Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The White Test. . . 5 Years in the Making

I've been preparing this blog entry for about 5 years.

In the aforementioned year of yore, I performed a thoroughly unscientific White Test wherein different brands of oil paint were applied to a little panel and allowed to cure so as to observe their aged properties.  I was focusing primarily on how much they yellowed.  The results led to some concern so I broadened the test to include more brands/kinds of oil paint, and now . . . after two years of drying. . . I give you the results of this expanded White Test (or Off-White Test, as it is known in-house.)

PAINTS TESTED:
Winsor & Newton (Artist Oil Colors)
    Titanium White  37 ml
     Zinc White  37ml
     Flake White #1  37 ml
     Foundation White  37 ml
     Cremnitz White  37 ml
     Transparent White  120 ml
Winsor & Newton (Griffin Alkyd)
    Titanium White  37 ml
     Mixed White  37 ml
Gamblin (Artist Oil Colors)
    Titanium White  37 ml
     Radiant White  37 ml
     Titanium Zinc White  37 ml
     Zinc White  37 ml
     Quick Dry White  37 ml
     Flake White Replacement  37 ml
     Flake White  37 ml
Grumbacher (Artist Oil Colors Pretested)
    Titanium White (soft form)  1.25 fl. oz.
     Titanium White (original form)  1.25 fl. oz.
     Zinc White  37 ml
     Flake White  37 ml
Holbein (Extra Fine Artist Oil Colors)
     Ceramic White  50 ml
     Zinc White  50 ml
Lukas 1862 (Finest Artist Oil Colors)
     Opaque White  37 ml
     Zinc White  37 ml
     Titanium White  37 ml
Old Holland (Classic Oil Colors)
     Mixed White #2 (zinc & titanium)  40 ml
     Titanium White  40 ml
     Cremnitz White  40 ml
     Flake White #1 Cremnitz & Zinc  40 ml
Vasari  (Classic Artist Oil Color)
     Titanium Zinc White  40 ml
     Zinc White  40 ml
     Titanium White  40 ml
Permalba (Artist Oil Color)
     Original White  150 ml
     Zinc White  37 ml
     Titanium White  37 ml
     Iridescent White  37 ml
Chroma (Archival Permanently Flexible Artists Oils)
     Titanium White  40 ml
Chroma (Professional Artists Oils)
     Tinting White (Pearl/Titanium)  40 ml
C.A.S. Alkyd Pro
     White Luster  70 ml
     Titanium White  70 ml
Rembrandt (Extra Fine Oil Colors)
     Transparent White  40 ml
  
The Entire Chart


Flake Whites

Quick Dry Whites

Supposedly White Whites

Titanium Whites 1

Titanium Whites 2

Titanium Zinc Whites

Zinc Whites









Transparent Whites


Specialty "Whites"



THE WINNERS (Still White):
 • Permalba (Artist Oil Color) - Original White
 • Lukas 1862 (Finest Artist Oil Colors) - Titanium White
 • Grumbacher (Artist Oil Colors Pretested) - Titanium White (soft form)

PRACTICALLY ORANGE:
 • Gamblin (Artist Oil Colors) - Radiant White
 • Grumbacher (Artist Oil Colors Pretested) - Flake White
 • Permalba (Artist Oil Color) - Zinc White
 • Permalba (Artist Oil Color) - Titanium White

LEMONY YELLOW:
 • Winsor & Newton (Artist Oil Colors) - Cremnitz White
 • Winsor & Newton (Artist Oil Colors) - Transparent White
 • Rembrandt (Extra Fine Oil Colors) - Transparent White



VERDICT:
The culprit seems to be the vehicle (or binder) used.  Since safflower oil yellows less than linseed oil, I'm sticking with whites made with safflower oil.

(All of these paints are applied to the same gessoed linen panel, so there should be no inconsistency in the ground.  We were also careful to wear gloves when touching the surface, so that there would be no inadvertent addition of oil from fingers to confuse the results.  No animals were harmed through the testing of these paints - including rabbits.  Obviously overly optimistic, I left plenty of space for additional paints to be added eventually - feel free to submit any requests.)

