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Old 08-11-2009, 07:23 AM
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Titanium White vs Zinc White

Titanium White vs Zinc White, which do you use? do you use both? or have a preference for one over the other? if so why?
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:26 AM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

Zinc white is extremely transparent and titanium is extremely opaque.

So it depends on what you are doing. I personally don't use much zinc at all and prefer Titanium for most work. There are also mixes of the two, and lead-based white.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:35 AM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

Likestapeliad said, titanium is opaque and zinc is transparent. Each has a working issue. Zinc is a fast dryer and prone to cracking when used by its self and titanium is slow drying and can make some colors chalky. Some manufacture get around this by mixing these two together and marketing them as titanium white, mixing white, or flake white substitute / hue or some other variation. Additionally flake white is usually a mix of Lead white and Zinc, to help off set the off white nature of lead white. Cremnitz White white is pure lead white. You have to look at the pigment list to know what you are really getting.
Lead White - PW1
Zinc White - PW4
Titanium White - PW6
So the round about answer is that I use a titanium/zinc mix for general painting and for portraiture I tend to use flake white.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:07 AM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

Quote:
Originally Posted by rltromble
Zinc is a fast dryer and prone to cracking when used by its self.

Prone to cracking due to its fast-drying nature, or is the cracking due to some other inherent characteristic of zinc? In other words, any more prone to cracking than other fast-drying colors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rltromble
Titanium is slow drying and can make some colors chalky.


Do you mean chalky in texture/sheen (like matte).....or chalky as far as lack of brilliance/vividness, a pastel look?

For example, do you mean chalky sheen that could be evened out by a final varnish......or chalky as far as never being able to mix a hue accurately?

Last edited by 1100ww : 08-11-2009 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:40 AM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

I use zinc only as a thin first layer so that I can still see my sketch. After that, I usually use Lead White or Titanium. Titanium can be chalky, but a tiny bit of yellow usually resolves this issue.
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:06 PM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

For the heck of it I pulled out "The Artist Hand book of Materials and techniques", and this is what he said. According to him its a slow drier, so I may be off on that count. Usually I don't use it with out mixing it with titanium. But apparently its the nature of the zinc its self that causes it to crack.
Quote:
Zinc white is a reactive pigment in oil, and unites with it but not in the same way as flake white does. It tends to make a brittle, hard film in comparison with the tough, flexible film of white lead. Its film has none of the desirable paint qualities described under flake white, it brushes out poorly, and it is an exceptionally bad dryer. Its particle structure is rather finer than that of the average pigment. Poppy-oil films are definitely less permanent than with flake white.
P.95 The Artist Hand book of Materials and techniques 6ed 1985
The chalky nature of titanium white is well document, but it only seems to become an issue when large amounts are used. Its can be best described like some one spread chalk dust all over the paint. Whats interesting is that this effect only seem to happens with certain paints. As for the varnish, I don't know.
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Old 08-11-2009, 02:46 PM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

I've gotten what I first thought was "random" surface beading when glazing (applying a couch of oil would bead up....frustrating). I finally noticed that it only occurs over areas where Titanium White was used. The more Titanium White, the more aggressive the beading. Very annoying.

I would say that it does have a chalky look.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:16 PM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

That's interesting 1100ww. I have had that occur too, but I primarily use Flake white on most of my paintings. I have found success in resolving this with a bit of turps or more paint.
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:36 PM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

I don't know if this thread is dead or not, but here goes. My question about zinc white is, can it be mixed with transparent colors to tint or lighten them, yet still retain their transparency? Even the smallest amount of titanium white seems to make a transparent color into an opaque color fairly quickly. While I've read many referring to zinc white as transparent, the label on the tube usually says something more like "semi-opaque."

One of my instructors has told me never to mix white with my transparent (glazing) colors. He says if I want a lighter version of a transparent color, to thin the color with lots of medium and save a white spot of bare canvas to paint it over.

But sometimes I go too far and cover too much of the canvas with darks, and feel like I want to lighten it back up again --- without using opaques, which tend to be a pitfall for me and ruin my paintings unless I use them very sparingly.

So... I bought a tube of zinc white to try out. Anybody have much experience using it to mix with transparent colors for glazing?

Last edited by dylbud : 06-18-2010 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:08 PM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

Dylbud, if you made areas dark that you want light, apply full-strength white and let it thoroughly dry. Then you can use a translucent tint on that surface without it mixing with the white. You will definitely lose much of your translucency if you mix it with any kind of white. Even a white with the least tinting power will affect the translucency.
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:43 PM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

Zinc is slow drying. Flake is fast drying. I've never experienced brittleness in zinc but flake (lead carbonate) is by far the most physically flexible paint. Zinc is the brightest white followed by titanium which tends towards a cool tone. Flake white is usually slightly warm in tone.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:37 PM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

Given the choice between Zinc White, and Titanium White, my choice would be Titanium White.

My favorite glazing white is a mix that I make myself, using approximately equal parts of both Old Holland Titanium White, and Old Holland Cremnitz White (lead carbonate). This mix seems to employ the advantages of each, with very few of the disadvantages.

I usually avoid using Zinc White by itself, but I do use Martin F. Weber's Permalba White, which is a mix of both Zinc and Titanium Whites, as I understand. Permalba often seems to get a bad rap, but I have found it to be quite a good white. I use that for simple layering of my painting.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:47 PM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

NancyMP, thanks for the reply. I suspected as much, but I wanted to get some others' perspective. The tube of zinc white that I have says "a semi-transparent white unsurpassed for glazing and scumbling." That sounded a little weird to me because I thought glazing and scumbling were two opposite applications, one done with transparents and the other done with opaques. I don't see how a single color could be "unsurpassed" for both applications.
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:37 AM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

Quote:
Originally Posted by dylbud
NancyMP, thanks for the reply. I suspected as much, but I wanted to get some others' perspective. The tube of zinc white that I have says "a semi-transparent white unsurpassed for glazing and scumbling." That sounded a little weird to me because I thought glazing and scumbling were two opposite applications, one done with transparents and the other done with opaques. I don't see how a single color could be "unsurpassed" for both applications.
I find that Zinc is the best mixer because it imparts no hue variation to your tints. Flake white pulls mixes to the warm side whereas Titanium trends toward the cool. These effects are subtle but none the less real.
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:15 AM
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Re: Titanium White vs Zinc White

I use old holland titanium as it the thickest and most opaque one ive ever found...if you really need to cover something....and for a bit more transparent and quicker drying i use the lead white ...but never zinc....not that ive ever used zinc but only heard bad things about it like cracking etc and it is very transparent apparently...so if i need transparent i can use lead and thin that out instead....also yes indeed the lead is on the warm yellowing side
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