Pigment Makes All the Difference

For ages I was having trouble getting yellow to be bright and for white to appear solid in my acrylic paintings. Then I realized the problem was the amount of pigment in the paint.

I was painting with Creative Inspirations titanium white and Liquitex Basic primary yellow.

In order to get the solid effect I wanted, I had to apply layers of those colors. But I didn’t have to do that with other Creative Inspirations or Liquitex Basics colors.

Then I discovered the solution.

I read that Golden titanium white was an excellent brand of titanium white, so I bought a tube. What a difference! The Golden paint was both solid and very bright.

So I started using the economical Creative Inspirations titanium white for lightening the shades of my other colors. I call that my “mixing white.” And I used the Golden titanium white toward the end of my painting session to add brightness to the artwork.

That made me suspect that the solution to the difficulty I was having with Liquitex Basics primary yellow could be solved in a similar way.

This time I order Liquitex heavy body yellow light. It went on solid and strong – exactly what I was looking for.

From that point, I started using the Liquitex Basics primary yellow for mixing with other colors to create a third color but I used the Liquitex Heavy Body yellow light toward the end of the painting to make the areas of yellow really stand out.

These discoveries really make a difference with plein air paintings. You can’t get that sense of stark bright sunlight with a white or yellow that does not have enough pigment.

So if you have a color that is not giving the results you need or expect, try using a different brand of that color or a heavy body version of that color.  You may just need a paint that has more pigment.