86 comments:

  1. Excelent test, very useful. Old Holland always seems to look good, was that safflower too? I'd be interested in how walnut oil behaves, as I was thinking of using Michael Harding' Cremnitz white in walnut.

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    1. I've been using Harding's cremnitz walnut and love it's application. I too would be very interested to know how walnut measures against linseed.

      This is a fantastic study! Thanks for your work and information!

      Linda Lee Nelson

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      Mebel di jakarta adalah salah satu target pasar kami karena banyaknya permintaan keburuhan furniture dan produk yang kami tawarkan adalah kursi sofa tamu mewah italian terbaru furniture sofa yang memberikan pengaruh yang besar terhadap Suasana nyaman disaat istirahat atau sedang duduk. adapun juga set kursi sofa tamu merupakan sebuah furniture yang wajib ada dalam ruang tamu anda karena selain berguna untuk melengkapi dan memperindah ruang tamu anda, tentang Tempat tidur minimalis dalam proses pembuatannya sangat kami perhatikan, mulai dari pemilihan bahan sampai dengan proses pengiriman sangat diteliti dengan ketat, set kursi tamu jati terbaru adalah furniture yang di tempatkan pada salah satu ruangan rumah yaitu ruang tamu, mendekorasi ruang tamu rumah agar menjadi lebih rapi tentu keinginan semua orang. kami menjual furniture kursi teras minimalis terbaru kayu jati  ​adalah produk furniture kayu  minimalis terbaru yang di hasilkan dari pemikiran yang kreatif dari para pengrajin asli jepara yang sudah berpengalaman. untuk update harga kunjungi kami.

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  2. Good suggestion Alun. I'll add it to the list. Thanks.

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  3. Thank you so much for this information!

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  4. Hi Bill -
    That's lined up for the next batch to be tested. I have several brands that use walnut oil - we'll see how they go. I'm planning on posting the results annually.

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  5. I'm requesting Rembrandt paints and W&N Artisan paints. Thank you!

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  6. I wonder how M. Graham whites would do since the walnut oil is their binder.

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  7. Excellent work. It appears you have taken into account all variables that could influence your findings. Was there a 100% positive correlation between the yellowing and the type of oil used as the binder?

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  8. Great Post!
    I have always been under the impression that all alkyd paints use safflower oil. Is that true? If so, would that generally make alkyds superior to traditional oils in terms of resistance to yellowing?

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  9. This is incredibly useful. Thanks so much for taking the time to blog about it.

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  10. Hi Deborah - I'm working on a comprehensive listing of all the properties of the paint tested. There will be quite a few new paints in the next batch and I'd like to organize the info to see about such correlations.

    I'm planning on reposting this test annually, to see how the paints continue to age. More info will be available on the next post.

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  11. Dear Anonymous - Alkyd paints didn't fare so well on the test. Alkyd paints are made with alkyd resin which is synthetic. If it is derived from safflower oil I don't know, but it is not safflower oil. There is at least one new alkyd that I'll be testing in my next batch, so stay tuned.

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  12. I am very disturbed by this white test. I just bought a ton of Gamblin Radiant white because it had safflower oil as the medium. Does this test mean that the pigment is faulty or is the safflower oil yellowing? Could your paint be an old formula? I need to find my receipt!

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    1. I have Gamblin whites on my test board and it only took 18 months to 2 years for them to turn orangey-peach . On my board are Lukas 1862 Ti white and All Art Spectrum whites for 7 years. They are still fresh today. Blockx whites stay white also. The Michael Harding's are a big disappointment_all are turning some version of creamy yellow in under 4 years. The Rublevs are all yellowing except for the mica white. It has been known for at least 2000 yr that you have to wash the mucilage out of the oil if you don't want it yellowing. These paint manufacturers don't want to spend money on producing a superior product. The solution is calcitesunoil.Com ...by Louis Velazquez to stop all this nonsense.

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  13. Flake white will yellow because it becomes more transparent as it dries. It is of course, in part, its transparency that many artists prize. This is also true of the transparency and the cool tone of zinc white.

