Composition and Permanence

Rublev Colours Artist Oils

Rublev Colours Artist OilsThe Composition and Permanence tables in the descriptions of Rublev Colours Artist Oils provide essential information on the composition, characteristics, and permanence of Rublev Colours oil color ranges. Using the tables helps you choose colors based on how they will appear and how long-lasting the finished artwork will be, and by understanding exactly what’s in your paint, you can be sure to create the highest quality painting.

The term ‘permanence’ is used here to mean the quality of lasting or remaining unchanged indefinitely. This does not imply that it will remain unchanged forever, but rather for an extended period that cannot be measured.

Terms Explained


This is the name of the color. This name usually indicates the name of the pigment. However, in pigment mixtures, the name is a designation of the mixture.

Pigment Classification

This is a classification of the pigment types used in each color. Pigments can be classified as being either Synthetic or Natural and Organic or Inorganic. For example, Lead White is Synthetic and Inorganic. Yellow ocher is Natural and Inorganic.

Colour Index Name

Each pigment can be universally identified by its Colour Index Name. For example, Cobalt Blue is Pigment Blue 28, abbreviated to PB 28.

Colour Index Names of the pigments allow you to cross-reference the working properties in other sources, e.g., lightfastness, opacity, toxicity, etc. It is also necessary to fully identify some of the modern pigments. For example, the disclosure of a pigment as Naphthol Red is insufficient because there are over a dozen different types, differing widely in lightfastness and opacity.

Chemical Composition

This row provides the chemical description of the pigments used in each color.


This Code is a number that is given to each of the colors. This is mainly used as a reference by retailers and in our literature, but it can also help you to find the right color when buying paint.


The Series number indicates the relative price of the color and is determined mainly by the cost of the pigment. Series 1 is the least expensive, and Series 10 is the most expensive.


Transparent colors are marked ‘T’ and semi-transparent ‘ST.’ Opaque colors are marked ‘O’ and semi-opaque ‘SO.’ Transparency, however, is relative, and the ratings are provided as a guide only. In addition, any thin film of paint will appear more transparent than a thicker one.

Tinting Strength

Tinting strength is a measure of how strongly a particular color or pigment affects (or tints) another one when mixed with it. Some pigments (phthalocyanine blue, for example) have a powerful tinting strength, meaning a little will significantly affect another color or pigment when mixed with it. Others (for example, burnt sienna) have a weak tinting ability, meaning a little will have minimal impact on another color when mixed with it. Tinting strength in this table is relative, and the ratings, e.g., High, Medium, and Low, are provided as a guide only.

Drying Rate

The good thing about oil paint is that it dries slowly, allowing time to adjust it to your liking. Not all oil colors dry at the same rate. Generally, colors become touch dry in thin films in two to twelve days, but the different reactions of each pigment when mixed with oil result in different drying times. Knowing about these drying rates can help you avoid the problem of having slow drying under layers affecting faster layers above and causing cracking. Remember one of the rules of oil painting is ‘slow drying over fast drying’—fast-drying colors should be used continuously as under layers. The drying rates in this table depend on environmental conditions, color mixtures, the substrate’s absorbency, and the paint film’s thickness. The ratings, e.g., Fast (about two days), Medium (about 2 to 5 days), and Slow (more than five days) are provided as a guide only. Please remember to avoid drying your paintings in darkness or high humidity as these conditions may cause yellowing of the oil and slow the drying rate of the paint.


Lightfastness is shown with an ASTM rating for the pigment. The ASTM abbreviation stands for the American Society for Testing and Materials. This organization has set standards for the performance of art materials, including a color’s lightfastness.

To measure lightfastness using this system, colors are reduced to 40% reflectance by adding titanium white, except for watercolors, which rely on white paper. This means the amount of light reflected from the color swatch. The swatches are then tested in both sunlight and artificially accelerated conditions.

The swatches are measured with an instrument before and after exposure to light, and the difference is calculated. Based on these calculations, swatches are assigned different lightfastness categories. For example, pigments with a mean color change of 4.0 or less ΔE*ab are assigned to Lightfastness Category I; pigments with a mean color change of more than 4.0 but not more than 8.0 ΔE*ab to Lightfastness Category II; and so on. In this system, I is the highest lightfastness available, and V is the lowest, though both ratings I and II are considered permanent for artists’ use.

Where no ASTM rating is given for a color, it is labeled as ‘N/L’ meaning “Not Listed” this usually indicates that the ASTM has not yet tested the pigment. It does not necessarily imply a lack of lightfastness.

In these cases, we recommend you refer to the permanence rating, which evaluates color on many aspects, including lightfastness, and is used to indicate a color’s ability to resist fading.


The permanence of an artist’s color is defined as ‘its durability when laid with a brush on a support and displayed under a glass frame in a dry room freely exposed to ordinary daylight and an ordinary urban atmosphere.’

In simpler terms, the rating is the resistance of a color or color mixture to change when exposed to light and the atmosphere. Our ratings consider the following factors; the natural passage of time accelerated tests for lightfastness and binder stability and results from pigment manufacturers’ testing, making our permanent ratings the most stringent in the industry.

BModerately Durable

For further information on some colors, the rating may include one or more of the following additional notes:

1May fade when applied in thin layers or washes.
2May darken when exposed to damp conditions or high relative humidity.
3Bleached by acids or acidic atmospheres.
4Fluctuating color that fades in light but recovers in the dark.
5Should not be prepared in pale tints with white, as these will fade.
6May fade unless protected with an isolating varnish or fixative.

Tips to Avoid Broken Caps

Broken caps are a common problem for paint tubes, because vegetable oils and wax can degrade the plastic used to make caps. We have considered different suppliers and different plastic materials, but the same problem arises from time to time. Quite honestly, we do not get many complaints from customers about broken caps, but once in awhile we receive complaints, primarily because the nozzles of the tubes are not kept clean or the caps are overtightened.

Here are some tips to help you avoid broken caps in the future:

  1. Clean the nozzle of the tube of all paint before replacing the cap on the tube. Paint is a great adhesive, so like any glue you need to remove it otherwise you simply end up gluing the cap to the nozzle.
  2. Allow paint in the tube to settle back into the nozzle, leaving a tiny space between the cap and paint, before replacing the cap on the tube.
  3. When screwing the cap back onto the nozzle, do not over tighten. Turn the cap until you meet some resistance and then stop turning.
  4. When removing caps from tubes, do not to force the cap or use tools, i.e. pliers, to remove them. Keeping the nozzle clean will help to avoid "glued on" caps.

By following these simple suggestions you can expect your caps to last a long time.

However, if you break your caps, we will send replacement caps, should you need them.

Would you like us to redirect you to our store in USA?

Here are items you recently viewed during your visit of Natural Pigments Recently Viewed
No recently views items
Clear All
Copyright © 2024-present Natural Pigments, Inc. All rights reserved.