Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tools of my Trade #1 "White Oil"

In this new series of blogs I will focus on the "Tools of my Trade". The things that help me create visions. In essence. Shop talk! I will showcase some of the products and techniques I enjoy and use, as well of some that are not so good and my thoughts on them. It will also help fans and buyers better understand my work from another viewpoint. I hope you enjoy it even if you are not an artist.....

This is not a box of oil is hundreds of visions!
-This is one of my trays in my oils collection
A Quick look at the Titanium Whites I use

Oil paint is a very simple thing, pigments and oil. Pigments derived from minerals, oxides and synthetic materials. The oil used is not what you put in your car or what you fry your chicken in but an oil derived from the seed of the Flax plant called Linseed Oil. Linseed Oil is the most common used but other types of oils are also used (Safflower, which I will discuss soon, Walnut, Poppy even Hemp). 

In my world, I prefer my Titanium White to use Safflower oil. Safflower oil has a tendency to yellow far less that linseed oil (Linseed oil is known for turning a slight hue of yellow with drying and age) The yellowing is not always a bad thing with colors but you want your white to stay as white as possible. Remember White=Light! I also want to point out that I use only Titanium White. There are a few other whites out there like Zinc White but I have never used any. (Zinc Oxide-what Zinc White is made of is also a pigment in Titanium White) 

There are many manufacturers of oil paint. Some large companies and some very small boutique companies. Most paint brands today have been around for 50+ years...Some even more! Most of them know what they are doing. for sure! Like anything else you get what you pay for. 

Artists get real picky and weird about the brand(s) of paint they use. They become fanatics about it sometimes. Its just one of those like to use the best tools available and something that has become familiar. I have "My Brands".....can you tell from the photo up above of one of my oil paint boxes? 

Yeah I Love the Rembrandt Oils from Royal Talens.....I also use some of the Van Gogh line also from Royal Talens and a bunch of other companies depending on color.....but we will discuss other colors in a future blog....Let me get back to White....I always will have on hand at least 1 150ml (large tube) of Rembrandt Titanium White (Safflower Oil) and 1 200ml (large tube) of Winton line by Winsor and Newton. I will also keep a 40ml tube or two around for when I need just a is easier to get just a little out of the small tubes because the large ones have huge openings hehehehe  

REMBRANDT and WINTON by Winsor & Newton
  Why two brands of the same color? The answer is feel! Feel is everything. Every paint brand has a different feel. It will depend on many factors like how fine they grind the pigments, the quality of the pigments and oil etc etc etc........ Some colors I have the same in many brands, which one I use depends on the painting and application. Sounds complicated huh? I have been through about every mainstream paint companies product in one way or another. I found what I like for white in these 2 choices....

Rembrandt Oil Titanium White is smooth and buttery, it has a creamy feel.... This is the paint I use when I use white especially in the subject of the painting! I just love how well it works in almost every type of technique. It blends very good when I add it to color both on the palette and on the canvas. It looks less chalky than some other brands when mixed with color. Even with its high pigment load it feels light. It is rich and smooth. 
Also note....Rembrandt Oil Paints are professional quality and the price reflects that....
***Rembrandt is made in The Netherlands***

Titanium White is a heavy paint, thick and pasty. If I where to use it in the same applications I use the Rembrandt.... I would have to add lots of linseed oil (which I do from time to time to get the white to actually naturally yellow a bit). It is chalky and I can tell is not ground as fine as extra fine grinds found in much more expensive paint. The Winton line is Winsor & Newtons academic line of paints. Low cost but still very good quality. That helps for the reason I use it.....When I need volume (like in a 36x48in painting background using a palette knife)..or on a heavy Impasto style painting that would use lots of paint. I also like the feel in other applications such as when I want a chalky white feel or while glazing\layering another white to play of of the other or just want that non-creamy feel........ This is my bulk paint!    
***Winton is made in France, Winsor &Newton are headquartered in London, England***  

I usually buy Titanium White in big tubes...the price also reflects where the extra quality come into play.... The Rembrandt 150ml tube will cost about $18.00.........a 200ml tube of Winton cost about $9.00 (50ml less for 1/2 the money but there is another cost...)....I will never have a problem with spending whatever the cost to get professional fine ground paint....

    Well thank you for reading this....I had some time to chill this afternoon and felt like writing a blog...Folks ask me all the time "What paints you use?"........ "What brushes you paint with?"..... "What Planet you from?"......"What is wrong with your Mind"......I thought I could at least answer a few of their questions hehehehehe Peace and Love to you....


  1. Nice write up Lance and thanks for letting us peek into the supply cabinet! Zinc white is a little cooler than titanium white, so it can be used effectively sometimes for glazing techniques, you might want to try that someday too. Just to let you know, last year, we came out with a van Gogh 200ml (van Gogh and Winton and student grade, Rembrandt is a professional grade, as you mention, thus the price difference due to pigment load, as well how fine the pigments are ground and the types of pigments used). Great post and keep up the great work and please keep sharing your painting, we love it!

    1. Thank you for taking some time to check it out....I love your paints and am not afraid to let others know....and I have tried the Van Gogh White as a "bulk paint" was good...but the reason for the Winton is that it really is like paste when it comes out of the tube!! Very heavy...too heavy to use without adding oil....thats why it works well for background palette knife work on large scale sculpts like clay....but it is what it is!!! Love you guys....thanks again!!!