White Nights Watercolor Lightfast Test Art Supply Review Color Chart St. Petersburg + NEW COLORS Pastels, Metallic etc.
White Nights Russian watercolor art supply review, lightfast testing results, color chart swatch and painting demo videos. This page also covers Yarka St. Petersburg (a set noted "36 ultimate full pan set" is the professional quality USA import version from the Jack Richeson company, not to be confused with general "Yarka" brand student paints which come in trays similar to prang/crayola).
I recommend buying individual pans of White Nights, which are very reasonably priced, at Jackson's a major art supply store that ships worldwide from the UK. As of January 2022 they offer all current catalog colors with the exception of ultramarine deep (a more granulating PB29), which is an excellent mixing color I've only been able to find through Etsy/Russian importers. While it's a bigger investment, if you're interested in mixing color separating and textural mixtures, I recommend Schmincke's French Ultramarine as a highly granulating PB29.
*** WHITE NIGHTS HAS MADE A LOT OF CHANGES OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS - I WILL BE MAKING A NEW GENERAL OVERVIEW VIDEO IN 2022 WITH UPDATED INFO *** I've used this brand for a long time, so there's a lot of older and outdated info on this page. I have a few projects to wrap up before I'll have time to return to this topic, go over the new additions of 38+ colors that were added over the course of 2019 to 2021, write a list of all the colors that were retired in favor of more lightfast pigments and which colors prone to fading are still included in their 100+ color catalog. IN THE MEANTIME you can see all of my notes regarding problem pigments and changes on my free blog-style post at patreon here.
As of Fall 2020 (for the USA, some areas did not obtain stock until 2021) 9 new pastel colors were added, bringing the opaque mixtures using PW6 to a total of 18. I'll cover those and lightfast test results for 32 other 2019-2020 additions to their catalog.
The older lightfast test video further down the page regarding White Nights vs Yarka St Petersburg's 36 pan set is now outdated due to pigments being changed in 2019-2020. I will leave this info available for anyone who still has the older products. Here is a chart noted the current changes, as well as a list of colors that still have fading issues.
The colors released in early 2019 were some of my very favorite from this brand. They added mostly highly lightfast single pigment paints. They include Venice Purple (365) Geranium Red (364) May Green (745) Cobalt Azure Blue (532) Cobalt Turquoise (531) Orange (315) Naples Orange (254) Aureolin (253) Naples Yellow Light (219):
Available at Jackson's for shipping worldwide.
These colors mix cleanly, with limitations only added by my desire to play with these colors independently as a mini-set. Because there was no magenta/cool red, the 9 new colors have some mixture limits if they were the only ones you have. I find them to be a beautiful addition to their 36 color pan sets, completing some missing colors like Cobalt Turquoise (teal) and Venetian Purple (perylene maroon). These two colors in particular make lovely neutral mixes ranging from dusty purple to cool blue-gray:
This next video covers the difference between the White Nights Russian Labeled 36 pan set and the Yarka St. Petersburg "Ultimate" set (found on Dick Blick or Amazon for USA sales). Please note they are the exact same paints, not to be confused with the student grade "Yarka" sets that come in a different style of tray.
The following noted colors are fugitive. The ones marked Yarka are also available as White Nights in individual pans (marked as Yarka here to show that these colors come in the Yarka 36 pan set). You can see a larger version of this image in the video above when viewed as full screen.
If you would like to purchase any of the supplies I mentioned in this review, I've included Amazon links. The third set below is a newer alternate color selection that includes several of the 2017 released colors (different from the first two sets that have been around for many years are shown in the video review). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
In mid 2019 White Nights released 7 new metallic colors including antique gold, inca gold, aztec gold, silver light, silver deep, bronze and copper. All of them are lightfast, with no fading whatsoever after 1 full year in a window receiving daily sun light:
In late 2019 White Nights released 6 new pastel tints, colors mixed with white. This release included the colors lavender, coral, lilac, pink peony, royal blue, rose quartz. After a full year lightfast test, there is some fading in rose quartz PR170 and coral PR242, particularly when diluted. They later added several other pastel colors, the most notably fugitive being "peach" containing the pigment PO64 which fades very quickly (under 3 months).
Purchase White Nights paints on Jackson's website here.
In early 2020 White Nights released another 3 pastel tints, including peach, mint and dunes. This helps round out a lovely gouache-like opaque pastel set with the previous year's 6 colors. The other 7 colors include cobalt chrome turquoise, ultramarine deep, neon pink, perylene violet, caput mortuum, vandyke brown and irgazin yellow.
However, as a fun challenge to myself, I did use this as it's own complete color selection and can tell you that it's surprisingly great for beach scenes. The cobalt chrome and neon pink can be used for skies, the ultramarine deep and mint look like tropical water, and the peach and dunes mix perfect sand. Irgazin yellow mixed with cobalt chrome gives plant green colors. All were easy to re-wet and are high quality professional paints.
Cons - Neon pink, as it's name suggests is their version of the popular fluorescent color called "opera" in most brands. It's made with a fugitive dye mixed with PR122, so it will not be lightfast. This may be a bad thing for those who avoid that color normally. However, it's really a lovely deep magenta leaning version which could be really pretty for florals, especially fuchsia flowers. This is also an overall very opaque and granulating color selection. Not impossible to use in layering, but really not ideal for any transparent glazing effects. This will not be the selection for everyone. Hopefully the color chart and example art paintings can help you decide :)
Every once in a while someone searches for White Knights instead of Nights, so fun fact about the origin of this term = White Nights as a name is based on the beauty of near constant daylight that happens in Northern Russia, particularly revered for its beauty after a dark cold season. There's a period of time with perpetual twilight due to the sun not fully setting. This is referred to as "White Nights" especially in St.Petersburg during the months of may-july (this unusual lack of sunset happens in many areas, such as Canada and Alaska).
You can buy White Nights watercolors individually here.
Note: this page contains affiliate links. All product opinions are my own. I am committed to honest reviews showcasing both the pros and cons of each product. I have not received payment from any brand for a review. I earn a commission from sales made through this web page's clickable banners or links to Amazon, Arteza, Scrapbook, Jackson's or Blick Art Materials websites.