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Old 08-21-2004, 11:34 AM
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Cremnitz white turns yellow grey! Will added zinc/titanium keep it white?

Help! I recently noticed some color charts I made of ultra blue gradated with white are going yellowy-grey in the whiter parts where I used cremnitz white --but not at all in the area where I used zinc, as an experiment. The charts are only a few months old, at the most, and have been kept in my studio which, of course, is a reasonably well-lit room, though it doesn't get a lot of direct sunlight. However a painting in someone's house is not likely to be hung in direct sunlight either, so even if I could restore the whiteness with some intensive sunlight therapy, it's only going to come back one day.

I used Old Holland Cremnitz white (pure lead). I know all lead does yellow somewhat, and this particular brand's Cremnitz has been reported to yellow more than most other brands (ask Virgil Elliot on Cowdisley). Unfortunately I went a bit mad a couple of years ago thinking lead was going to be banned and stocked up on many big tubes of this color!

I have been thinking recently that adding zinc (50/50 lead zinc) will help to keep my whites white, but is this a safe assumption if my cremnitz is so delinquent as to start turning yellow so quickly in reasonable light? Or should I be using a lower percentage of lead, maybe only 30%? Or maybe adding titanium as well? Or maybe just add this to the reject pile of other OH colors I've become dissatisfied with?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Jenny
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Old 08-21-2004, 01:16 PM
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Re: Cremnitz white turns yellow grey! Will added zinc/titanium keep it white?

Jenny,

I don't know the answer, but I'm extremely interested in knowing that answer, as I, too, have recently bought a tube of Old Holland Cremnitz, and was just using up my OH Flake, with the idea of converting to the Cremnitz White.

I haven't begun using it yet, but if it's going to be a problem, I'd certainly like to know, before I begin using it. Perhaps the zinc in the Flake White keeps the paint from yellowing as much, but I was planning to go with the Cremnitz, and I'm quite interested in knowing the facts.

Bill
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Old 08-21-2004, 02:10 PM
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Re: Cremnitz white turns yellow grey! Will added zinc/titanium keep it white?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WFMartin
Jenny,

I don't know the answer, but I'm extremely interested in knowing that answer, as I, too, have recently bought a tube of Old Holland Cremnitz, and was just using up my OH Flake, with the idea of converting to the Cremnitz White.

I haven't begun using it yet, but if it's going to be a problem, I'd certainly like to know, before I begin using it. Perhaps the zinc in the Flake White keeps the paint from yellowing as much, but I was planning to go with the Cremnitz, and I'm quite interested in knowing the facts.

Bill

Bill,

Yes, apparently zinc does help keep the whiteness in flake white (which is a 50/50 mix with lead, I'm told). I've read that zinc helps lead in this way on the Micheal Harding oil paint website in some of the notes on his whites, I think.

I don't know why I haven't noticed how badly my cremnitz white turns yellow before, but I've used it only sparingly in tints, mainly in mixing with earths and flesh colors, or very dull greeny-blues previously. If I can face doing battle with my very slow digcam software, I might post a picture of my ultra samples. The discoloration of the lovely clean ultra blue on a perfect white background is really quite bad.

However, just to add confusion, Stagfoot and Paul Mesken recently reported yellowing of linseed-based Titanium white. P.M's was home-made. Stagfoot had, I think, kept his in a dark place for a while...I may not be remembering the exact details.

If you have been using OH flake white for a while, how have you found it, in terms of yellowing?

For myself, I think I'm starting to become a zinc convert!

Jenny
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Old 08-21-2004, 03:32 PM
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Re: Cremnitz white turns yellow grey! Will added zinc/titanium keep it white?

This could be a result of OH using Cold Pressed Linseed oil in the Cremnitz. I have heard that Cold Pressed yellows more and faster do to its higher acidity. Michael Harding uses Cold pressed Linseed oil in most of his colors, but uses Alkali Refined Linseed oil in his Cremnitz and Foundation Whites (but his Zinc is in Cold Pressed) and no complaints of premature yellowing so far.
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Old 08-21-2004, 07:42 PM
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Re: Cremnitz white turns yellow grey! Will added zinc/titanium keep it white?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bagwash
Bill,

Yes, apparently zinc does help keep the whiteness in flake white (which is a 50/50 mix with lead, I'm told). I've read that zinc helps lead in this way on the Micheal Harding oil paint website in some of the notes on his whites, I think.