    Titanium is so dense and opaque that it will remain whiter longer; however it kills colors.

    Safflower oil will remain clear; however it forms a weak film and sometimes will hardly dry at all, just turn to a gelatinous mess, unless drying agents are added.

    Drying agents add their own problems to paint films. I stay away from them.

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  14. Dear Morgen - just to be clear, are you disturbed by the white test or by it's results? ; )
    As for the Radiant White - the color shift also disturbed me. I bought about 10 tubes of it, and told numerous students to buy it, after believing that the the Radiant White was "formulated for painters who want a "refrigerator white" white." as Gamblin states on it's website. According to this test the people at Gamblin need to turn on their kitchen lights - their white refrigerators are actually a very light creamsicle color. As for the binder, it is poppy oil, not safflower oil, that is used:

    "Radiant White: Texturally, Radiant White is the shortest (most buttery), brightest, whitest Gamblin white - excellent for abstract paintings and a good choice if the color white is critical. It's bound with poppy oil, which does not dry as fast as linseed oil.

    Pigment: Titanium Dioxide (PW6)
    Vehicle: Poppy oil
    Lightfastness I, Series 2, OPAQUE, MSDS"

    I now have many tubes of the paint that I only use in situations where the color shift won't be noticeable or is desired.

    I actually bought a new tube of Radiant White last week to use on the next batch, to see if there is a difference from the first test. Let's hope Gamblin has improved it's "brightest, whitest" white. I have nothing against the company - I use many of their products and have for years- but at this point, Radiant White is a misnomer.

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    1. Years back I ran a similar test, without as many brands and Gamblin's titanium and zinc whites yellowed in about 3 weeks! Needless to say I don't use their whites-- What about Graham paints?

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  15. My friends have conducted similar tests and it's always interesting too see the results. They always vary from brand to brand, sometimes even from one batch of paint to another. I use OH flake whites for years and am very pleased with them.
    As some people pointed out, safflower or poppy oil do not yellow as linseed oil does, but have other undesirable properties which may have a seriously detrimental effect to the paint film. Besides, titanium and zinc whites are no match to the flake white. Therefore, I stick with OH flake and cremnitz whites ground in linseed oil and use titanium white only for highlights or small areas where such a cool white is absolutely necessary (admittedly, I found that very few paintings require it).
    Besides, by exposing the painting to the sun for a couple of hours, one can always bleach the darkened whites.

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  16. Thank you so much for this test. My new tubes are made with safflower oil and Titanium Dioxide. I hope the new formulation won't turn the way the poppy oil formula did. That orange color shift is shocking. I hope my paintings don't turn orange!

    I need to go to the paint store and get me some decent white. What are you going to buy from now on? I liked the Lukas 1862 and the Old Holland mixed.

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  17. Thanks for posting your results! Wondering if any of the companies involved, such as Gamblin whose product I used to trust, will comment on this test?

    osweetnature

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  18. I add my thanks to those already posted. This is great information.

    I would be very interested in seeing results for the various whites that Utrecht makes, because I use mostly Utrecht paints and know many other artists who do as well.

    Raspberry

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  19. Valentino - Cool painting in your April 21st post. All technical data is welcome.

    Morgen - that's great news. Hopefully the new paint performs as expected.

    Karla - I hope so. The purpose of this test is to know what the results of the products will be. I would think that the companies would care about this too - and a real-world test should be info they can use.

    As Morgen mentioned, Gamblin may have reformulated their Radiant White. They may want to clarify this so that we don't judge their current product on past formulations. Their website still says poppy oil, so they should probably start there.

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  20. Thanks for posting this helpful topic. The Lukas 1862 paints are said to use "pharmaceutical quality linseed and sunflower oils," which would be consistent with both Gottsegen and Mayer's Handbook which describe the benefits of refining and lowering the acidity of linseed oil, which causes the yellowing. Sunflower oils, however, are rated below poppyseed oil which is rated below linseed oil. Mayer describes poppyseed oil as forming "a film that is weaker and less permanent than linseed oil...it is better not to use it in amounts greater than 25 percent (with linseed oil).

