Tuesday, July 8, 2008

White Pigments at A Glance

Lead White (Flake White, Cremnitz White)
= great opacity
= buttery consistency
= very textural
= produces intense, warm color mixtures
= faster drying than other whites
= very toxic
= not available in watercolor

Titanium White

= superior tinting strength, very opaque
= less prone to yellowing
= good for direct painting
= highly-durable
= brilliant whiteness and brightness
= not cool or warm, tone in the middle of other whites
= dries slower than Lead White and faster than Zinc White
= in oils--leaves a spongy film once dry (needs to be mixed with Zinc Oxide)
Zinc White (oil), Chinese White (watercolor)
= cool white
= Zinc White is slow drying (useful for highlighting as it will not dry faster than the color it is painted over)
= less opaque than other whites (shows nuance of color's undertones greater than with other whites)
= lack of pliancy, can cause cracks in paintings if used in excess


Kristy Gordon said...

Woo, this is a really cool post Peggi! It's amazing how much difference the right selection of white can make in one's work:) I think I heard from Juan Martinez that Flake White is actually a combination of Lead white and Zinc white, with more lead white in it, and it quite good archivally. I guess because Lead White is quite a flexible paint, it counteracts zinc white's brittleness! :) Anyway, thanks again for this post it was really helpful! ~K

Peggi Habets Studio said...

You are so right about the content of Flake White; it does contain some Zinc, while Cremnitz does not. (According to http://www.artblah.com/cremnitz-white, original Cremnitz has not been made since the 1930s). To muck things up even further, I read that there is also Permalba which is a titanium/zinc mix.

Susan Donley said...

Thanks so much for putting this comparison together. A couple of months ago, when I was putting my toe back in oil paint (hmmm... what an image! ;-) for the first time since college (30 years ago, yikes!), I searched futilely for just such a comparison of white (and black) pigments. Suggestion for another series of posts: blacks -- ivory, mars, lamp...

I'm bookmarking this series on de.li.cio.us. Nice job!

OT: I'm a fellow 'burgher and portrait artist. I pay you the highest compliment I can give: I'm jealous! ;-) Your watercolor pet portraits are just wonderful -- vibrant saturated color while maintaining a touchable sense of realism.

Peggi Habets Studio said...

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Great suggestion! I do think I will research the black pigments. I end up learning so much. BTW, I love your grandmother's portrait on your website. Very nice.

Kristy Gordon said...

OHH! Is THAT what Permalba is?!?! COOL! I like Permalba! and Gamblins makes a Titanium zinc one too, which I also lilke:) Looks like that's my combo of choice;) Non-toxic and kinda transparent:) This really is such a greattt post Peggy!! K:)