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The formulation of each color is modified individually to compensate for the inherent differences in the working characteristics of pigments. The result is an even consistency across the entire palette of colors.
These colors contain a high percentage of opaque pigment suspended in linseed oil. They provide a barrier between the painting and the primed surface. They are perfect for underpainting and texturizing the surface prior to painting.
Color Swatches created using heavy application/medium application/50% tint and were applied on acrylic primed canvas (7 oz) material.
2PbCO3Pb(OH)2 or 4PbCO32Pb(OH)2PbO
Lead White is a fast drying, heavy consistency, flexible, opaque white with a very subtle reddish-yellow undertone and excellent covering capacity. Most artists stopped using this pigment over the last century because of its toxicity, but its working properties are positive enough to keep some artists using it. It is the most structurally sound white for underpainting. Lead White is quick drying, and it will help accelerate the drying time of any color it is mixed with.
Lead White has excellent permanence and lightfastness. However, it may become discolored over long periods of time.
Lead White is highly toxic by both inhalation and ingestion
Lead White has historically been the most important of all white pigments. The use of this pigment dates back to the days of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. It was the only white used in European easel painting until the 19th century, and it is one of the oldest synthetically produced pigments. It has been mostly replaced by Titanium White and Zinc White, depending on the opacity the artist desires.
Biacca, Ceruse, Cremnitz White, Dutch White, Flake White, Flemish White, French White, Krems White, London White, Nottingham White, Roman White, Silver White, Slate White, White Lead.
Titanium White is the most brilliant of the white pigments. It is considered an all purpose oil color useful in all techniques and the best all around white. Its masstone is neither warm nor cool, placing it somewhere between Lead White and Zinc White. It is less prone to cracking and yellowing than Lead White, but it still yellows easily. Titanium White dries slowly in oil form, more slowly than Lead White but more quickly than Zinc White. It is opaque in oil and acrylic forms and semi-opaque in watercolor form. This pigment has good chemical stability, and its tinting strength is superior to both Lead White and Zinc White.
Titanium White has excellent permanence and lightfastness.
Titanium dioxide is highly stable and is regarded as completely non-toxic. Animal studies give no indiciation that it is absorbed biologically, even after long periods of exposure. The primary safety concern is with inhalation of fine pigment dust particles. Titanium White, if inhaled in large amounts over the course of several years, may cause a benign pneumoconiosis that is visible on x-rays. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) considers fine titanium dioxide particles, if inhaled, to be a human carcinogen. The primary concern for artists is to avoid exposure to fine particulate dust from raw pigments.
Titanium is the ninth most abundant element in the Earth's crust, however mineral deposits that are economical to mine are less common. Titanium dioxide was first discovered in 1821, although it could not be mass produced until 1919. Widespread use of the pigment began in the 1940s. Since that time, it has become the most commonly used white pigment. The name comes from the Latin word Titan, the name for the elder brother of Kronos and ancestor of the Titans, and from the Greek word tito, meaning day or sun.
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