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.


Daniel Smith watercolor review recommendation for beginner artists and granulating paint basics

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:

 Daniel Smith Undersea Green Watercolor Paint texture Granulating foliage botanical art animal eyes

 Hematite and Hematite Burnt Scarlet Genuine for the fur: Daniel Smith Hematite Genuine Watercolor Primatek Granulating Animal Painting portrait art

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.


Daniel Smith color chart 238 dot card LIGHTFAST TEST fugitive colors results 1 year in sun

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.

Daniel Smith watercolor fugitive prussian blue green fading lightfast test interference sapphire

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.



One year lightfast test results Daniel Smith Watercolors Moonglow Shadow Violet Aureolin Sickerlite fading fugitive colors

 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). 



One of the most amazing color separating paints I own is Cascade Green. Check out this detailed swatch card:


Daniel Smith Cascade Green Watercolor Swatch Card Color Chart


Swatch cards:

PY150 Daniel Smith Watercolor Nickel Azo Yellow Art Pigment Database PO48 PY150 Daniel Smith Watercolor Quinacridone Gold Art Pigment Database PO48 PY150 Daniel Smith Watercolor Quinacridone Deep Gold Art Pigment Database PO48 Daniel Smith Watercolor Quinacridone Burnt Orange Art Pigment Database PO48 PY150 PR209 Daniel Smith Watercolor Quinacridone Sienna Art Pigment Database PR209 Daniel Smith Quinacridone Coral Watercolor Lightfast Pigment List Database pr122 daniel smith quin lilac watercolor primary magenta pigment database swatch pv19 daniel smith watercolor quin violet pigment database art paint swatch pr202 pb29 daniel smith permanent violet watercolor color separating pigment swatch card PB15 Daniel Smith Watercolor Manganese Blue Hue Art Pigment Database PB27 Daniel Smith Watercolor Prussian Blue Swatch Card PG50 Daniel Smith Watercolor Cobalt Teal Blue PG50 Pigment Database Swatch Card PG36 PY3 PY150 Daniel Smith Watercolor Green Gold Art Pigment Database PG19 Daniel Smith DRY PAN Watercolor Cobalt Green Pale Art Pigment Database PG19 Daniel Smith TUBE Watercolor Cobalt Green Pale Art Pigment Database PG18 Daniel Smith Viridian Pigment Database Green Paint Swatch PY150 PO48 PG36 PY3 Daniel Smith Watercolor Hooker's Green Art Pigment Database PO48 PG7 PY150 Daniel Smith Watercolor Sap Green Art Pigment Database PY150 PO48 PB29 Daniel Smith Watercolor Undersea Green Art Pigment Database PB27 daniel smith deep sap green watercolor swatch prussian blue lightfast test PR83 Daniel Smith Alizarin Crimson Fugitive Pigment Rose Red UV Lightfast Test Fading Art pr171 daniel smith naphthamide maroon watercolor pigment database swatch card PB29 PG18 PR177 Daniel Smith Moonglow Watercolor Lightfast Fugitive Pigment Database PB29 PG18 PR177 Daniel Smith Moonglow Watercolor PAN versus Tube masstone

-------------------------------More swatch cards displaying the handling properties of each Daniel Smith watercolor coming soon. I am currently working on their entire selection (over 250 colors!!!) As these are completed, I will be copying them into the pigment database, where you can compare each color side by side with other brands. --------------------


Until then, you can see my many video reviews and demonstration paintings for Daniel Smith colors on my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/kimberlycrick