- Pigment Numbers: PY3 PG7
- Lightfastness Rating: ASTM I
- Pigment Opacity: Transparent
- Paint Opacity: Semi-Transparent
- Series 2
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Permanent Green Light is a color without a long history and is a product of the 20th century. These sorts of colors were not possible before the 19th century and did not find their way into artist paint ranges until the explosion in colors in sets of pastels and colored pencils that followed Impressionism. The pastel drawings of Degas in particular sparked the modern interest in the medium as a serious artists material. Pastels had a more limited usage prior to Degas at least partially because of the limited colors that were available. Before the 19th century many of the brightest colors were very poisonous and so could not be used in dry powder form. Degas’s attraction to pastels is partly attributable to the new non-toxic organic colors that were coming available at that time. His use of the medium then caused greater awareness of those colors and so pastels expanded rapidly. As artists used the new colors they began to want to buy them as paints and manufacturers obliged with blends and new pigments of various levels of quality. The name Permanent Green could just as easily be applied to an excellent blend based on Viridian, but it could also refer to the fugitive coal tar color only ever called Permanent Green (PG2) despite it being anything but permanent.
In the 1930’s the name became applied to Phthalo Green, probably for marketing purposes to encourage artists to associate it with the quality of Viridian which had also used the name. Subsequently blends of Phthalo Green with Yellow Light Hansa became known as Permanent Green Light and have proved to be popular with artists. It is a bright lime green color quite unlike the more subdued greens generally found in nature but is not such a rare color in the human environment as these sorts of colors are found in cars, house paints, clothing, ceramics, and plastics.
While it is possible to make earthy olive greens with Permanent Green Light, the color excels at making the brighter sorts of colors of the human world. Many of these colors are difficult to make with alternative greens. Lovely soft pastel greens can be made with Australian Ghost Gum and slightly brighter apple greens are made with Naples Yellow Light, Nickel Titanate, or Cadmium Yellow Light. Australian Sienna and Burnt Sienna both make olive greens that is good for painting foliage and a mixture with Raw Umber can make a dark green much like Hooker’s Green, or if the artist already has Hooker’s Green in a tube he or she can mix Permanent Green Light into it and get a beautiful Brunswick Green.
Town Hall Station in Sydney uses these sort of heritage green colors on steelwork around the station. Prussian Blue is another color that can be used with Permanent Green Light to make a deep Hooker’s Green color. Southern Ocean Blue, on the other hand makes delightful turquoise greens. Permanent Green Light is a unique color and so it is unique in the mixtures it makes as well.