Zinc White: yes or no?

We regularly receive questions about the Zinc White oil colour and its properties when applying to paintings. It has often been stated that the Zinc White causes brassiness in a painting, negatively affects other colours and can be responsible for cracks appearing in the painting over the course of time.

Based on our observations and contacts with various painters worldwide, we have concluded that nowadays such effect of the Zinc White oil colour has been significantly overestimated.

The modern Zinc White oil colour manufactured by the company Old Holland distinguishes itself through high quality and can prevent such negative effects from happening.

The Old Holland Zinc White oil colour is made from cold pressed linseed oil without additives such as barium sulfate, alumina hydrate, dryers and oxygen absorbers. These additives and not the zinc pigment itself are often the real cause of the negative effects mentioned above.

When applying the Zinc White oil colour, it is important to take particular qualities of this paint into account.

a) It dries considerably slowly, which is an advantage in some techniques

b) It has a moderate covering power, which means that Zinc White can be used to create gentle semitransparent overtones, without overlaying the background colour

c) It enhances the power of paint mixtures

The Zinc White oil colour of the good quality does not lose its whiteness due to the effect of light. It can discolour to yellow in the dark, but the colour fully restores under exposure to light.

In the majority of applications, the Zinc White is used in combination with other colours. This is because it is more transparent than the Titanium White. When using the Zinc White oil colour, we advise you to use other colours of the same manufacturer.