View Full Version : Gesso vs Titanium White for mixing

09-14-2011, 03:42 PM

I'm very new to all this and have been reading a lot on the internet. I've tried to search WetCanvas for this but keep getting "fatal error" messages. so sorry if this has been discussed before.

I've run across a couple of artist's websites where it is said that gesso is better for mixing than titanium white. Does anyone here do that. What are they pros and cons? :confused:

Wanted to have some idea before ordering more supplies.

Thanks, Pam

saaz hop
09-14-2011, 04:55 PM
Others may have a more technical insight but I've been using gesso for mixing because that's what I picked up watching the Gerry Yarnell series on PBS. When I started with acrylic I bought Mixing White but have noticed with the Winsor & Newton series both their Mixing White and Titanium White use Titanium dioxide as the pigment. I've since dropped Mixing White and use gesso instead for value adjustments. I do use Titanium when I want a pure white highlight.

09-14-2011, 06:19 PM
There are many prior threads on this subject Pam, the most recent one from only last month, gesso or white titanium (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=943379).

Always a good idea to try a search for something you're curious about, assuming the WC search is working at the time! Not just for when the internal search isn't cooperating it can be useful to use Google to look within the site. Either type site:wetcanvas.com along with your search terms into the Google search plugin in your browser or the main Google page, or go to the Advanced Search page where you use the Search within a site or domain option.


09-14-2011, 06:51 PM
Ohhh thank you for the tip Einion! The search option only works for me about 20% of the time. I end up just trying and failing or else having to use a different site to try to get valid information!

09-14-2011, 07:45 PM
I'm glad I'm not the only one having problems with search. The first thing I always suspect is a blankity-blank virus.

I'll go read the other thread and go from there. maybe I'll experiment on my own too! Seems that's what I'm always doing because I'm just learning. Taking a Painting 1 course. Good thing I enjoy experimenting!

Thanks for the help!

09-15-2011, 10:39 AM
Welcome on the search tips, this search problem cropped up recently and it's a real bear. No sure sign of when it'll be resolved either, so it's important to have a workaround.

Even with the usefulness of using Google to search within a site, when the internal search is working it is often the ideal method to use, since you can for example search for posts by a specific user, plus return results as posts only... so that you don't have to wade through most of a 15-page thread to find the single nugget of information you want on the 12th page :cool:

maybe I'll experiment on my own too! Seems that's what I'm always doing because I'm just learning.
Within certain limits this is often the right way to go since personal preference is so important to painters - sometimes it really is a what works for you works kind of thing, irrespective of the way other folks do things.

When you're learning it's important to expose yourself to various ways of doing things to find your preferences (rather than sticking to a single method that's merely the first you were exposed to for example) as well as maybe to find more than one way of doing certain things, since it could be useful to know two or three and use each for different situations.


Yellow Ogre
09-15-2011, 11:33 AM
Gesso + TiO2 white gives a very opaque chalky color. Remember gesso is calcium carbonate (chalk) plus acrylic bonder. Useful for cobering over mistakes.

For blending, be sure to try zinc white, which is semi transparent as opposed to TiO2 white which is opaque. Very useful when painting in layers. I use Zn white to lighten paints in portraits and TiO2 white for surface highlights.