Wednesday, June 2, 2010

White Test

Jonathan Linton has done a series of tests to see how much white oil paints will yellow over time.

He tested 40 swatches of paint from 11 different manufacturers over a two year period.

The result: some whites turned an alarming lemon or orange color. The cause, according to Mr. Linton: “The culprit seems to be the vehicle (or binder) used. Since safflower oil yellows less than linseed oil, I'm sticking with whites made with safflower oil.”

J. Linton's White Test

Thanks, Jonathan.


bill said...

didn't look like he did walnut oil.

Richard J. Luschek II said...

Thanks for sharing this. Great information.
I use Old Holland Cremintz, so looks like I am ok. Though I was suggesting Permalba as an affordable white for my landscape students. I may have to change that one.

Johan said...

This is good knowledge to have. I like the classic browns and yellows that gamblin makes, but it is good to know that I should stay away from their whites.

As a student I am using Utrecht a lot because it's cheap. Anyone know how that yellows?

Rafael said...

Well that is not quite the whole story. Linseed oil does make a stronger paint layer than other drying oils. Also, you can reverse the yellowing process by putting the painting in a sunny window (at least with linseed oil.)

Rafael said...

Johan, I would stay away from Utrecht. For just a little more you can good paint with out any fillers or extenders. Gamblin and Williamsburg are both very decent.

Don Ketchek said...

Perhaps I missed something, but the information regarding the binding oil does not seem to be indicated anywhere. Very few manufacturer's use linseed oil as the binder for their white paints. The binder in one of the worst examples (Gamblin's Radiant white) is Poppy oil and the binder in one of the best examples (Grumbacher soft white) is Poppy and sunflower. While the conventional wisdom is that Linseed yellows more than the others, this test doesn't really show this.

What is surprising is how much yellowing there was in the majority of examples.

Adrian Tysoe said...

It gets even worse when you add other substances to your medium. Alkyd darkens a lot too. I've seen tests that included M.Graham white which is walnut oil and it stayed the whitest but the alkyd fast drying white was amongst the darkest most yellowing.

Like someone else mentioned, leaving the painting out in the light will lighten a lot of oils but you also have to worry about colours like alizarin crimson being bleached out and losing colour.