Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Even More Fugitive Than We Think?

There's fugitive, and then there's fugitive!
For many artists, lightfastness of the materials they use is of paramount importance, and rightly so, since they sell their work and know that collectors would expect the work to last, or they simply want their work to remain unchanged as long as possible. From my perspective, I like to know what I’m buying and using, but whether my colors stay true for a hundred years is not my primary concern. The issue of lightfastness is more related to my general philosophy about the importance of drawing: If lightfastness concerns keep you from drawing, then that’s a good reason to stop using a product and choose a material that will help you use it without hesitation.

I bring this up now because a recent discussion prompted me to make an interesting test. From lightfast tests that other artists have shown, I’ve long known that Derwent Inktense pencils include colors that are fugitive. Inktense pencils have never been my favorite, but not for reasons of lightfastness. Still, I do keep my set because the line includes some unique hues not found elsewhere.

Our discussion was related to whether colored pencils deteriorate or change over time. As a vintage pencil collector, this topic interests me in ways unrelated to my actual usage of a product. (Pencils do seem to age well compared to many art materials, and I have marveled at being able to use colored pencils that may be close to a hundred years old.)

I’ve owned my Inktense set for well over 10 years because I initially used them in my mixed-media work long before I started sketching. My friend gave me a few Inktense pencils he had purchased recently so that I could compare them with my older ones. I happened to have the same three colors he sent in my own set, so I could compare colors directly.

The older and newer Iris Blue (900) and Sun Yellow (200) felt and looked the same, both dry and washed. Fuchsia (700), however, was surprisingly different: My older pencil felt drier and harder, and the hue is much less intense, both dry and washed.

I had previously believed that fugitive materials started to fade when exposed to light or simply over time after they had been applied to a support. Now my comparison makes me wonder if some colored pencil pigments become fugitive even before they’ve left the pencil! I think this Fuchsia core has degraded even while inside its woodcasing and stored in a box under my desk away from any light!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...