The brands I use most often for the all-import flake white are RGH, Blue Ridge, and Utrecht. I crossed Utrecht off the list after discovering that they’ve added zinc to their Flemish white. I don’t buy the premier brands–Blockx, and Old Holland–anymore because the small manufacturers provide excellent paint at reasonable prices. Blockx is $92 for a 200mm tube. Old Holland is twice as expensive! A 150ml tube from Blue Ridge is $45.
When I buy RGH flake I use it exclusively until it’s gone. The cans that RGH puts their paint in cause the paint to dry faster than tube paint. When I recently exhausted my supply of RGH, I bought two tubes of Bluie Ridge cremintz white.
The Blue Ridge white is stiffer than the RGH version. RGH has more tinting strength; it takes more Blue Ridge white to make a middle-gray than it does RGH. Unless the effect is excessive, this is not a bad thing. Titanium white is the strongest tinting white, which is why so many titanium-made paintings look chalky. Avoid titanium. The Blue Ridge cremintz white reminds me a little of Old Holland cremintz white. OH adulterates their lead with zinc and calls it cremintz white–bah. The Blue Ridge cremintz handles better than the similarly named stuff from OH.
The painting cups in today’s sessions contain the usual assortment. Medium in the left-most cup; linseed oil next used to soak brushes when I set them down; turp, and then OMS. Next, RGH atelier oil 1:2 in turp is used for (infrequent) glazes and open passages. The last cup contains black oil and turp 1:2 used for glazes and close work. It’s darker than the atelier version–I use it rarely. Glazes should be light.
Hi there Tom.
Thanks for this article!
Love your site.
I am thinking about this topic obsessively at the moment.
I consider myself a student painter in OILS after a (non professional) lifetime
in photographic arts.
I live a LONG way from anything (Australia) and much of the advice I receive is tinged with that isolation.
You make the point that; “RGH has more tinting strength; it takes more Blue Ridge white to make a middle-gray than it does RGH”.
So if BR ( or any manufacturer) says they don’t add extra additives to their oil paints why are there different tinting strengths? I have probably answered my own question.
About to order BR as RGH has excessive shipping to AU, btw. (as a note to any other AU readers , RGH shipping of 2 tubes paint to AU = $288 on top of paint cost !!! Feb 2023 )
BR shipping $20……..
Also I have seen BR Cad Red Vermillion praised highly for use in portraits…. any thoughts ?
I have a third question if I may;
I am thinking about cleaning safety regimes using Lead paints. Currently using Ti/Zn oxide blend (michael Harding) and I dont have to be TOO careful re safety. My guess is If I substitute LEad white I should ;
* use latex gloves
*use a good impermeable apron
* use common sense in not getting any paint on my clothing and treat all pallete paint as if it contained LEAD.
* not eat while painting
* develop a regime for disposal of LEAD paint residue – ie do people use waste agency provisions for toxic waste disposal.
Am I being too careful / not carefiul enough?
Thanks so much.
There might be several reasons why Blue Ridge’s white is less covering than RHG white. RGH might use better quality pigment or simply use more pigment in its paint. Old Holland is considered the most premium brand because its paint is the most heavily pigmented. Blue Ridge makes good-quality paint overall.
Your safety checklist is good. I wear latex gloves because I sometimes use my fingers when I paint and the gloves prevent all paint–not just lead paint–from getting into cuts.
Flake white is most dangerous in pigment form. If you grind your own paint, make sure to wear a mask.
Each community has its own rules for the disposal of lead paint and related solvents. Lead is naturally- occurring and common sense is a good guide.
I find it hard to believe how expensive shipping costs are to your area. I’ve never been to Australia but I have friends in Perth. Are you close to there?
UPDATE ; for AU readers
RGH say their quote was a system error and that real costs will be more like $60 – $90 ( this is for larger tubes btw). They will confirm that this week.
Blue ridge is more like $55 on checking details so may be similar to RGH; shipping costs are not significantly different between the two, so phew.
BR has a Cad Red Vermillion to die for apparently.
Thanks for your feedback regarding safety issues. It does help that I was a teacher once and I remember being very uncomfortable about doing prescribed experiments with my senior chem classes involving Lead and MERCURY compounds ! Yep , for real.
I was paranoid and only allowed it inside fume cupboards- so glad I did .
How times change.
I won t be doing any (lead) oil paint from pigment manufacture – think Lead Carbonate is only available IF you are an educational institution or industry now in AU.
I am in Sydney, so equivalent to Cincinatti to Phoenix in flight time. In between are deserts mostly – but amazing colors, flora and fauna.
HOT deserts in summer, but spring wildflowers are overwhelming in the right season.
Thanks for your comments, your paintings and your site !