Fight fading

Q. I work almost entirely in colored pencil. I don’t use a fixative on my completed works because of the value changes caused by a sealer, but I live in Florida and I’m aware of the fading problems that sunlight can cause. Would the extra investment in UV-glass eliminate fading artwork over the years? Is there anything else I can do to prevent fading?

A. Yes, I think the extra investment in UV-protective glass is a great idea in this case. Many framers such as Denglas and Tru Vue now carry lines of conservation or museum-grade glass that offer as much as 97 percent UV filtering while remaining clear.

It’s also a good idea to instruct your customers in the care of the art you sell them. One way to do this is to attach to the rear of the painting a list of things they can do to protect and care for the picture (“Do not hang this picture in a location that gets direct sunlight,” for instance).

You could also experiment with one of the three new sets of lightfast colored pencils that claim conformance to ASTM D 6901. The brands are Royal Talens’ Van Gogh line, Cumberland Derwent’s Signature pencils and Prismacolor’s Premier series. All of these sets of pencils have brochures that disclose the pigment content and list the ASTM lightfastness rating of each pencil. Bravo for them and for the colored pencil artists as well!

Mark Gottsegen is an associate professor of art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the author of The Painter’s Handbook (Watson-Guptill Publications).

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