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Home > Artist Oil Paint > Classic Artist Oil Colors

In accordance with CAO standards, only the barest minimum of additives are used in our formulas, and even then only enough to ensure good handling qualities for the professional painter.  This allows enough of the individual pigment qualities to perform as they are expected by the seasoned artist.  We recommend sticking to one quality brand of oils as you develop in order to learn their working characteristics.  By using an inferior paint, many budding artists limit their potential by having to re-learn mixing properties and behavior once they switch to a quality brand sensitive to these distinctions, such as Classic Artist Oils.

Choose from a link on the left to view Classic Artist Oil Color Swatches and read information about each pigment.

Lightfastness Ratings and What They Mean:
Paintings are shown in such a wide range of conditions, even within one room direct and indirect light varies with each wall and seasonal change. One side may get double the sunlight of another, resulting in doubling the effect that light will have on that work in a given time frame. The professional artist should always stick to colors with the Lightfast rating of I or higher to ensure generations of stability. Also keep in mind that varnishing and glazing will add and subtract to the ultimate lightfastness of a work depending on what is used. Mixing with large amounts of white is also a sure way to increase the weaker pigments propensity to separate and will give an undesirable blotchy effect. If the artist insists on using colors with a rating of Fair, best results are achieved by using the pure pigment from the tube, undiluted and in especially thick layers. Triangle Coatings has developed a highly effective mural coating that can be used for large exterior work, an excellent, time-tested coating that provides UV protection as well graffiti resistance.

It also needs to be understood that improper storage of piece in a dark room or vault may cause colors to darken or yellow prematurely. An easy fix for a painting that has lost its vibrancy because of this is to expose it to direct light for a couple of days until the colors regain their true qualities – however this may not work in all cases, so CAO advises artists to caution galleries and buyers about the effects of inadequate storage conditions in the first place.

The following time frames assume proper mounting in an average setting indoors. In Blue Woolscale it should be noted that each level is 3 times more exposure than the previous. The Woolscale equivalents to ASTM classes are an approximate.

ASTM Rating I: Excellent
Also Equivalent to Blue Woolscale 7 and 8 - more than 100 years without change

ASTM Rating ll: Very Good
Also Equivalent to Blue Woolscale 6 - between 50 and 100 years without change

ASTM Rating lll: Fair
Also Equivalent to Blue Woolscale 4 and 5 - between 15 and 50 years without change

A Note About Color Swatches:
Color Swatches are shown in mass tone - straight from the tube - on the left, and mixed with an approximately equal amount of titanium white on the right.  All pictures of color swatches featured on this web site are only approximations of the actual color of the oil paint.  We have taken every care to match the color in these pictures on calibrated color monitors to the actual color. However, because of the wide variance in color monitors, the results you get may vary.  In addition, transparency is relative in nature and the ratings are provided to be used as a guide only. In accordance with Classic Artist Oil standards, only the barest minimum of filler is added to the pigments in order to ensure good handling qualities for each of our colors, and any thin film of color will appear more transparent than a thicker one.

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