Thursday, October 7, 2010

Titanium White

White is an important color. Totally new to me, of course, with only a bit of watercolor experience. I'm reading that often times pigments are mixed with white.

The white most commonly used is Titanium White, PW6, Titanium Dioxide, a powerful and opaque white. I mulled up a bit for last night's painting and got that stuff everywhere! I mean, it sticks to everything! Reminds me of painting the house trim with an oil base white paint.

There are references to mixing dry pigment powder directly into an egg yolk and water mix. There are also examples of using prewetted pigment, either mulled or not, for mixing. And then there are of course aqueous dispersions. What this means is that it is not clear what method(s) I will eventually adopt. I will read my books and try out the possibilities. It seems that there is no one right way to go about egg tempera so one must find one own best path.

I anxiously await my supplies and books. I am cautiously looking into other sources for pigments, knowing how easy it is to overload on pigments. How about a little bit of Zorn palette in egg? Or maybe a few other simple palettes? We'll see...


  1. I have a lovely titanium white by Schmink which has great covering power. Not sure what white is like in tempera - whether it glazes on and lets the undercolour show through, or obscures it.

    I do recall a reference to miniature painters around Hilliard's time ... might even have been Hilliard himself. To paint the bright white lace collars of the period they loaded a fine (probably quite long) brush with fairly liquid white and fairly dribbled it on into the lace pattern.

    Mind you, that would have been lead white. Not sure titanium would work the same way. It's very fluffy, isn't it!

  2. I think some glazing is possible--I must experiment. I only mulled up a bit so there is more of that work (fun!) in my weekend.

    Especially with my inclination towards messiness, I must stay away from any lead-based pigments. Too bad as there are some real beauties although I am sure that I can find safe replacements.

    Titanium white is luckily a rather inexpensive pigment and I am soon to order up 500 grams.