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I have tested the lightfastness of Toluidine Red (PR3), which is a dark red corresponding to Cadmium Red Deep. For eleven months it has been exposed to direct and indirect sunlight on the outside. Yet, I cannot see any difference to the patches I kept inside. Some were mixed with white.

The conclusion is that The Color of Art Pigment Database (here) is wrong when it claims that Toluidine red has lightfastness II-III and also questions if it should be used for permanent artwork. In fact, Toluidine Red is better than Cadmium Red Deep because its mixing strength is decidedly better. Cadmium Red and Cadmium Orange, on the other hand, can be replaced by the excellent pyrrole pigments, which have maximum lightfastness. Some claim that Pyrrole Red, Pyrrole Scarlet, and Pyrrole Orange, are even better than the corresponding cadmium pigments.

Despite the fact that we needn't have resort to cadmium paints anymore, many artists persist, because they were taught to use them at art school, and from reading books about painting. Yet, it is high time that we abandon these deleterious pigments, which are highly damaging to the environment (although they are not dangerous to use).

However, yellow remains a quandary. Personally, I use Benzimidazolone Yellow (PY154, "Beckers klargul"), which has equally good lightfastness as Cadmium Yellow. It is transparent, but when mixed with white it produces an excellent opaque lemon yellow.

So you should search out these pyrrole, benzimidazolone and toluidine paints, in the art shop. One must often study the pigment charts to find them, because they are not always called "Pyrrole Red", etc. Daler Rowney Georgian, however, calls them by their right name. They are also cheaper than the cadmium paints.

Mats Winther
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