Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Camel Artists' Water Colour - lightfastness test results

About one year ago, when I first got the first Pan Box of the Camel Artists' Water Colours, I prepared a lightfastness test to check them, as these watercolors are produced in India and supposed to be in the "artist" quality range. At the time I did a few tests and found them behave quite well in terms of value ranges, color intensity, mixing qualities, dispersion on wet paper, etc. They were similar to student and artist quality paints of other brands I have tested, and I (still) consider them an affordable, but still of good quality, tool for people starting to learn watercolor. The quantity you get for little money allow lots of experimentation without thinking their cost, as the final total cost (shipping and duty fees included) is at less than 50% of student quality paints one can get at local shops in Greece.

However, for the more advanced watercolor painters, the findings bellow should be seriously taken into account with respect to color selection, if you intend to get your painting on the market, and have them into shows/exhibitions.

Test Conditions

 Watercolors Brand: Camel Artists Watercolors
Made in: India
Distribution Package: Pan Box with 18 shades Palette
Colors: Lemon Yellow, Gamboge Hue, Orange, Yellow Ochre, Scarlet, Light Red, Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Cobalt Blue Hue, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue Hue, Emerald Green, Viridian Hue, Sap Green, Black
Test Preparation Date: 12/07/2014
Test Conditions: outdoor, south facing, very strong direct sun light all year long (Greece), under glass, rain protected area
Test End date: 17/07/2015
The test paper before cutting it to get the half strips of each color exposed outdoors. The other half strips were kept in absolute dark.

Test Results

Colors strongly affected by direct sun exposure:

Orange – the red component is almost completely lost (right side the exposed)

Crimson – the rose component is affected very much, which is more obvious in the light value area (left side the exposed) 

Cerulean Blue –after exposure the color appear very dull, looking like it contains a lot of white (or filler) (right side the exposed)

Gamboge Hue – the red component is affected, the bit of orange feeling of the color is lost and appears as a strong value medium yellow (right side the exposed) 

Scarlet – some of the color intensity is lost, especially noticeable in the light value area (right side the exposed)

Colors affected by the exposure in a noticeable to slightly noticeable way (photos only for first two, which are more obvious):

·    Burnt Umber – the “reddish” component has been affected (left side the exposed)

Yellow Ochre – slightly affected in the strong value areas (left side the exposed)

Burnt Sienna – some of the color intensity is lost, especially noticeable in the light value area  
Ultramarine Blue – slightly affected in the strong value areas
Emerald Green – slightly affected in the light value areas 

Colors not affected at all

Lemmon Yellow
Light Red
Raw Umber
Cobalt Blue Hue
Viridian Hue
Sap Green


As far as I am concerned, there are 2 colors which I will avoid even for the beginners' workshop: Orange and Crimson. For the Cerulean Blue, Gamboge Hue and Scarlet, I think they are "usable", if we don't have other options at affordable price, for the beginners' workshop, with the recommendation that they are replaced as soon as each student moves on and decides to keep going with watercolor painting.
For the rest of the colors, even for the ones with noticeable issues, I consider them as being on the safe side (artist quality), as I must point out once more that the test conditions were quite heavy, taking into account the very strong sun light (all year long) here in Greece.

Note: Except of the pan Camel watercolors, I do have a large collection of their tube colors, and 6 months ago I have started another test, comparative one, for the "reds" and the "blues" I have from all brands to be more fair with my tests. I am looking forward for this comparison.

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