COLOR GUIDES AND PAINT MIXING SYSTEMS


207. Fabri, Ralph. Color: A Complete Guide for Artists. New York: Watson-

Guptill, 1968. 175 pp. Index, glossary, B/W illus., color illus.

    Fabri discusses the practical use of color as a painting medium. He

provides a brief history of color, defines color concepts, explains color

perception, and summarizes color symbolism. He includes basic principles

for painting and reviews the characteristics of manufactured colors. His

recommendations for color usage make note of the effects of natural and

artificial light. He concludes with thoughts on color as a medium of self-

expression. Exercises are provided. Color plates, which were published by

American Artist magazine, represent a cross-section of American painting.

Though dated, this book is noteworthy for its thorough coverage and wide

scope.


208. Fletcher, Frank Morley. Colour Control. London: Faber and Faber, 1936.

79 pp. Index, B/W illus.

    Fletcher relates his color theories and color notation ideas, which are

based on correspondences between constructing keys in music theory and

color intervals, and gives practical suggestions for creating a restricted

palette that is organized and controlled. He refers to the Edinburgh system

of color intervals and the work of Hugh Cameron to record the “note” of

colors by stating their hue, intensity, and pitch. This work may be of

historic interest to those concerned with links between art and music or to

those who have discovered Tinker’s conceptual but practical color cylinder

based on Fletcher’ work.


209. Galton, Jeremy. Mixing Color: How to Select the Right Paints to

Get the Colors You Want. Cincinnati: North Light, 1988. 144 pp.

Index, B/W illus., color illus. ISBN 0-89134-254-0.

    This spectacular production by the London Quarto group is a guide

to understanding how pigment colors behave. Large color plates on every

page and informative text demonstrate subtractive color mixing in oils,

watercolor, acrylic, and pastel. The book shows how paints are made,

suggests starter palettes in the four media, gives the mechanics of color

mixing, includes step-by-step photographs of paintings and illustrations in

process, and provides photographs and details of completed works and

approximations of the personal palettes of many artists. A chapter treats

problem subjects such as snow or reflective surfaces. Two chapters, which

make up a quarter of the book, incorporate color theory by analyzing

paintings for their use of complementary colors, warm and cool, color

temperature, and color balance. One section is devoted to seeing and

judging color relationships and color relativity, and to mixing and placing

colors in a composition. Many pages show tinting mixtures. Other useful

features include a paint identification chart that compares color ranges made

by Winsor & Newton, Rowney, Grumbacher, Holbein, LeFranc &

Bourgeois, and Schmincke. This reference will be particularly useful for its

practical information on mixing color in the context of contemporary

illustration and painting.


210. Girard, Robert. Color and Composition: A Guide for Artists. New York:

Reinhold, 1974. 100 pp. Index, bibl., B/W illus., color illus. ISBN 0-

442-30030-1.

    The author believes that artists can realize their own personal

expression only if they have a clear understanding and working knowledge

of technique and the concepts of color, form, and harmony. Consequently,

this book is intended as a guide to assist in discovery and analysis. Material

on color theory is so brief that it is sometimes unclear. Nevertheless, the

inclusion of information on geometry and aesthetics as they relate to art and

design, combined with excellent illustrations, makes this a potentially useful “idea

book” for the reader who already has a good working knowledge of color and

design.


211.Guptill, Arthur L. Color Manual for Artists. Edited by Catherine Sullivan.

New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1962. 126 pp. Bibl., B/W illus.,

color illus. ISBN 0-442-20181-8.

    This book on color in painting begins with a short account of color

science and theory, which Guptill contends provide a relevant foundation

for the painter. Explanations of visual phenomena include a summary of

Chevreul’s laws of simultaneous contrast. The author suggests color

harmonies based on traditional monochromatic, analogous, achromatic,

complementary, and triadic relationships. A chapter on pigments offers

specific palettes for oil painters and watercolorists and discusses the

characteristics of the recommended hues. Sixty-two exercises on mixing a

color wheel, bridging complements, and creating color scales, encourage

experimentation with tools, pigments, and techniques for both watercolor

and oils. Even those who are not interested in oil or watercolor could learn

about color with this clearly written manual.


212. Hiler, Hilaire. Color Harmony and Pigments. Chicago: Favor, Ruhl,

1942. 61 pp. bibl., B/W illus.

    Hiller proposes a pigment-based color system based on perceptual

threshold theory, that is, the theory that the eye cannot distinguish slight

differences in color beyond a certain point. The author contends that the 24-

hue psychologist’s system is weak because the steps between hues are not

equal and instead proposes a modification of the system that adds six more

hues for a total of 30. Hiller’s ten principal hues are yellow, orange,

orange-red, red, purple, blue, turquoise, sea green, green and leaf green.

These hues are said to parallel the psychological primaries and the

complements mix to gray in paint. The color solid advocate is a cylinder

with a gray scale at the core and all hues carried out an equal number of

steps from the core. This fine example of a color system will interest those

who study personal color models.


213. Kriesberg, Irving. Working with Color. New York: Prentice Hall, 1986.

96 pp. Index, B/W illus., color illus. ISBN 0-671-60729-4.