I don't know why I haven't noticed how badly my cremnitz white turns yellow before, but I've used it only sparingly in tints, mainly in mixing with earths and flesh colors, or very dull greeny-blues previously. If I can face doing battle with my very slow digcam software, I might post a picture of my ultra samples. The discoloration of the lovely clean ultra blue on a perfect white background is really quite bad.

However, just to add confusion, Stagfoot and Paul Mesken recently reported yellowing of linseed-based Titanium white. P.M's was home-made. Stagfoot had, I think, kept his in a dark place for a while...I may not be remembering the exact details.

If you have been using OH flake white for a while, how have you found it, in terms of yellowing?

For myself, I think I'm starting to become a zinc convert!

Jenny

Jenny,

I have not noticed OH Flake yellowing, but I have not done the sort of paintings with it that would show that characteristic even if it did yellow.

I am on my second tube of OH Flake White. Actually, I really like it and prefer it for portraits. I had been using Martin F. Weber's Permalba White prior to changing, and if you want a white that does not yellow, Permalba's it. It's made with Titanium and Zinc, in a combination Safflower and Linseed oil base.

However, many artists claim that it looks "chalky". I think that's more of a buzz word than a description, and simply describes the more uncontrollable "opacity" of the white, because it certainly is opaque. This is not a characteristic that is desired when doing portraits, and I experienced a world of improvement when switching to OH Flake White for portraits.

I was JUST going to begin using my OH Cremnitz, but will do a bit of considerating, now that I have learned of its yellowing tendencies. Heck, if artists can lay out a palette with two or three reds on it, ....why not at least two whites, as well??

Bill
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Old 08-21-2004, 07:43 PM
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Re: Cremnitz white turns yellow grey! Will added zinc/titanium keep it white?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bagwash
However, just to add confusion, Stagfoot and Paul Mesken recently reported yellowing of linseed-based Titanium white. P.M's was home-made. Stagfoot had, I think, kept his in a dark place for a while...I may not be remembering the exact details.

Actually the Titanium white was bound in safflower oil, which shows that claims of its nonyellowing can be somewhat overstated.
I don't think pure Titanium combines well with oil, it seems to cast off a film that sits on top.
Most 'Titanium' whites being sold actually contain a portion of zinc white.
Infact one of Maimeri's Titanium whites is I'm told, is more zinc white than anything else.

However I don't think there's a holy grail of whites, each has their strength and weaknesses.
If you want your blues to remain bright and zingy though, I'd play it safe and only use zinc white with them.
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Old 08-22-2004, 04:06 AM
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Re: Cremnitz white turns yellow grey! Will added zinc/titanium keep it white?

Brian--I think you're right about the cold-pressed linseed oil contributing, at least in part to the yellowing. I used to be a staunch advocate of the c.p. stuff, but have moved on to a more rational and measured approach generally--especially after this experience! I read your post in the oil painting forum in the thread about titanium yellowing ("Oils changing color")--very useful.

Stagfoot--glad you came in here to clarify. I am a bit shocked to be reminded that the titanium was safflower-based and yet still yellowed--pretty badly if I remember rightly. Was I right about it having been kept in a dark place? Don't know if that should have any bearing on titanium in safflower anyway. I know you're right that lead's not the white of choice for tints with blue, but having seen the dull, dirty grey/yellow color it turns to, in the areas where there was just the tiniest hint of blue--ie. where the color was basically white/off white--I don't think I'd want to use this version (OH's I mean) as a single white at all, either for tints or simple white areas in a painting. It can only dull/discolor other colors as well, I assume. Hopefully the addition of zinc will redeem it.

Thanks Bill for the info on the OH flake white. Brian's post I referred to above is worth reading in regards to the beneficial behaviour of zinc in a mix with other whites.

Any other comments are very welcome.

Anyone want to but a ton of OH cremnitz white???

Jenny
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Old 08-22-2004, 04:44 AM
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Re: Cremnitz white turns yellow grey! Will added zinc/titanium keep it white?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bagwash
Stagfoot--glad you came in here to clarify. I am a bit shocked to be reminded that the titanium was safflower-based and yet still yellowed--pretty badly if I remember rightly. Was I right about it having been kept in a dark place? Don't know if that should have any bearing on titanium in safflower anyway.

Yes the Maimeri puro titanium was kept in a dark place, it turned a slightly rose beige and was just darker than the more yellow beige of W&N's Foundation white (also stored in the same location).
Thinking about it now, I wonder if it could have been made worse by a cobalt drier that Maimeri may have just possibly added.

W&N's flake white wasn't too bad, but I think it turned a bit more transparent.

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