    In Mayer's "The Painter's Craft," safflower oil is described as follows: "Safflower oil began to be employed in artists' colors in the late 1950s; it is a satisfactory and acceptable replacement for linseed oil although it can be rated a little bit below linseed in all-around properties. The results of accelerated laboratory tests show it to be slightly inferior to alkali-refined linseed oil in color retention, in retention of flexibility, and in toughness and durability of film, but for practical purposes these small differences should not disqualify it for use in high-quality oil colors. Safflower oil has a reputation in industry for being one of the best non-yellowing oils - better than linseed oil in this respect - but this is true only of its use as an ingredient of mediums like the oil-modified alkyd resins rather than of its use as a vehicle for artists' oil colors.

    "Walnut oil is similarly inferior to linseed oil in all-around paint qualities; some investigators rate it above, and some below, poppy oil. Walnut oil will grow rancid on storage and develop a strong odor, as is common with other nut oils; its properties as a paint medium are believed to be thereby impaired." - Mayer's Handbook, 5th ed. Gottsegen adds that "the drying process quickly overtakes this minor defect."

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    1. How does that book compare to, "The Artists Handbook of Materials and Techniques"?

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  21. Thanks Jonathan.
    As for the technical procedure of my painting you mentioned, I executed it on linen canvas, primed with Golden Gesso. In order to achieve a textured surface which I wanted, I glued rice paper pieces (mostly along the compositional axis) on it, using Golden regular gel. Then I covered the whole surface with another layer of gesso, slightly tinted with Golden burnt sienna. I draw the outline of the main shapes using Prismacolor pencils and proceeded with painting. The underpainting was executed in complementary or near complementary colors (in darker or lighter values than the envisioned final layer). However, some areas underpainted with those complementary colors looked rather charming, so I left them as they were, that is - I overpainted other areas, but not those.
    Horseman figure (St. Grisogono) was painted entirely in acrylics. I did not use oil paints on that area. The whole shape was underpainted in flatly apllied burnt sienna (no tonal modelling) over which I painted lights with gold acrylic paint, which was enhanced (overpainted) with thin layer of burnt sienna where necessary, for a more pleasing look. I purposely mixed different painting approaches for different areas.

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  22. I've been using Old Holland Titanium. From your test, it looks like it's not the best, nor the worst? I am so grateful for your research and posting. This is excellent for the art supply industry. As painters increase their skills, they should be demanding higher quality from the manufacturers. This is so good for them to see. I notice some high-end labels there, too. No way to actually know how high-end they are without such tests. Thank you.

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  23. Execellent post Jonathan - I've referenced it on two of my blogs
    * Making A Mark (see 6th June 2010 - Who's made a mark this week?)
    * and Making A Mark Reviews (see Jonathan Linton's Review of the lightfastness of White Oil Paint) with proper accreditation to you and links back to this post.

    Do please keep in touch when you've got more of the same to announce!

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  24. How alarming!
    Thanks a bunch for this. Though the results are very disturbing. I've come to trust Gamblin highly but am now having my doubts.

    I'd be interested to see how LeFranc's Titanium White and also the higher end less commercial paints, like Vasari, Willimsburg, Robert Doak and Natural Pigments, Flake and Titaniums hold up.

    Additionally the inner skeptic in me wonders about how accurately the accelerated testing is replicating centuries of normal exposure. And that the testing may be causing affects that wouldn't otherwise occur. After all, the Old Masters must have surely had inferior refining capabilities yet tons of their painting's whites still hold true.

    Even still the results are very informative and interesting.

    Thanks
    Ben

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  25. Amazing and interesting results! Yes, I am surprised.

    That said, isn't the real proof of the pudding how it holds up in a painting? When you look at one of your paintings that may have an area of color that is dominantly white, so you see them yellowing/oranging-up over time?

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  26. Were these samples stored in the light, or in the dark? This looks like "primary yellowing", which results from storage in the dark, and would be expected to bleach out with a few days of exposure to light.

