View Full Version : White, White or... White?
01-17-2000, 04:18 AM
I have wondered for some time about how people use the various types of White color, and if there is any need to use anything else except Titanium white?
The discussion started in Healty oils... http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000030.html
[This message has been edited by henrik (edited January 17, 2000).]
01-17-2000, 10:23 AM
Have you ever tried Iridecent White? With it you can make silver or add a metallic shine to any color you want. Exept for this one the other white I use is the Titanium.
01-17-2000, 10:52 AM
I have seen Rembrant Pearl White in the store and I wondered if I needed it - would that be the type of White you are talking about?
01-17-2000, 11:10 AM
hi henrik..if I remember correctly zinc white is good for tinting other colors, where the titanium is more opaque, for covering/highlighting places
01-17-2000, 06:13 PM
Hi, I have read a lot about the different white pigments, but I have not found any good advice regarding modern use. Most books just talk about Titanium White.
Here is the result of my brief research...
Lead White, warm white color, poisonous, fast drying, stiff consistency, shows brush strokes well. Considered to be old-fashioned and not used much (because it is posionous). Used by the Impressionists as it dried quickly even when painted in thick layers.
Zinkwhite, colder than lead white, non poisonous, slow drying, flowing consistency "slippery", not as opaque as lead white, will become transparent over time when painted thin. The impressionist did probably not use zink white except when mixed into lighter colors by the paint-manufacturer.
One book does not recomend Zink white for underpaining as there is risk for cracks. (Is this really true today?)
Mixed White, is 7/8 parts zink white, and 1/8 lead white - combines the qualities of both; more opaque that zink white, can be used for underpainting, dries faster than zink white.
Titanium White, non poisonous, dries slower than mixed white, but faster than zink white. Titanium white is the most opaque white. Considered to be better than mixed white, and can be used for impressionistic painting. (Appeared on the market in 1916)
Alkyd White, oil modified alkyd based white (pigment?), fast drying but has less pigment. (Modern).
Permanent White, mixed in colors that otherwise would be to strong (Prussian blue) - not used on its own in oil painting.
I use Titanium white, and when I need a fast drying and/or less opaque white I mix it with Liquin. Do you think Zink- or Mixed- white would give me any benefits? Do you use these whites? Any other hints on using "white".
Alright, maybe I should just buy these whites and try them http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
[This message has been edited by henrik (edited January 17, 2000).]
01-17-2000, 10:57 PM
Henrik's list is very informative. Here's a similar breakdown.
Flake White aka Silver White, Cremnitz White, Lead White:
Basic lead carbonate, ancient, warm yellowish white appearance, opaque, medium tint strength, permanence rating = A, flexible and durable film
NOTES: Poisonous; when unvarnished will darken upon exposure to sulfur fumes; good brushing qualities
Zink White aka Chinese White:
Zink oxide, France - late 18th century but not popular until 1830s, cool bluish white appearance, semi-transparent, low tint strength, permanence rating = AA, brittle and hard film
Titanium White aka Titanox:
30% Titanium dioxide mixed with barium sulfate, US & Norway 1916-1919, brilliant intense white appearance, very opaque, high tint strength, permanence rating = AA, soft film
NOTES: slow-drying in oil
Zinc/Titanium Mixture aka Composite White, Permanent White - Winsor & Newton, Permalba White - Weber:
Titanium dioxide and zind oxide, US & Europe 1920, bright white appearance, opaque, medium tint strength, permanence rating = AA, flexible film
NOTES: Produces a better paint film than either zinc or titanium alone; good brushing qualities; used as a ground in commercial preparation of canvas
I would suggest that the factors which should concern the artist most of all might be the appearance, opacity, tint strength, and film characteristics. Of these, appearance concerns me most. I use the more brilliant "cooler" whites to depict "cooler" objects and surfaces such as porcelain, bright overcast skies, etc. I use the warmer whites for depicting white cotton cloth and skin tone highlights.
[This message has been edited by Keith Halonen (edited January 17, 2000).]
01-19-2000, 02:14 PM
As I already said in the "health" discussion, I have a tube of Zinc White and it's exremely oily. Presumably, the zinc pigment just doesn't mix into oil with the same concentration as the titanium pigment.
The lower pigment cocentration of Zinc White would explain why it's not as opaque, and explain why it's bad for underpainting, etc.
I've used Permalba white and I hate it. Too oily.
My favorite white is a big tube of Grumbacher Titanium White. This white is really thick and dry the way I like my white to be.
01-19-2000, 03:09 PM
The oily consistency is becuase linseed oil and zink does not mix well, the more linseed oil the more slimy will the paint get. The manufacturer will use some other oil to reduce the slimyness like poppy oil. This will however lenghten the drying time.
Source: Oil painting by Akke Kumelien, 4th ed. 1991. First published 1946. (Don't know if this book is available in English).
01-19-2000, 05:57 PM
I read in the latest issue of "Artists" magazine that W&N has announced yet another white recently. They call it "soft white"; it is a mixture of titanium and zinc whites and is supposed to lighten reds without them becoming pink as most whites will. Has anyone an opinion on this?
02-23-2000, 06:00 AM
Since white generally is the paint I use most, the question is a real one. There is no one "best" white. It depends on what you like to do in your paintings.
02-23-2000, 06:25 AM
I finally got a tube of mixed white (titanium+zinc) to try out. The Titanium white I have is really thick, but the mixed white (from the same manufacturer) is much more fluid. I also noted the comment that Titianium white tends to "take over" when mixing - and I have observed that effect recently.
To summarize: have tube - will test.
Painter; how are you using the different whites?
