Let’s Talk White

OK so let’s talk about white. This might overwhelm you at first glance but read on…!

The Bob Ross white paint is a Titanium white. Titanium white can be found in every brand of paint. That being said they are not all the same. White is a “cool” opaque colour, and like all paint comes in two grades, student and artist or professional. So what is the difference? Here is a neat little video that explains the differences quite well.
Here is a quote from Kenneth Arqabright  that captures my thoughts on which grade of paint to purchase.

“Just my opinion, but I started out using cheap student grade paints before eventually trying the more expensive brands. Wow, what a huge difference! The artist grade paints just make painting so much more fun and rewarding. I think they’re easier to blend, go farther and last longer. That being said, they are more expensive and I’m glad I started out with the student grade. My advice would be; once you decide you enjoy painting and are going to invest the time into it, invest a little extra cash into your medium, you and your fans will thankful for it in the end.”

White paint becomes an important component of any painting. Robert Gamblin characterises white like this :

“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).” Read more…

In the Gamblin Studio Note “Getting The White Right”  by Robert Gamblin you will find everything you will ever need to know about white paint. This Studio Note is intended to help you select the right white for your work. Read more…


There are also a lot of different whites available including Titanium White, Radiant White, Titanium Zinc White, Quick Dry White, Flake White Replacement, FastMatte Titanium White, Zinc White.

So after all this my recommendations are first to echo the advice of Kenneth Arqabright. Decide what you can afford and buy the best quality paint your budget will allow. I use titanium white, zinc white and flake white. The brand of white I prefer is Gamblin.  Oh! and I buy the big tubes and sometimes 2 at a time.

Good luck with choosing your white and let me know your thoughts as well as what you use.


Published by dustyoldchips

I'm am artist, woodworker, carver and rocking horse craftsman.

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