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  27. Very nice work!

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  28. Thank you so much, you saved me a lot of grief !

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  29. Hello - As a founder of Gamblin Artists Colors Co., I spent two decades watching white oil colors dry. I appreciate your patient work and your sharing it. I cannot offer any info on Gamblin Artists’ paints. Since selling the company six years ago, I no longer know about their methods or materials.

    In general, here are a few more variables that result in color variation among binders:

    Driers. Titanium White does not make as fast a drying paint as lead white. A small measure of combined metals salts is added to make sure paint layers are dry within seven days. While not much, any drier influences whites as they age, especially zinc, which is the most transparent. Before using zinc inside your paint layers, read current research on pigment at http://www.amien.org/

    If you add driers, use cobalt drier and buy fresh every year.

    Binder temp. Vegetable oils must be modified to make paint binders. Gently heating the binder allows for a quicker uptake of pigment and a higher pigment load. “Gently heating” is not a precise manufacturing term. All paintmakers are very careful about heating vegetable oils. We have been know through history as “masters of the black arts” and required to refine oil far away from town. Linseed oil explodes at approx. 500 degrees F. The higher the temperature the darker the oil.

    Storage. If you open a tube of artists’ paint and find yellowed binder under the cap, blot the oil up and discard. Adding binder that has separated can increase tendency of oil paints to yellow.

    If you take your chart now and place in full sunlight, you will probably see brightness return to your paint layers.

    Turpentine. If you choose to use this hot solvent, be sure to buy only water-clear, well recognized brands of turp. American pine turp causes yellowing because it contains as much as 20% resiny debris due to lack of refining. Don’t shake a can of American pine turp because that distributes the debris throughout the solvent. Throw out bottom third of solvent in the can.

    Best, Martha

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  30. Dear Martha - Great info. Thanks so much. Would you mind if I post an entry with your comments? - JL

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  31. I recently bought a tube of Gamblin Radiant White which has a safflower oil binder.

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  32. Dear Jonathan,
    thank you for your page, for your tests.

    I am looking for this problematics the whole time in the literature, internet...
    I saw the producer use
    - alkali refined linseedoil
    - poppy oil
    - wallnut oil
    - safflower oil

    I dont want to use poppy oil because of the shrinking of the volume over the time, bad surface etc.
    I dont want to use the wallnut oil because of the going rancid.
    And I was not sure if to use the acali refined linseed oil, or the safflower oil.
    I belived into the safflower oil, but I did´t see any remarks in the old literature (because it´s quite new thing), but it is not mentioned even in the book from Kurt Wehlte. (One of the art-materials bibles in Europe.)He mentions only poppy for these colours.
    Your test helped me to decide for the binder for the whites and blues.
    What is your meening about 1-2% of beewax into the binder.
    Thank you once more - i saw the videos too it´s great!
    Thanks Tomas

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  33. Thank you for this eye-opening test of commercial whites. To really get a better idea of what is going on here one would need to lay out the exact formulations from all of the manufacturers. Zinc and Titanium dry slowly in all of the oils and driers will be found in just about all the paints included, especially the ones with paler oils such as safflower and poppy. Its hard to say why the Grumbacher SF and Lukas titanium whites remained so white. Paler oils and minimal driers added? I would have speculated those brands have the most stabilizers added. Does this make a difference? My submissions for the next test(s) are; BLOCKX titanium-titanzinc-flake-mixed white , REMBRANDT titanium white(regular and 'linseed' oil types) HOLBEIN titanium white -quick-dry - silver white - foundation white , SCHMINCKE norma opaque white , CHARVIN titanium white - titanium zinc white ...........The Blockx/Charvin/Holbein(holbein foundation w. is linseed) are poppy whites. Would be interesting to see how they hold up.

