Daniel Smith Watercolor Lightfast Testing Reviews Demo Painting Videos
Daniel Smith lightfast testing 1 year results find out which colors are fugitive and fade with UV sun light. In depth reviews for tube colors, sets and new 2019 half pan travel sets. Video painting tutorials, color charts and swatch cards by Kimberly Crick.
Before you get lost in the sea of over 250 colors Daniel Smith makes, please note that there are several colors I would avoid. While this is one of my favorite brands of paint, there are a couple misleading LFI ratings that caused me a lot of problems as someone who has made paintings for wall display. MOONGLOW AND SHADOW VIOLET ARE NOT UV STABLE, DESPITE THEIR LFI RATING. Moonglow's fading is severe, as bad as LFIII to LFIV fugitive colors such as Opera Pink and Alizarin Crimson (it's the PR177 that fades when diluted). Shadow Violet contains an orange that is also stable in masstone, but fades when diluted or in small % tints/mixtures. Results are about LFII to LFIII depending on the duration of repeat sun exposure (such as being displayed where light shines in a window briefly each morning at dawn for a month or more). Good news is that you don't need a convenience mixture to achieve this beautiful color separating and granulating appearance. I highly recommend mixing your own.
This video shows you how easy it is to mix your own lightfast alternative to color separating convenience mixtures, such as Moonglow, using single pigment ingredients.
This painting of a Florida Panther with foliage is a good example of how I love to use Daniel Smith's granulating watercolors. I used Undersea Green for background texture and the animal's eyes:
Hematite and Hematite Burnt Scarlet Genuine for the fur:
You can find the colors I used for this painting below. I am not affiliated with Daniel Smith or sell their products directly, and my opinions are my own. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
The 238 color chart shown above was created using the dot card chart, which is a great way to pick out your favorite colors! I will be showing a large close up swatch of each of these older colors, plus about 20 of the newer colors, towards the bottom of this page.
The following colors are majorly fugitive with signs of fading starting within one month. Lightfast colors last for a year or more of daily light exposure, and I will expand on which colors faded by the 1 year mark below.
The small 5ml tube kits are ideal for beginners and artists on a budget, allowing you to get a good mixing color set at a lower cost than their larger 15ml tubes. The primatek set is a wonderful way to try out their granulating colors, especially for those who haven't decided if they enjoy texture in their artwork yet. The 5ml tubes can fill a half pan (standard tray size for travel palettes) more than a couple times, giving you plenty of paint to create dozens of small paintings (like artist trading cards or 5x7s) or a few larger pieces.
This was one of the first lightfast tests I ever did, before I realized the importance of testing both masstone and diluted ranges. I have since discovered the PR177 Anthra Red is extremely fugitive. It is easily damaged by UV when diluted, but held up well in masstone. Because watercolorists rarely use their paints at full strength with barely any water, this is a real problem for PR177 and mixtures containing it such as Moonglow. I have since started running all tests to include diluted ranges and will update as new information is available (such as the video about Moonglow at the top of this page).