    After announcing that color theories are irrelevant to the artist, the

author discusses art principles and color strategies by way of examining

how color functions in specific paintings. He does not always use common

color terminology. Those interested in paint will find a useful description of

paints by name and a discussion of the advantages of each. The illustrations

are plentiful, and exercises at the conclusion of each chapter, intended to

help readers “get in touch” with the artists’ inherent skills, may guide those

prepared to experiment with color and paint.


214. Salamme, Lucia A. Color Exercises for the Painter. New York: Watson-

Guptill, 1970. 160 pp. Index, glossary, B/W illus., color illus.

    The 92 exercises in this book are designed to demonstrate the

general characteristics of color. Four pages of color and painting terms and

definitions are followed by a list of materials, including 38 oil colors that are

necessary for the exercises. Although there is no general introduction to

color theory, each exercise includes step-by-step instructions. Exercises

deal with hues and hue families; warm and cool color temperatures;

complementary colors; value; perspective and the illusion of' depth; balance and

proportion in harmonious color compositions; painting techniques; and

expressing moods through color use. Thirty-two color illustrations, by the author

as well as master painters, are included, but readers are not directed to specific

works as illustrations of the exercises. Dedicated readers and students who are

willing to do the exercises will find this book beneficial.


215. Schwarz, Hans. Colour for the Artist. New York: Watson-Guptill, 1968.

104 pp. Index, bibl., B/W illus., color illus. ISBN 289-27662-4.

    Because Schwarz believes that a discussion of color from a scientific

viewpoint is of limited use to the artist, he provides a minimum of such

information. Instead, he emphasizes color use as a means of personal

expression, relying on examples from and allusions to nature and master

artists. Though brief, the information on color science, theories, and

systems is accurately and well-presented. Those interested in paint and

painting will find the chapter on pigments and techniques helpful.


  1. 216.Stem, Arthur. How to See Color and Paint It. New York: Watson-Guptill,

1984. 144 pp. Index, bibl., B/W illus., color illus. ISBN 0-8230-2469-5.

    Stern explains that most beginners paint not what the eye sees but

what the mind lets the eye see. That is, they paint what they expect to see.

Using the “color spot” approach, which he claims is based on the methods

of great masters of oil painting, he presents 22 still-life studies to teach

identification, mixing, and painting of color spots. Students work on a

series of three studies, each leading to more refined color sense, to develop

a greater understanding of object color as it is affected by light sources and

atmospheric perspective. This specialized book has little background

information on color beyond a list of eight oil paint tube colors and a black-

and-white picture of a twelve hue color wheel with a sentence on mixing the

relevant colors. Nevertheless, the diligent student could learn about color

and how it is perceived by working through the lessons.


217. Tinker, David. Colour Recognition. Aberystwyth, 1982. 37 pp. B/W

illus.

    This little-known work by the Director of Visual Art Studies of the

University College of Wales proposes an ingenious method of combining

ideal color and specific pigments into an imagined three-dimensional color

cylinder that addresses the needs of painters. Holding that all pure, intense

colors are of equal importance, Tinker replaces the painter’s usual primary

and secondary hues with six irregularly spaced, intense colors that he calls

“forces.” He explains how to paint color tracks for his cylinder that branch

off to show the several ways pigments may be changed by mixing with

white, neutrals, other hues, and complements, and also describes several

experiments using colored gels placed over printed sheets. He

acknowledges Fletcher’s Colour Control (1936) as a source he has

amplified and refined. Other color systems, such as Ostwald’s reduce color

mixing to hue plus white or black; in contrast, Tinker’s approach opens up

color mixing possibilities and offers an innovative conceptual color model

that relates to the realities of studio practice.


218. Wilcox, Michael. Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green:

A New Approach to Colour Mixing for Artists. London: Wm. Collins,

1989. 120 pp. ISBN 0-00-412-455-3.

    Wilcox proposes color-mixing principles that will yield total control

over the pigment palette. His method replaces the traditional

red/blue/yellow three-color wheel with six equal hues that are assessed for

permanence, intensity, and “bias” (the direction the color moves toward).

The text is divided into sections on the nature of color, color sensation, and

comparisons of additive, subtractive, and psychological primaries. Color-

mixing principles are demonstrated in pastels, colored pencils, silk-screen

inks, watercolor, gouache, oils, and acrylics. Most pages contain several

exercises, colored diagrams, or samples of actual paint mixtures that

illustrate the author’s points systematically. This beautiful, innovative, and

practical book will guide anyone ready to learn to control and predict color

quality in pigment.


219. Wilson, Robert Francis. The Practical Wilson Colour System. Zurich:

Musterschmidt, 1957. 38 pp. Color illus.

    This elegant work by a leading British color authority and industrial

designer consists of a brief text that explains the line plates with painted

color chips that demonstrate how his “Color System” offers a practical way

for artists and designers to mix colors. The 12 hues of his color circle seem

to match Winsor & Newton designers colors. Based on red-blue-yellow or

“painter’s primaries,” the 12 hues are painted out as scales mixed with black

and with brown. He explains that the second set of hue scales mixed with

brown creates the warmer tones needed by designers who match colors

found in nature, such as flowers, as he did when he designed the original

Royal Horticultural Colour Chart . Other special plates show chroma bridge

color mixtures across the hue circle and demonstrate the “afterimage in

relation to the spectrum,” presumably based on his own vision. His use of

color terminology is unconventional. For example, he prefers

“juxtaposition of colour” law to simultaneous contrast. Only 300 copies of

this rare but undocumented book were produced.



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