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BECOMING AN ARTIST SERIES (Blog 100) : Tips on painting white objects

You might think painting white objects couldn’t be any easier. If you think squeezing out some white paint from a tube is all that is needed, well, you couldn’t be more wrong. It’s trickier then you think. You want your whites to pop out and not be flat or lifeless so here are some tricks that can help you with achieving more vibrant and lustrous whites for your masterpieces.

My painting “Faith”, exhibited at the "2022 Spotlight Showcase Yearly Exhibition" Group Show in Philadelphia,U.S. at Arch Enemy Arts Gallery in 2022.

here’s a video LINK

So, this is what we know- titanium, zinc, and lead white are the main pigments for painting white but the problem with brushing on a layer of white doesn’t make white look any whiter. Hmm, does that make sense:) in simple words- although white makes a colour lighter, it also removes its vibrancy and brightness.

White can fall into 2 different categories:

“The Bearer”


Exhibited at the "AIR: Divine Breath" Group Show in Philadelphia at Arch Enemy Arts Gallery in 2023.

Light-Generated WHITE, where white is the sum of all colours of light. White reflects all the colours of a visible light spectrum to the eyes and sunlight is composed of all the colours of the spectrum.

White = the sum of all the colours of light.

2. Pigment WHITE, is pure white pigment in the absence of colour and you cannot mix colours to create white. Are you beginning to understand that white reflects all the colours of the visible light spectrum! So, if you wanted to paint vibrant whites you would need to paint subtle colour shifts and value changes, this means that your white subjects will reflect the colours of the objects that surrounds it. You will be able to see that vibrant whites are actually very colourful!

Check out Lara Dann’s painting, look at all that “colour!”

Always try to keep in mind that WHITE reduces brightness so although it makes a colour lighter, it also removes its vibrancy. We can see why through these reasonings

-When white pigment is added to any colour it produces a ‘tint’ of that colour.

Example : red turns to a shade of pink when white is added.

-White makes a transparent colour opaque, and cools the original colour.

-White can be used to lighten a colour, but too much white causes dull, bleached out paintings.

-Experiment your own colour sense and mixing skills to produce beautiful hues of varying intensity.

-Use white sparingly. The 3 white pigments: Titanium white, zinc white and lead white.

-I use titanium white the most because of it’s opaque quality and it allows for better coverage. It’s the most neutral in colour but is slightly cool.


Exhibited at the "AS ABOVE SO BELOW 4" Group Show in Philadelphia at Arch Enemy Arts Gallery in 2022.

- Zinc white is somewhat translucent and produces brilliant colour mixtures but it tends to be brittle.

- Lead White produces very warm and intense colour mixtures.

Master oil painters used this white but I wouldn’t recommend painting with lead white as it IS EXTREMELY TOXIC!

I hope you learned something new today!

Ciao Ciao Cirius!


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