Understanding Opacity, Transparency and Permanence for the Serious Oil Painter


Have you ever read on the back of a tube of paint and seen the permanence rating and wondered what it was or how to use that inUnderstanding Opacity, Transparency and Permanence for the Serious Oil Painterformation?  Or have you ever wondered which colors make the best glazes?  Do you know which colors have the best opaque coverage?

These are important questions for the serious oil painter.  And much of this information needs to be committed to memory so that quick and quality decisions can be made in the studio.

Understanding these key points is vital for the success in using oil paints effectively and correctly.  Fortunately, Opacity, transparency and permanence are very easy concepts.

Understanding Opacity, Transparency and Permanence

Understanding opacity, transparency and permanence is vital for the success of the serious oil painter.  Opacity, transparency and permanence are easy concepts to grasp once you have a clear understanding of them.

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  1. How long lasting or what is the difference in quality is oil paint in their permanence rating from one level to the next? For example, is a rating of 4 mean the paint won’t fade one or two shades over 10 years? Are we even talking in years or is it decade? Can you explain in more detail the effect or result of using lower permanence paint in term of time and actually shade scale? Thanks

    • Gary Bolyer Fine Art says:

      Permanence ratings generally deal in decades. High quality oil colors can last hundreds of years. Any modern pigments in any permanence will certainly outlive the generation of the artist who made them.

      • Vítor Oliveira says:

        you also have to consider the environmental conditions on which the painting was produced and exhibited and the quality of your canvas or panel. Permanence is a very tricky subject that does not rely entirely on paint quality.

  2. This info is worth everyone’s attention. How can I find out more?

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