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  34. Oxidation of the drying oil is the problem with yellowing, that can be controlled by either stopping it before the yellowing starts or speeding up the drying time of the paint film or protecting it....controling the oxidation. What the artist who paints in oils needs is a oil paint that is between oil and acrylic that sets up almost as fast as acrylics...the old masters especialy Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian and others had such a paint, was there a secret, no...there is a natural substance that is very close to acrylic spectrographically that the old masters used in small amounts in thier paints, especially white oil colors... it cannot be detected even now with science...it was very expensive, lasts almost forever (a glue was used on a 2,000 year old Roman helmet were a small amount of this substance was present and was found to be still stringy when a solvent was used to dissolve it and it hardened back again good as new after 2,000 years...when the solvent evaporated) this substance is absolutely clear...and when a small amount of another natural product that was used by painters for two millennium or longer is added...one can have master quality paint like Rembrandt or Rubens and can paint with ease, the colors will be more beautiful, easier to draw with, be strong no matter how thin, even in a wash like water color... if you know how the masters mixed thier colors and why...or if larger amounts of this product is added to the XXXXX which is then mixed into colors made with any of the common drying oils...raw or thickened no matter...although raw is better and easier...Italian or Northern Europe-walnut, poppy or linseed, even safflower oils... one can paint like the Italians such as Titian with ease or Rubens...Rembrandt is another story his crude painting technique is very hard to master...the old masters hid nothing there was no secret for thier paints or how they painted...how they mixed thier colors is another matter...this they hid from the buyers for good reason...figure it out you already know based on your knowledge of the products available to the old masters...however there was a secret of color mixing...which you should also know if you think about it...hint, the masters were business men and were cheap cutting costs where they could...an example if you will, white lead pigment sold to the masters and also to boat and decorative wall painters was often cut with white flour as it was cheaper then pure white lead pigment...recently some have found flour in Rembrandt white paint layers and assume that it was a secret ingredient...it was not but only a fact that the master bought inferior white pigment..who would know...more profit for the seller of the white pigment usually a middle man...why do I know this...there was an art market, before modern science...which is no more because of easy detection...these are things which I was never taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art...hell no one there knew how to paint in oils, I wasted four years there getting a degree when all I had to do was study a few months with a 90 year old master restorer and art forger in London...his income depended on knowing how the masters painted...and it kept him out of jail I suppose...

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    1. did they use chalk and other calcium based compounds?

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    2. He never answered... He, he he, It seems that this ultramysterious substance cannot be named. I suppose it is just for sale? Personnally, I need not any secret additive to copy old masters'wet in wet effects with or without blending strokes in the same session, according to your needs. Just very simple grinding work with the basic ingredients that modern analyses can now easily detect in paint layers from the masters...

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  35. Nice. I have a similar tester board on my studio wall. About 15 years old now.

    The clear winner--Lefranc & Bourgeous Titanium White (in poppy oil, I believe). It is absolutely white. Very close to a swatch of Golden Titanium Acrylic nearby) If I want an undiluted pure white in my painting I would use that.

    The worst was Grumbacher flake. But on the whole I'd say all the paints (Zinc, Titanium, Flake) have yellowed to a kind of antique golden white with no clear winners or losers. Winsor & Newton Cremnitz might be the whitest of the lead based paints.

    Old Holland Cremnitz remains my absolute favourite white to use.

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  36. This is all very interesting John. If the binder is the culprit for yellowing, then I think I am happy to be LeFranc Titanium White. It has a safflower binder. I really like LeFranc's white!

    Thanks for doing this test and sharing it! Much appreciated!

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  37. I did a very small test about a year ago using the whites in my box...Gamblin Flake White Replacement; Gamblin Radiant White; and a Winton Titanium. Today the Flake is VERY yellowed, the Radiant (with safflower binder) nearly as bad and the Winton Titanium looks like new. I am very disappointed with the Radiant White; I was pulling for it.

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  38. Excellent, thank you very much.
    If you get the inclination, could you add Art Spectrum to the list. Titanium white number 2 (thicker than #1). It is bound with safflower.

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    1. hi ron have you seen www.tadspurgeon.com and his textbook. this info puts paid to all these questions about various oils_see his website because modern manufacturers use the cheapest versions of ''refined '' oils and they certainly don't have the time to process the oils themselves.
      costs would be too much.

