White is the heart of any line of artists’ colors. Between half and three-quarters of the paint on most oil paintings is white, so the white color holds most paintings together.

When selecting white oil colors, consider tinting strength. The more opaque the white, the higher its tinting strength and the more it will “reduce” the color. The higher the tinting strength, the lighter the value of the color/white mixture (tint).

Radiant White, our most buttery white, and Titanium White have the highest tinting strength. Excellent for direct painting styles, they make the brightest, most opaque tints and will reflect the highest percentage of light off the painting surfaces.

The Flake White Replacement project evolved from a prominent artist’s request for Lead (Flake) White, which had been the only white pigment commonly available until titanium dioxide was produced in 1920. Not surprisingly, the artist wanted Flake White’s working properties without the lead. Challenged, Robert tested all the Flake White oil colors on the market and found tremendous differences among them.

To make Gamblin’s version, he matched the working properties generally considered typical of Lead White: warm in color, a dense and heavy paste with a long and “ropey” quality, and a unique look to the impasto stroke.

For a broader discussion of Whites, please visit our Studio Note newsletter, Getting the White Right.

Our whites are arranged from most opaque to least opaque. Please click on each swatch to enlarge:

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