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4.8 out of 5 stars
Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter
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215 of 219 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Here I am an artist with three art degrees... and I never learned most of this information! My main degree was in painting and Illustration!!!! Honestly the most I learned was about cool and warm color and value - that's IT!

This book is easy to grasp, pithy and organized in such a way that you can go right to the area you are interested in without having to scan the entire book. I learned more about how to use color and paint light in the hour I ravenously scanned through it than I did in all those years of college. If you wish to learn anything about painting you must have this book!

It may seem such a simple subject, but how to set up a palette is one of the MOST confusing things an artist learns. Many times you just pick up a palette that someone else used and wing it until you get comfortable with it. Mr. Gurney actually takes so much of the mystery out of how to choose your palette of colors and how to work with what you have in that palette. This section ALONE is worth the price of the book!

Also he explains how our vision works so we can be aware of it and make better choices in how we render color and light in our images - as well as how to pay attention to depth of field! I especially loved the comparison of a photograph and a painting from observation and how much you miss in the photo. Again, this information alone is worth the price of the book!

If you are and artist looking to learn how to render an image realistically and believably, this book MUST be in your library. Mr. Gurney has taken information from many divers sources that would take another person years to gather if you could even find these out of print books and information, and he has put it all in a well-organized and easily read book that is so deeply appreciated for its clarity.

Thank you, Mr. Gurney, for all your hard work. This book should become and textbook in any painting class!
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104 of 106 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon December 15, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Color and Light is the latest book from James Gurney and it's fantastic. It is a very accessible guide that's filled with interesting and useful information on color and light. It's fortunate we have so many colors today at our disposable, and now with this book, something to help make sense of them.

The book talks about color in a very practical sense, as you would see them in life. The lessons are observations of light and colors from James Gurney's years of painting experience. He brings his points across with his own beautiful paintings as examples, clearly explaining why and how he uses colors. It amazes me the amount of work James Gurney has created over the years, and this book is filled with them, from his plein-air to Dinopedia paintings.

There are lessons on sources of light, light and form, understanding the color wheel, how light reacts with surfaces and other elements, and visual perception. You'll learn interesting things like why the moon looks blue, when happens to light when it travels through green canopy, tips on mixing colors, and a whole lot more. There are lots of tips and techniques included. The book is also well researched and I enjoy reading the history of color as they were used in the past by other artists.

It's really a no-brainer to pick this up if you're into creating art, or even if you just want to check out the beautiful paintings in the book.

Highly recommended reference. And you should also check out his other book Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist.

(There are some pictures of the book on my blog, just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
(I gave this book my first fully-supported 5 star review I've ever given on amazon.com)

This book replaced at least 2 books on my shelf upon arriving and reading. It takes artists' color theory and describes it in a way that is both approachable and understandable to the beginner and professional alike.

Compared to a lot of people who have written reviews for this book (not only here but on third party sites), I have had a different trail to tread as far as trends in both art and art instruction compared to not only Gurney but artists who were taught from the 1980> . I've been drawing for about 13 years, and started right about the time that digital art was beginning to enter the playing field as a mainstream media/medium (late 90s). An advantage of that is that you were being exposed to both traditional drawing techniques and digital drawing techniques at once, where for today's generation of artists it seems that digital media has nearly swallowed many of the traditional media, and along with them, their techniques.

So, as someone who works about 50/50 with digital and traditional media (albeit leaning more traditional as I get older), this book helped to clarify a lot of very helpful relations between the color and light I was trying to simulate in my images. Not only that, it did it in a language that was not steeped in scientific babble and light theory that I was either skimming over or falling asleep through.

I recommend this to anyone and everyone who paints primarily non-abstract art, especially portrait artists and fantasy/scifi artists. To any professors (or TAs!) who see these reviews, I hope you consider putting this book as required reading in your syllabus. And for those not interested in college, I hope you have the foresight to grab up this edition of the book while it's still in stock.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
As a self taught painter who has struggled with the concepts of color and light and had to glean bits of information from dozens of sources, I am glad that a book of this quality has finally been published. Mr Gurney has done an outstanding job of bringing these concepts into one well written source. Good job!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I won't get into the book itself since other reviewers have commented on how what a fine, well-written, and valuable book this is for the study of color, light, and form. It's a real 5-star.

But I want to note that this book is still very much in print, its just been delayed. Mr Gurney's blog has more information; needless to say you do not need to pay the outlandish prices being offered by third-party vendors to get a copy. $95 or more now, or $17 - $25 if you wait a bit and Amazon or Mr Gurney will have the book back in stock....
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
Everyone I know who is an artist either has this book and loves it or is pining to get their own copy as soon as possible. It's a beautiful book with excellent information. The information is professional-grade but is explained in terms that amateur and beginning artists will also easily understand the concepts.

Incidentally, this would also be highly suitable book for intelligent kids who are interested in art. Gurney's way of breaking down each observation or technique into one or two pages of information, combined with beautiful artwork and visual examples, should keep even the shortest attention span hooked. Plus, there's many of his classic paintings of dinosaurs, too.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
It answer me all the questions other books had let me open. Some things i figure out on my own with practices, but wasnt sure if i was right or wrong. Like if light saturated colors, for an example, or how light actually works, what color should be the best for underpainting. And tons of practical things i didnt knew.

Been working in comic books for the past 7 years, and because i was a self tought , there were lots of things i didnt knew, even a friend of mine that has been a painter for 12 years, there were some concepts he didnt knew, and many things that the school teach them but never told why?

Been tired of books that tell you HOW? This is a book that tell you WHY?, and thats the real question that you need to figure out to become a great artist.

Thank you Gurney, for writting this.

Elsevilla.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Within 20 minutes of receiving Color and Light and having only briefly leafed through it, I already knew it was my new favorite book, and arguably the best in my collection of over 60 art books. I fell in love so quickly that I e-mailed Mr. Gurney that same day to show my appreciation in sharing his knowledge and insight.

As a professional illustrator, this book is entirely invaluable. It's a comprehensive, easy to understand look at how to render and understand color, light, and form, with information that will help not only novices, but even the most seasoned art vets.

List price is $25, you can get it here for roughly $17 right now, but it's a book I would've gladly paid $60+ for. It's that good, worth every penny and then some.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
No matter how long you work or who you study with there are always lessons to be learned.
This is an excellent book by a knowledgable and skilled artist and author.

Jim Gurney manages to get the basics into your head and cause you to see the world you are painting more clearly then most teachers or artists. He really causes you to see what you are doing in a new light. ( if you will pardon the pun) He shows you what he did to achieve the effects in each lesson and discusses why he missed catching certain things and why he succeeded in others. He points out how light and color affect your view and how a camera can lie when you are working from a photo.

When I finished my first reading of this book I could see an improvement in my work.

His use of color and of light is exquisite and he is able to pass on what it is he looks for and does so your work improves because of it.
Who can ask for more?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
James Gurney is known for his illustrations and Dinatopia books, but a quick look on his blog will show he is a master of pleine aire painting, portraiture and landscape.

I would not call this book one of 'color theory' but rather, a survey of different techniques and observations about color, and a survey of different color theories. In short, it is the distilled wisdom of James Gurney's experience as an artist.

Frankly, I think this is a much better way to learn about color and light than a single 'unified field' theory - because most single color theory or methods rarely are applicable to all circumstances.

Each concept is accompanied by one or two paintings illustrating the concept.There is also a pretty thorough reference and reading section for those who want to dig a little deeper.
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