Lightfastness Tests: Nevskaya Palitra White Nights

Here is the second report from my lightfastness tests conducted during the summer of 2015 in Ukraine. This time we will look at White Nights, artist’s grade watercolor from Saint-Petersburg manufacturer Nevskaya Palitra.

The tests were run in precisely the same manner as described here in this post. Nevskaya Palitra makes 57 colors, of which I own 46 and a half. 🙂 A “half” is one color which was recently reformulated: in ye olde times, Ivory Black used to be made with a genuine ivory black pigment PBk9, and that is the one that I own and tested here. Now their Ivory Black is a cheaper hue composed of a red earth pigment PR102 mixed with lamp black PBk7 (lamp black is basically burnt wood, while ivory black is burnt bones, so they differ in price, color and texture). I never tried the new version, but theoretically I don’t see why it should present any problems as far as lightfastness goes.


The rest of Nevskaya Palitra’s repertoire are either mixtures of the pigments tested here, or are so glaringly fugitive that require no tests or, indeed, purchasing (such as PY1 or PB1).

As a general comment before I start: in 9 cases out of 47, the manufacturer’s ratings turned to be inaccurate. These paints are very worth using, but if you do use them, make sure you run your own tests. (It’s a good practice with any brand, in fact.)

OK, so let’s look how really lightfast is this cheap watercolor! On all the samples, the reference is on the left, and exposed half is on the right. Beside I give the marketing name, manufacturer’s rating (where *** is “excellent”, and * is “poor”) and my rating, where I – no changes within 4 months of daily sun exposure (“two months” means the sample has been hanging on my window for two months; I didn’t count actual hours), II – changes occurred after 3 months of exposure, III – changes occurred after 2 months of exposure, IV – changes occurred within 2 months of exposure.

white nights watercolor lightfastness test, yellow, earth
Cadmium Lemon, ***, II
Cadmium Yellow Medium, ***, I
Naples Yellow, ***, III
Yellow Ochre, **, III
Raw Sienna, ***, I
Burnt Sienna, ***, I
Red Ochre, ***, I
Shakhnazar Red (PR102), ***, I
Raw Umber, ***, I
Burnt Umber, ***, I
Mars Brown, ***, I

Earths and yellows fared pretty well. Naples Yellow demonstrated noticeable fading and darkening in hue after two months of the sun exposure. Yellow Ochre faded heavily and changed its hue aproximately as fast as Naples Yellow. Cadmium Lemon disappointed me, to be honest. The paint darkened and changed its hue towards green after 3 months of the daily sun exposure. I guess the price shows in this case.

white nights watercolor lightfastness test, orange, red Golden, **, III
Cadmium Orange, ***, I
Titian Red, ***, I
English Red, ***, I
Cadmium Red Light, ***, I
Scarlet, *, III
Ruby, ***, III
Madder Lake, ***, I
Carmine, ***, I
Rose, *, IV
Quinacridone Lilac, ***, I
Violet, *, III

Red and violet department had more problems. Golden features very fugitive orange pigment, most of which faded away. Scarlet faded considerably, and Ruby, despite of manufacturer’s rating, changed its hue dramatically. Rose is one of the two most impermanent White Nights paints: it noticeably changes hue within days. This very beautiful pigment (along with PV3 – White Nights Violet) is offered also by Schmincke, and the German manufacturer leaves the paint unrated and suggests using it for design purposes only (meaning the artwork should be immediately scanned).

white nights watercolor lightfastness test, quinacridone rose Quinacridone Rose, **, I
Rose, *, IV

I share Schmincke’s view on PR81. Above, you can see the comparison between Rose PR81 and Quinacridone Rose PR122. Freshly painted, these two are almost identical in tints (but PR81 has more beautiful texture). I kept confusing them at first! Couple of weeks of sun exposure (on the right), however, revealed the difference.

white nights watercolor lightfastness test, blue Prussian Blue, ***, IV
Blue, ***, I
Bright Blue, ***, I
Cobalt Blue, ***, I
Ultramarine, ***, I
Cerulean, ***, I
Indathrene Blue, ***, I
Zinc White, ***, I

The only blue problem was Prussian Blue. I suspect that this paint is contaminated with something which oxidizes by the air oxygen fairly quickly. The paint changes its hue towards green literally within hours. The difference in my scan is not as drastic as it could be, because the reference got exposed to oxygen too 😦 To this I can add that this paint ended up in a trash bin. It got increasingly more ugly and difficult to re-wet. Maybe defect batch? I wouldn’t know.

white nights watercolor lightfastness test, green, black Olive Green, **, I
Green Earth, ***, I
Chromium Oxide, ***, I
Green, **, III
Emerald Green, ***, I
Green Light, ***, I
Yellow Green, ***, I
Payne’s Gray, **, I
Neutral Black, ***, I
Indigo, **, I
Sepia, ***, III
Voronezh Black, ***, I

While fading of the beautiful Green PG8 was expected, Sepia is a mystery. All the pigments seem to be lightfast, I don’t quite get where the problem lies.

Finally, we get three very nice lightfast paints:

white nights watercolor lightfastness test, orange, yellow, black Ivory Black, ***, I
Lemon, ***, I
Golden Deep, ***, I

This concludes my review of lightfastness of White Nights paints. Thank you for reading!

4 thoughts on “Lightfastness Tests: Nevskaya Palitra White Nights

  1. Thank you! These results are much better than what I expected from reading other places online that only cited manufacturer lightfastness ratings. I am much happier with my paints now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! And yeah, I myself had expected much worse lightfastness, so I was delighted with the results of this test. Happy painting to you! ^_^


    1. The thing about those pans is that they are not full. Apparently, the paint has been just poured into the pan in a one-step process. Schmincke, for example, does this in many steps, each time waiting till the layer is fully dry. So, I suspect these pans just aren’t full. But it’s my speculation. I never tried pans of other brands.


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