Understanding the differences between Oil whites

Compare different oil whites, from Underpainting and Transparent to Zinc and Titanium, to inform your art practice. 

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In this demonstration, you will be shown the six different whites in the Winsor & Newton Artists' Oil Colour range, their characteristics, what they look like and when you would use them in your practice.

The first white used is a Titanium White, which is perhaps the most widely used and popular modern white. It is very opaque and, as you can see in the video, it allows very little of the undertone through.

Zinc White is a much more transparent colour and has a cooler tone. It isn't as opaque as the Titanium white and therefore a little of the undertone shows through. Great for tints and glazing, it has the stiffest consistency of the whites.

Transparent White is transparent, as suggested by its name. Great for mixing with other colours, it has low tinting strength to provide the palest white glazes.

While Underpainting White may not be so noticeably different from some of the other whites in the range at a first glance, it's drying speed is noticeably quicker. Making it ideal for underpainting as its name suggests.

Iridescent White has a pearlescent sheen and is quite transparent. When mixed with other colours it gives a good, strong iridescence.

Flake White Hue is a titanium based formulation created as an alternative to Flake White which contains lead. It has a lower tinting strength than Titanium white and has been made to match the original Flake White. Flake White Hue has a lovely warmth to it.

Adding a bit of Mars Black to each of the whites can further highlight the unique characteristics of each one. Mars Black is a nice neutral black to use in this comparison. When added to Mars Black, Titanium White creates a pale grey. With Zinc White the grey created is not as pale, but has a lighter shift as Zinc is more transparent. You will also notice that the mixture of Zinc White and Mars Black has a cool tone to it. With Transparent white the shift is even less and so gives a good strong mixture. Underpainting white has a strong opacity and so mixes really well. Iridescent white adds a lovely pearlescent sheen to the Mars Black. Flake White Hue gives a lovely warmth to the Mars Black mixture.

By identifying the different characteristics of each white in the range you will be able to inform your palette.

Read more about Winsor & Newton Artists' Oil Colour

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