Yellow Ochre provides artists with earthtones from cream to brown. It has good hiding power, produces a quick drying paint, and can be safely mixed with other pigments. Its transparency varies widely from opaque shades to more transparent ones, which are valued for their use as glazes. If gypsum is present, Yellow Ochre is not suitable for frescoing. (See Brown Ochre, PY43.) PY42 is made from synthetic iron oxides. PY43 is made from natural iron oxide.
Yellow Ochre has excellent permanence because ochres are some of the most permanent pigments available.
Yellow Ochre is non-toxic unless it contains manganese.
Ochre comes from the Greek word ochros, meaning pale yellow. It was one of the first pigments to be used by human beings, and evidence of its use has been found at 300,000 year old sites in France and the former Czechoslovakia.
Permanent Yellow PY97 ranges from reddish yellow to greenish yellow with temperature shifts from cool to warm hues. It has good tinting strength and average to slow drying time. Similar in shade to Hansa Yellow 1, it offers much better fastness properties and good heat stability.
Pigment PY97 has excellent lightfastness, particularly in the darker shades.
No significant acute hazards of PY97 are known, though chronic hazards have not been well studied.
Hansa Yellows were first made in Germany just before WW1 from a series of synthetic dyestuffs called Pigment Yellow. They were intended to be a synthetic replacement for Cadmium Yellow. Permanent Yellow (PY97) represents a further development of this line, with the aim of producing a yellow pigment that is suitable for exterior use.
Zinc White is the coolest white, and it has a cold, clean masstone and a slightly bluish tint. It has less hiding power and is more transparent than other whites. It dries slowly and is good for painting wet into wet and for glazing and scumbling. Zinc White is neither as opaque nor as heavy as Lead White, its covering power is not as good, and it takes much longer to dry. However, it does not blacken when exposed to sulfur in the air as Lead White does. It is very valuable for making tints with other colors. Unmixed Zinc White dries to a brittle and dry paint film that may crack over the years, so it is not good for frescoing. It is more transparent in acrylic form than Titanium White and is the most commonly used white with gouache. Chinese White is a version of Zinc White appropriate for opaque watercolor techniques.
Zinc White has great permanence and lightfastness.
Zinc White is moderately toxic if ingested and slightly toxic if inhaled.
Though historians are divided on who first isolated the element zinc, they agree that it was first suggested as a white pigment in 1782. Zinc White was accepted as a watercolor in 1834 and was called Chinese White due to the popularity of oriental porcelain in Europe at the time. Ten years later, a suitable oil form was produced. By the early 20th century, it had improved to the point where it was an acceptable alternative to Flake White.