, I’ve added permanence, lightfastness and drying times for extra info. For the full Winsor and Newton range look here.

Transparent Colours

  • Alizarin Crimson: B – None – Slow Drying
  • Permanent Green Light: A – I – Medium Drying
  • Ultramarine (Green Shade): A – I – Medium Drying
  • Burnt Umber: AA – I – Fast Drying
  • Burnt Sienna: AA – I – Medium Drying
  • Winsor Blue (Red Shade): A – I – Medium Drying
  • Yellow Ochre: AA – I – Medium Drying
  • Cobalt Blue: AA- I – Fast Drying

Opaque Colours

  • Ivory Black:  AA – I  – Medium Drying
  • Titanium White – AA – I  – Medium Drying
  • Cadmium Yellow: A – I  – Medium Drying
  • Cadmium Red: A – I  – Medium Drying
  • Cobalt Green: AA- I – Medium Drying

Thanks for reading.

Ian Young

Permanence, Lightfastness and Transparency
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