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Whites in oil colours
Tips & Techniques

Whites in oil colours

The oil colour range of Royal Talens contains 8 different whites. To help you make the right choice for your artwork, the different properties and applications of these whites are described below.

Besides the pigments used, the binder ensures for some important properties. Linseed oil has throughout the centuries shown itself to have the best combination of properties. As linseed oil shows some yellowing in time, it is sometimes replaced by safflower oil particularly for white paint. This oil yellows less, but it also has some disadvantages: it dries more slowly. Safflower oil is therefore not suitable for pasty use and lower paint layers. Safflower oil is contained in the colours Titanium white 105, Zinc white 104, Mixed white 103, Transparent white 119 and Pearl white 817.

As working with thick layers of oil paint can cause problems, it is advisable to mix the paint with Painting paste (096). This prevents any wrinkling of the paint film and increases its durability.

Whites in oil colour



Titanium white is an opaque, warm (yellowish) white. Available on the basis of safflower oil (105) in top layer and linseed oil (118) in lower layers. Titanium white is recommended if opaque mixed colours are required.


ZINC WHITE (104, 117)

Zinc white is a semi-opaque, cool (bluish) white. Available on the basis of safflower oil (104) in top layer and linseed oil (117) in lower layers. Zinc white is often recommended as the best white to use to make colours lighter. Due to its lower covering power, zinc white makes colours lighter without weakening the intensity of the colour.



Mixed white is a neutral white based on safflower oil. Mixed white contains zinc white and titanium white pigments combined in an ideal ratio.



Transparent white is a transparent, cool (bluish) white based on safflower oil. Ideally suited for making a white glazing and mixtures with transparent colours.



Pearl white is a transparent white with mother of pearl effect based on safflower oil. The mother of pearl effect is best seen on darker grounds. To add colour to the mother of pearl and to retain the mother of pearl effect, add only a small amount of transparent colour.



Underpainting white is an opaque, quick drying white based on alkyd resin. Suitable for making relief grounds for oil paint. Can be mixed with oil paint for quick drying lower layers.