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  39. Thank you for posting this! It inspired me to do a blog post of my own white tests from 2004. The results were very similar to yours. http://lindaschweitzer.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-white-test-after-8-years.html

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  41. LeFranc whites are made with Soybean oil, unless they have changed the formulation -I own paint that states this right on the tube. When they changed/revamped the line this last time around they did away with indicating the binder on the tubes unfortunately. Linseed, poppy, safflower, and soy were used depending on the pigment and intent.
    What should also be taken into account in determining yellowing/discoloration beyond the type of binder as well as the type of drier and quantity used, is the 'inert' whites that are part of the formulation in these paints. Even if a manufacturer does not extend their paints with 'cheap fillers', and 'only use pure pigments'... Blanc Fixe/Barite, Calcium Carbonate, Gypsum, and other white pigments, will be found singularly or in combination in our whites -even in the lead whites- as part of making a useful paint that has the right rheology/working properties. Barite for example will dry to a buff or even yellowish color but is bone white while its still wet. Feedback from fellow painter's experiences and informal tests are appreciated here, as is the effort and results of this Linton blog post.

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  42. Can you test Williamsburg's Titanium White. They have been bought by Golden a few years ago and now make that paint with an Alykid refined linseed oil. Curious how that holds up.
    And I have another request... Can you maybe do a test of Lukas's 1812 paint to test it's durability? I am worried that this paint's film is too soft to hold up for many years. I have noticed that paintings I have made with this paint are way way way more delicate than my older paintings that were made with other paint brands that had linseed oil as the binder. Also Lukas adds wax in addition to the safflower oil and this might be the culprit also.

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  43. jonathan: thanks for this very useful site!
    ❄ learning on xmas! ❄

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  44. Which paints were the ones that dried for 5 years and which are the paints that dried for only 2 years? Or did I misunderstand what you were talking about when you said that you decided to include different brands and now it's been two years?

    Either way, thanks for posting this.

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  45. Oil paint is hilarious, it just doesn't work! I have been using it for 20 plus years and am constantly amazed at its shortcomings. The compromises that have to be made are frustrating to say the least. Poppy oil doesn't yellow but takes forever to dry and is brittle as heck. Linseed oil flexible yet yellowing. And half the time it seems like the only thing the paint will fully adhere to are my clothes.
    As a result of many frustrations over the years I am always appreciative of some body doing these sort of tests, lord knows the paint manufactures don't seem to! I have done some tests with various mediums in whites but hadn't tested the whites themselves.
    Anyway thanks because I looked at your test just in time to cancel an order which included 10 150ml tubes of Gamblin Whites and replaced them with Lucas.

    Thanks

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  46. could you test williamsburg oil paint?

    great test! very helpful!

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  47. Looks like an expensive study. We are all in your dept. Thanks

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  48. Hi Jonathan,

    First of all, thanks for doing this; making this kind of research public is very important.
    The 17th-century painters used to add calcium carbonate to their whites. This did several things: it took up some of the excess oil (paint requires more oil to grind it than it needs to bind it), it makes the paint more opaque, it acts as a siccative (although this characteristic wasn't needed with lead white) and, most important, it counteracts to a large extent the paint's turning yellow with time.
    I have always used W&N titanium white—ground in safflower oil—with the addition of calcium carbonate. Because of titanium's slow drying, I add cobalt drier. The lights in tests of mine painted 35 years ago remain unyellowed.
    An interesting aside—recent tests of 17th-century paintings have shown that ground glass (smalt) and/or azurite were used in the (mostly brown) half-tones and the darks. Both of these contain cobalt.The old masters did not use cobalt in the lights because their white was lead white. I believe that they would have used titanium, modified with calcium carbonate and cobalt drier, if titanium would have been available to them—this mixture exactly reproduces the paint quality of Rembrandt, van Dyck, Hals, et al. Titanium white is much deanser, more opaque and stable than lead white because of it's crystaline structure.

