My new favourite ‘colour’ is Warm White!
Whenever there is white in a painting, it is firstly warm or cool; and once I’ve decided which way to go, I’ll add a little yellow ochre to warm it up or a touch of blue / Alizarin & burnt umber to give it a cool undertone which is slightly degraded. If you just add a touch of blue, you get ‘baby-boy powder blue’. When I saw that this paint is available – and I know that Gamblin products are good – I ordered it.
You can see the warm and cool whites in the little painting of the mustard salver at the edges between warm and cool whites, and it’s not just about shadows. Look at the foreground where the cloth is vertical and the vertical background and you can see how warm the whites are there. It is always useful to exaggerate the tonal changes in a painting – which is also what any good photographer would do! So a salver on white table cloth (in this case a cold bright white) against a white background (a neutral off-white or warm white gives you a chance to make the work more exciting. Making your own warm whites, always starting off with Titanium is hard work, not least because it is a very harsh white and very sticky. In fact there is titanium in your toothpaste!
I was holding back on doing this open parrot tulip until my warm white arrived from Jackson’s Art.It may not be obvious in the photos but both whites are used in the foremost petals.
Warm White is a lovely addition to my toolbox. In the old days we used Flake White and these days we avoid it because of the lead in it, and I really don’t like the pastey quality of Titanium which instantly makes all colours into tints. Oh, but I forgot my other useful white – Transparent white (W&N). This is good for making colours lighter without losing the luminosity of the colour.
Another ‘can’t live without!’