03-15-2000, 03:08 AM
I am using a combination of zinc and lead by Grumbacher. By it's weight, I think it is mostly lead (which weighs a lot).
I am switching to Archival oils as much as possible, and have been using their titanium white, soft titanium, and zinc white. The zinc white has small clumps in in it. (Not very satisfactory). I use the soft titanium when painting from the model (25 to 45 min for entire painting) I use the regular titanium in the last stages of a painting, since it chalks the colors, almost like pastels. They also sell a pearl white which has mica in it, and which I haven't yet used.
I have some very old flake white paint from Utrecht, which seems to have stiffened in the tube. Hope this helps.
06-22-2000, 02:26 AM
A bit more on whites -
Mixes of 20 to 50 % Zinc oxide
and 80 to 50 % titanium white ,
will produce , durable coats.
[ see Mayer , 3rd edition ]
Each pigment will lend qualities to
the other . The titanium white usually
dries to a soft coat , the zinc oxide
to a hard ,brittle coat . The blend gives
the optimum points.
Zinc Oxide reacts with oils to form
soaps , and goes stringy . These soaps
will suspend titanium pigment well ,
giving a good , brushable paint .
Titanium Oxide is used in the Rutile
form and is today , non - chalking .
In the early days , it was the Anatase
form which chalks .
If the titanium white is white-ing out
the other colours . Then the other
colours have not got enough pigment in
the paint --- too much filler . Ask
anyone who hand mulls paints.
See Gamblin for good titanium / zinc
whites , with good paint qualities .
[ I have no connection to them . ]
Zinc oxide is unaffected by sulphur
in the air , and the titanium gives
good opacity . So together your white
paint will , not loose opacity or
darken with time .
Zinc oxide is fairly non - toxic ,
see what's in your sunblock , as well
as titanium white.
06-22-2000, 11:32 PM
Cremnitz White and Flake White. Those are the best options. Lead white uses the least oil of absolutely any pigment whatsoever, and will therefore darken the least (hard to believe, but true). The danger, as always is the stuff that goes into it. High quality lead carbonate and perfectly cleaned cold-pressed walnute oil will give a perfectly satisfactory durability. Other advantages are that it is compatible with all other colors, is extremely rich in its texture and in its tone, and gains the effect of luminosity with increasing layers. Two satisfactory student-grade lead whites are sold by Williamsburg (long), and Old Holland (short). Otherwise, the pro will grind all lead white all the time. In a pinch I will use Old Holland (Williamsburg or Doak if I had them), but I will otherwise always grind it myself. Although I cannot absolutely guarentee the quality of the pigment this way, I can at least guarentee what goes into it. I currently own a kilo of extremely high grade lead white which came from a chemist in Paris. This is the way to go.
06-23-2000, 03:50 AM
I have always heard that zinc white is the best if you are doing glazing, you will be adding it to your glazing medium, which you can select, or blend, taking zinc's attributes into consideration.
[This message has been edited by linart (edited June 23, 2000).]
06-26-2000, 02:29 AM
Interesting topic, especially for a beginner in oils. Has anyone worked with the <a href="http://www.holbeinhk.com/oilwhite.htm" target="_blank">Holbein whites</a>? Their Ceramic White sounds interesting, but I haven't tried it. Thus far, I've only liked the feel of lead white, but I'm always interested in hearing what other folks use and like.
Northwood Studios (http://www.northwood.org/studios)
06-27-2000, 07:06 PM
White is simply the color. The important thing is to know what or how YOU want to paint.
The differences in whites that are available are...
• drying times
Lead white, flake white, Cremnitz white is the oldest white.
It has been used for centuries and probably will be for centuries to come.
It was white. There was no such thing as zinc white or titanium white.
Lead white is just what it says, lead. Therefore it is poisonous. But, perhaps it has gotten a bad rap. Unless you are eating the paint or rubbing it into open wounds or get paint all over yourself, there should not be a problem.
The problem comes when you use lead white in powdered form. It can get into the air very easily and then you can breathe it in, and yes this is very dangerous.
But unless you make your own paint from pigments, there should not be much of a problem with safety.
Lead white dried very fast. Lead, as you may know, is used to make other paints dry quickly when it is used in dryers.
In fact the thick oils that were used for years were always made with lead, so I would not let this bother you.
Lead white is very opaque, a dries very rapidly. If this is a necessity for how you paint, it is a great white to use.
If you use underpaintings, and use a lot of layers...it is a wonderful choice.
Zinc white dries very slowly and is not very opaque.
If you paint in layers and use underpaintings that you need to dry quickly, you would not use this white. It doesn't make sense.
If you paint thickly and quickly and in one or two layers and need to keep your painting wet for a day untill you come back and finish it up, this might be the white for you.
Titanium white is a newer white that seems to be just as opaque as lead white.
It does not dry as quickly as lead white. Many tubes that are labeled titanium white are actually titanium white and zinc white mixed together. The bad qualities of each are supposedly cancelled out when they are mixed together.
I use lead white most of the time myself, but I also will use titanium white.
Only time will tell if in 300 years if all the paintings that used titanium white will turn very yellow or crack alot.
I wouldn't worry much about it as we will be long gone.
I do not use zinc white because it does not suit how I paint.
But this is not to say it is a bad paint.
One of the biggest keys to painting well is to truly understand your art supplies, like a carpenter or surgeon understands theirs.
Could you imagine a surgeon doing an operation and asking something like "Can you explain to me which is the best scalpel to use?"
Understand your materials and you have taken a giant leap towards improving your paintings.
Learn the secrets of oil painting http://www.esartstudio.com
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