Previously I have admonished flake white for being too expensive and not worth the price. That is until I decided to use it on this figure and test my claim.
One of the main reasons why I didn’t want to use flake white is because it is very toxic. Flake white is made from the corrosion on lead which is know to cause all kinds of health risks. But, I don’t get paint on me, I’m not spraying the paint anywhere and I don’t plan on sanding the painting down. So the risks here are very minimal, next to zero actually.
Quick comment on messy painting. I’m not sure where this misconception arose but all artists are not throwing paint around. In fact most of the top artists today can walk away from a masterful painting and 100% of the paint used landed directly where they wanted it. You don’t have to be as messy as Lucean Freud, Fancis Bacon, Pollock or Basquiat to be a great artist.
So, my own misconceptions of flake white being harmful was un founded. In fact it is as harmful as any household cleaning product. The harm comes when it is handled incorrectly.
Why flake white for figure over titanium white? Currently I’m looking at a wall of figures that I’ve painted over the past month or so. Most of them have been painted using titanium white, or a titanium and zinc white mixture. There are two figures on this wall that stand out for their luminescence, they don’t actually glow of course but they do have a quality that is not seen in the other figures. And it so happens that these two figures were painted using flake white. Honestly I wasn’t expecting much of a difference with this figure, but after the session where I focused on the arm I began to see the superb quality of flake white for skin tones.
The only other thing I dislike about flake white, and in some cases this is a positive, is that it dries really fast. I have to put out much less of flake white and try and use it all in one session. While working on the head today I had a pile of white that was left from yesterday and it wasn’t fully dry but it was much thicker, yet still workable. The last issue is that it is expensive, and if have painted before you know the color you use the most is probably white.
The next thing I’m going to do is try out Gamblin’s flake white replacement. I happen to have a tube of it and hopefully it works just as well. Then I’ll maybe go back to titanium and zinc white to see if I’m just imagining the difference.