Using Buff Titanium


  • I can recall a conversation here a while back about Buff Titanium.  Lots of people don’t like it, and I’ll admit that I don’t use it often.  But I always like to have it available, because when you need it, there just isn’t any other color that does quite the same thing.

    When I did my post today, I realized it was a good example of such an occasion.

    This negative painting was done over a study of clouds and I used the same colors as I had for the underpainting, just in darker values.  The bear didn’t stand out well.  Buff Titanium to the rescue!  It has a yellow cast, but also enough red tone that it doesn’t go green over blue (that isn’t necessarily true if you mix it wet).

    Buff Titanium also happens to be a good polar bear color over all.  Their fur is colorless and reflects all the light around.  In most cases, it has a slight warm yellow cast.  (On a side note – the hairs have hollow spaces, and can pick up algae.  This was discovered in zoos with ponds in the bear pens, when the bears started to turn green!)

    Other animals have fur, especially in the ruff or belly, that is buff.  But what else might you use Buff Titanium for besides animals?

    It can give a warm glow to clouds and is an excellent base for sand.  It can add warmth to white flowers or white anything, really. If you want to add a slight sunshiny glow to a landscape, Buff Titanium can do it without taking over the painting.

    It is semi-opaque, so it is best used with a light hand or as the base color, because if you layer it too thick it can get ugly.  A small tube can last a long, long time because truthfully, you probably won’t use it too often.

    Love this so much, Sandra!

    Also as it happens I was just looking at a mixing chart I did 2 years ago while following along with Jane Blundell’s book and I think the colors have faded…have you had any issues with that? My chart is in a sketchbook (Canson XL paper) and is kept closed on a shelf near my desk.

    Certain colors are fugitive (prone to fading), such as Opera Rose, no matter the brand.  I wouldn’t think that Jane used any of those, without noting that they were fugitive, though.

    Personally, I haven’t had any problems with fading in my watercolors of any brand. The environment can make a difference even if the colors are in a closed book.  The paper can also make a difference.  I haven’t used Canson XL but I’ve heard mixed reviews and fading has been mentioned, so it could be your culprit.

    Thanks for this! I was just looking at a mixing set of 15 Daniel Smith half-pan watercolors and saw this Buff Titanium, which I’m not really familiar with. I was a little surprised at the color, but appreciate how it can be used!

    When you mix the Buff Titanium with the Hansa Yellow Medium, you get a beautiful buttery yellow.  It works really well with the Goethite too.

    This is amazing….

    I would love to use it for my paintings especially in those paintings where I need light reflection or transparency. I really appreciate your work.

    Thank you, Gerri! Buff Titanium really is an under appreciated color, and can be hard to find. I’m glad that Daniel Smith has kept it in their line of paints.

    I really like that bear painting… thanks for sharing about this color…

    Many thanks, Fifi! Buff titanium really is an under-appreciated color, so I’m happy to spread the word, lol.

    I have heard that Buff Titanium can be used to make a fair skin tone when mixed with a warm red.  I haven’t tried it yet, still awaiting arrival of some Daniel Smith paints.  So far I have only used the paint dot samples.  Oh, so I have a dot of Buff Titanium that I can try right now!

    I’ve never tried it for skin tones, since I seldom do portraits, but think it would work well for it.  Just be careful if you use blue next to it because it can go green easily. Let me know how it works out!

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