Over the last several years Iíve been communicating with paint manufactures and oil paint retailers, those on the front lines regarding lead white oil paint. Paint retailers distribute the paints so they know the manufacturesí plans. Lead white oil paint has always been an inexpensive paint, for the most part and thatís a good thing considering white is the most used paint. However, things have changed and artists will have to adapt.
Enter reduced manufactures and production on the lead white pigment coupled with increased costs, make this once cheap lead white, so expensive that these manufactures now have to weight the costs and customer needs of continuing to offer this particular white or not. In Europe this situation is further compounded by new regulations that place restrictions on lead white pigment and how it is sold. Paint manufactures under the new regulations must sell the lead white in containers that require a tool to open. Lead white paint has nearly disappeared from Europe yet some manufactures are rethinking their original premise of how much an artist is willing to pay for lead white paint.
Itís not all bad news for artists living in Europe. One paint manufacture has announced they are working with other paint makers to continue to offer lead white paint in Europe, though at a higher cost then before. This quest may take some time before lead white is again available and at an affordable cost. In America, Asia and Canada the situation is much different as they continue to produce lead white paint. In fact only one manufacture dropped lead white from their line while another manufacture got out of the paint business all together. Though prices have certainly increased, they are still reasonable but for the exception of a few.
In fact, one manufacture introduced lead white to their oil paint line a few years ago. Though the cost at that time was higher than most others lead whites. Today it is the apparent new cost of lead white oil paint ranging from the mid to high teens for the small tube. Another manufacture has introduced a new line of artist oil paints though not available everywhere until later this year that has a fraction of the colors of their regular artist line yet includes lead white paint. Artist will have to decide which direction they go, whether to mull their own lead white paint or switch from their favorite brand to another. Lead white paint, at least in America is still available from several makers though at a higher cost.