Monday, August 23, 2010

Some Facts on White

I had a conversation with a beginning artist at the gallery the other day.  he had been to a workshop where the instructor told him he "had to" use Titanium White using linseed oil as the binder.  What did I think?

First of all, when an "instructor/teacher" tells you this is THE way or you "have to", or "the only way to....", pack your bags and leave.   There are many ways to go in a direction or to solve a painting problem.

Crow's Nest Glacier, B&W, Oil on Linen

Here is a painting shown in black and white.  A good check on the values employed  (More on this in a later post).  In this painting I used Radiant Titanium White.  I wanted the widest value range possible.

Here is a way to look at the properties of the more common whites used in oil painting.

Titanium White  Highest tinting strength. Fast drying.  Refined Linseed Oil binder.  Opacity 4.  Colour warm.

Radiant Titanium White  Brightest, whitest.  Slow drying. Saflower Oil binder.  Opacity 4. Colour neutral.

Titanium Zinc White  Titanium tinting + Zinc creamy texture.  Fast drying. Saflower Oil binder. Opacity 3.  Colour neutral.

Flake White  Stringy beautiful brushy handling.  Fast drying.  Refined Linseed Oil binder.  Opacity 3.  Colour warm.  Some versions contain lead.

Fast Dry Titanium White  Fastest drying.  Refined Linseed Oil and Alkyd Resin binders.  Opacity 2.  Colour neutral.

Zinc White  Creamy testure for mixing.  Most transparent (scrumbles and glazes).  Slow drying.  Refined Linseed Oil binder.  Opacity 1.  Colour warm.

I have used all of these whites.  One artist grade manufacturer sells more Radiant Titanium White than any other type in the Toronto area.  Lately I have been using a Flake White with no lead.  It yields some interesting brushwork.

Let us know what you use and what you prefer.

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