Colorful paints

There are many technical terms used to describe the properties of paint. A little chemistry know-how can help you become a better painter, but don’t worry—we’re not talking about balancing chemical equations or memorizing the periodic table here! This ongoing series of mini-articles will help you get to know your medium on a deeper level.

What is Lightfastness?

Have you ever left construction paper near a sunny window and found that the color became faded in months or even weeks? Maybe you’ve left a plastic item in your yard, or a magazine in your car and later found it bleached by the sun.

Pigments, paper, plastic toys, fabric, paint and other items react to sunlight in different ways. Materials that maintain their colors over time are “lightfast” and lightfastness can be important when purchasing art supplies.

Some pigments and paints are described as being lightfast because these products are resistant to fading from light exposure. Art products that have a lightfastness rating of “A” are super resistant to fading from light exposure and will not incur color change or fading for up to 100 years when stored in museum conditions. Of course, paintings should never be stored in direc...

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