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​3 Useful Tips when Selecting Artist's Paint

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Pigment Properties and Qualities

Pigments have properties such as permanence, tinting strength and hiding power. There are others, but for now let's just look at 3 of them. Check the label to see these important properties.

Permanence refers to the light-fastness of a pigment. Will the colors fade over time when exposed to outside elements such as light? Some pigments such as natural organic pigments like Alizarin have a low lightfastness rating whereas a synthetic organic pigment like Permanent Alizarin has a high lightfastness rating. This is one of the reasons most organic pigments today are synthetically reproduced. When buying paint, always look at the lightfast rating on the label. Colors are rated from one to five, with I or II being the most permanent.

Tinting Strength of a pigment is its ability to tint or influence another color. Good to know when you mix color. A good example would be the Phthalo pigments. Adding Phthalo to Titanium White using a 1:1 ratio will incur a high degree of color change to the Titanium White. On the other hand, adding Ultramarine Blue to Titanium White in a 1:1 ratio will incur only a small change in the Titanium White. Knowing your colors pigment strength will help you pick a color that will work for you in a mix, not against you.

Coverage - The hiding power of a pigment is its ability to block out an underlying color. As an example, consider if you were using black or white and you wish to apply a layer of color to cover. How many layers will it take to completely cover up the underlying black or white? The more layers it takes to cover the background the lower the hiding power. This is directly related to the difference between opaque and transparent pigments. Check to make sure you’re using the right one for the job. If you want good coverage, use an opaque pigment.

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  • pigments
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