Atelier 'titanium white' versus 'tinting white' - "Kookaburra mugshot" WIP
Ever wondered why Atelier interactive acrylics brand has TWO different WHITE colours in their range? Confused by which one you need? Do you need both? How are they different, and how can you best use them?
When I bought my Atelier interactive acrylics set I had been confused by the fact they had two white colours, called by different names ("Titanium white" and "Tinting white (Pearl/Titanium)"). If tinting white also has the same pigment base (titanium) in it, then are they actually different, or is the tinting white just a 'watered down' version of the titanium white (in which case I'd be better off just buying the titanium white)? Moreover, in all the colour charts there appears to be no visible difference between the colours. Do I need both?
So I decided to try them both out in a painting of a kookaburra that I've been working on (see previous post). You can see in WIP 2 that on the forehead and underbeak of the kookaburra I've used tinting white mixed with a brown paint, and on the back of the head I used titanium. You can clearly see the difference in levels of transparency between the two whites (the paint on the forehead wasn't watered down, but overtly shows up the green of the underpainting). Strangely enough, this wasn't immediately apparent when I was painting - it seems more obvious in the photo.
So I kept painting with the tinting white, and putting more details in, and eventually I realized that the forehead of the bird just didn't seem to have the substance of the remainder - it was hazily only partly there (WIP 3).
Repainting those areas with a mix of titanium white fixed the problem (WIP 4). From now on I'll be using tinting white when I want to subtly blend and tint (make paler) additional layers of colour with underlying layers, and titanium white for areas that need opaque cover (and whitening).
Titanium white: Atelier's Titanium white is very bright and opaque with excellent coverage even in thin applications - a quality conferred by titanium dioxide as the main pigment ingredient which efficiently scatters visible light. It is a highly stable, lightfast and non-toxic pigment. Titanium dioxide was first introduced around the 1920s. When mixed with other hues, the mix tends towards pastel colours (or a chalky appearance), rather than simply providing a paler version of the original colour.
Tinting white: Tinting White contains titanium dioxide but is somewhat weaker, more translucent and has a 'pearl-like' or opalescent quality (you can see tiny glints of reflected light on the surface) due to the fact it also contains a 'micaceous' pigment. It is good for mixing strong tints and for glazing. What do I mean by 'micaceous'? Basically it means that the pigment has components related to aluminium silicate minerals like mica. Mica has a layered texture and the sheets often break apart leaving a shiny or glittery surface. Tiny granules of these minerals contained in paints give the paint a subtle glittery appearance, but they also enable the pigment to remain translucent. Tinting white is the Atelier interactive version of 'transparent white'.
How to use them: Titanium white should be used straight from the tube when you need a pure, bright white, or where you need a white base for other translucent effects. Mixed with other colours, titanium white should be used when you need opaque coverage (for instance, overpainting a contrasting background), and when pastel colours are desired. On the other hand, tinting white should be used straight from the tube for glazing over other colours to lighten them, or mixed with other colours to provide strong tints without the chalkiness of titanium white. In addition, the micaceous quality of tinting white provides a subtle opalescent quality to the paint layer, if such an effect be desired. The translucency of tinting white can give you a subtle sense of depth that is often lacking in acrylic paintings, because it allows you to lay pale tinted glazes where the underneath colours still show through.
For now, problem solved!