|L. S. Eldridge|
L. S. Eldridge
W A T E R C O L O R S
Notes from the Deckle Edge
I have spent considerable time studying my palette making sure that I have invested my time in colors that are rated 7 or above on the Blue Wool Scale. The Blue Wool Scale measures lightfastness. The overwhelming majority of my palette rates a 7-8. You can't get any better. Not with any medium, including oil, ink, or automotive paint. So just to refresh your memory a rating of 7-8 means that the pigment will remain unchanged for more than 100 years of unprotected exposure to light. A rating of 6 means that it will remain unchanged for 50 - 100 years of UV exposure. Thus these ratings show they are suitable for artistic use. Now consider that the painting is put behind UV glass or plexiglass. Uh, that's right, it's going to last a long, long time. I dropped paints for changeability, meaning the mixture of pigments included a rating of 6 or below. I frame all my paintings behind UV plexiglass or glass (depending on the situation). I also used the ASTM scale and on that scale as well I use the highest ranked pigments. With only a few exceptions I use single pigment paints. I also use the highest quality paints (mixture of pigment and vehicle). If the paint chemistry is changed (and they often do) I test them myself. But still, I run across a prevalent attitude that somehow oil paintings are "better" than watercolor. Wait, what? The subject matter doesn't appear to matter…abstract, non-objective, realism, whatever. Somehow, just because of the medium, watercolor is valued inferior. Hold me back. I understand and appreciate conservation issues and the quality of paint available in the past; but where are the watercolors in the modern section? I suppose this 30-year trend will eventually turn around.
Here is a typical example. My mother has had an oil painting on her wall for the past 20 years. It is now cracking and dropping paint everywhere. My watercolors are as fresh as the day I painted them. So don't tell me that just because the medium is oil it is somehow better or will last longer. The gloves are off! I call you out…choose your seconds and I will meet you under the oak at dawn. Back to my brushes. Oh, and for your enjoyment more photos of FLW Price Tower.
"You will see, in the future I will live by my watercolors." - Winslow Homer
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