    Michael John Angel A.R.C.L.M.
    Director of Studies
    Angel Academy of Art, Florence
    www.angelartschool.com

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  49. I usually just look at the cruddy build up under and around the cap of my oil paints. That will tell you what color they will be in a few years.

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  50. Jonathan, you made a wonderful work with these tests. I hope you will keep on testing paints like that. I confirm that the Old Holland Cremnitz white is a very good compromise. Not the whiter, but given the toughness, paint durability, application properties, behaviout during mixing with other colors, and drying properties, definitly the best compromise in my opinion.
    I also grind my own whites with various white leads. And now, after a few years grinding, my prefered oïl for this purpose is walnut. It gives paints which are really better than the beautiful poppy oïl. The latter has a bad reputation of forming brittle layers after its too long drying, and this is perfectly right.

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  51. Hi Jonathan, Great post. I hope you will test some of the Natural Pigments lead whites that are gaining popularity. I am using the Lead White and love that when it tints flesh tones it doesn't also cool them. I hear that the lead white 2 is also nice to work with. My old standard is Rembrandt Titanium white, not the transparent. I sure hope it does better. Thanks for all this.

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  54. PLEEEEEASE will you post this on Youtube???? Even just the photos alone will help a LOT of people!!!
    Please will you post this in video form? It would be a tremendous gift to so many hard working struggling artists, trying to learn. Thank you!!!!

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  55. I haven't read every word on this website, nor every comment, so forgive me if I missed a statement relative to my comment, which is: did you store all of the samples as they were drying in such a way that they would all receive an equal amount of the same type of light over the test period? If for example, an extreme case: if you stored some in relative darkness and others where sunlight could reach them, then there is an amount of uncertainty in your results since it is well known that sunlight will bleach out some of the yellowing of linseed oil.

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  56. Never mind. I see now that the samples were small and all were applied to the same panel, therefore I assume they all received the same quantity and type of light . Sorry for this careless oversight.

    Same anonymous dated August 20, 2014 9:19 am

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  57. It is interesting, though, that Gamblin Radiant White IS made with safflower oil. At least according to their website it is.

    Same ole Anonymous

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  58. I have been working on a show of "white" paintings for over a year. I have been using Gamblin oil paints for almost 30 years. I have recently contacted them because I have had paintings returned because of how badly they have yellowed. I have been using their titanium-zinc white, in safflower oil and the radiant white in safflower oil. Both have yellowed terribly, very much like your test results. Thanks for doing all of this. I wish I had read it two years ago.

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  59. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  60. I'm waiting with baited breath for the 10 year followup, which would be right about now. I really hope you do one!

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  63. This is very helpful, since all whites are not created equal. But is there an entry for Winsor Newton Soft Mixing White (my white of choice)? If I missed it, please let me know. Thanks..

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  64. This is great Jonathan, thank you! It would be good to also have the actual pigments listed on the tube included in the info as well, PW1, PW4, PW6 etc. Because from my experience sometimes Zinc is listed as a component of Titanium white and I have also found a white that is titled as 'lead' white that has no PW1 in it!

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  65. Thankyou so much for this research - it is so helpful. I was wondering if you had come across Art Spectrum Paints - they are artist quality paints commonly used in Australia and recommended for use by our art schools. I believe the pigments for most of their colours are ground in alkali refined linseed oil but they use safflower oil for white pigments

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  66. Thankyou so much for this research - it is so helpful. I was wondering if you had come across Art Spectrum Paints - they are artist quality paints commonly used in Australia and recommended for use by our art schools. I believe the pigments for most of their colours are ground in alkali refined linseed oil but they use safflower oil for white pigments

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  67. Thank you for providing your results. Can you tell us if they dried in darkness or light? Also, if placed in a sunny window for a few days or a week, do the samples lighten up?

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  68. Thank you for providing your results. Can you tell us if they dried in darkness or light? Also, if placed in a sunny window for a few days or a week, do the samples lighten up?

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  69. Jonathan, thank you! You are awesome for doing this. I'd like to request:
    Michael Harding Titanium White No. 1
    Williamsburg Titanium (Regular and Safflower)

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  70. How about all Michael Harding whites!

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