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Monday, May 16 • 9:00am - 9:30am
(Book and Paper) Watercolor Pencils: Composition and Conservation Concerns

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Within the last century, watercolor pencils have become more prevalent as a multidisciplinary artistic medium. They can be used wet or dry to achieve a multitude of colors, textures, and artistic effects. Little information regarding their general composition, aging characteristics, and risks associated with their treatment is available in art conservation literature. An understanding of watercolor pencils’ properties is necessary to avoid any pigment reduction or bleeding that could result from the unexpected, and potentially destructive, solvent reactions during conservation treatment. This work examines the composition of a variety of commercially available artist’s watercolor pencils (from Derwent®, Staedtler®, and Reeves®), and the pencils’ reactions to solvent immersion, on both artificially aged and unaged samples. Colorimetry and Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Spectroscopy was used to quantify any fading or material loss throughout the experiment. Despite many similarities to traditional watercolor paints in both use and appearance, the pencils differ greatly in composition. All watercolor pencils tested were found to contain colorants, clays, a polysaccharide binder, and polyethylene glycol. Aging was found to reduce water solubility, while ethanol and acetone, before and after aging, had little effect on the media.

avatar for Lauren Buttle

Lauren Buttle

Paper Conservator, Queen's University, Art Conservation Program
Lauren Buttle completed her Masters of Art Conservation, specializing in the treatment of paper objects, at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. While undertaking these studies, Lauren worked on campus as a conservation assistant at the W. D. Jordan Special Collections & Music Library and completed internships with the Yukon Archives, the New Brunswick Museum and the British Museum. Lauren came to art conservation after graduating... Read More →

Natasa Krsmanovic

Assistant Conservator, Library of Parliament
Natasa Krsmanovic earned a Master of Art Conservation degree at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, specializing in archival objects and works of art on paper. She has completed internships at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, and the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY, in conjunction with West Lake Conservators. Natasa is currently working for the Library of Parliament as Assistant Conservator.


Laura Hashimoto

Contract Conservator, Queen's University
Laura Hashimoto holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours in English Language and Literature (2012) from Queen’s University, and recently completed her alma mater’s Master of Art Conservation program specializing in archival objects and works of art on paper. She has completed internships at the Canadian Museum of History in Québec, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia, and at the Oxford Conservation Consortium in England.

Rosaleen Hill

Rosaleen Hill, Queen's University, Art Conservation Program
Rosaleen Hill is the Director of the Queen’s University Art Conservation Program and Assistant Professor of Paper, Photograph and New Media Conservation.

Monday May 16, 2016 9:00am - 9:30am
Room 210 AB/EF

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