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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is great for anyone who loves to paint, but struggles with getting just the right tone...just the right shade...even just the right color! While I've noted that a few "recipes" contain errors (it's pretty clear that mixing one part white with four parts cadmium yellow medium will not yield a "pumpkin" orange), I still find the book useful because it allows one to see what combinations and proportions of colors will result in a desired hue, value, or intensity. While Powell acknowledges in the Instructions that paint colors vary somewhat among brands, I have noted one or two colors that are significantly different from the paint I usually buy (Windsor-Newton oils). Even so, I have been quite pleased with the results, and I believe my painting is all the better for using this guide. I certainly recommend it to anyone who has experienced the frustration of having mixed selected colors only to discover that the end result is totally wrong for its intended use!
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2007
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I do like spiral-bound books which feature either brushstrokes or in this case, recipes, as the pages lie flat (there is no spine to flatten or pages which keep flipping at a vital stage). The book starts with a general overview of color theory but doesn't get obsessive about it. Then come the recipes which are clear, easy to understand and there is a plastic color mixing grid at the back to help get the proportions accurate. The book deals with Oils but there is a conversion chart for Acryllics included. At 49 pages and with a hardcover, it is compact and easy to carry. I liked the over all format of the book which also includes a small section on Portrait Colors.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2008
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Very useful book. Even though I majored in art in college, I didn't learn all that's in this book. It's changed the appearance of my paintings totally. I love it. I'm already ordering the one for portrait colors too. Very easy to use, with quick, exciting results. Someone mentioned that the colors were "out of date," referring to Hansa Yellow in particular. Hansa Yellow is a pretty standard color in the artist's palette, and not out of date. Colors may go out of date in fashion, but not on an artists palette.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I had ordered William Powell's Color Mixing Recipes for Portraits from Amazon several months ago...and really like it. After seeing this book on a stand at my local art supply store, I went ahead and bought it without first taking the time to look through it thoroughly in the store. I wish now that I had. In my opinion, way too many pages are devoted to showing the color tint changes based upon adding more, and more, and then some more, white into a particular color. For my purposes, it would have been better served to perhaps include only 1 or 2 representative tints with white for many colors, rather than the six big color swatches included for just a handful. For instance, it might be useful to see which dark reds could be tinted to produce the particular type of pink you're looking for. However, as an example, the entirety of page 21 shows the various tints that can be achieved by adding 5 slightly increasing amounts of titanium white to 3 separate colors (venetian red, burnt umber, and burnt sienna). Once you've seen the resultant tint by adding white to venetian red, you can pretty much guess what it's going to look like when you add a smidge more white. A number of pages are taken up by this...which, to me, wastes quite a bit of space considering there are only 26 pages of actual recipe information in the book. It wouldn't be an issue if this were a more extensive book; but, as it is a minimal-page book to start with, it seems that these pages are being used simply as "filler" and at the sacrifice of more worthwhile pages. While I didn't really expect that the book would contain recipes for every type of color combinations (heck, I can certainly make my own "mud"); I did expect much more than what it contained. There were so many great color mixes that it overlooked...including some of the beautiful greys and earth tones. Okay, I'll step down from my soapbox now.

As with his other paint recipe books, the spiral binding is a great addition. There are 5 pages of "value" recipes in the book which I found sort of useful...the rest not so much. Otherwise, there is a bit on color theory in the front and a small section on portrait painting in the back, but that information is simply an abbreviation from his portrait book that I already own (and highly recommend). For those folks just learning to mix colors, this book might be helpful for its abbreviated color theory alone...but, for the color mixes, you can also make your own useful charts (using the paints you already have or want to buy). See below.

Since I paint in oils, I make charts out of canvas paper and use Q-tips instead of brushes when painting the sample swatches (If you're doing dozens of color combinations, it's a pain to have to keep cleaning out brushes to keep the colors pure). I write the paint colors that I own down the side and also across the top of the canvas paper (sort of like a grid). I then put a small "speck" of each oil paint in its respective place across the grid (there will be 2 colors at each spot on chart). Using Q-tips, I blend each color combination into a decent-sized "swatch." Those colors that seem nice, but too dark, I'll add a bit of white to tint it enough to truly "see" the color result. You'll end up with a few swatches that are simply "mud"...not interesting at all...but don't overlook some of the beautiful greys and browns that result from mixing colors that are complements of one another. For example, mixing alizarin crimson and sap green results in a lovely rich mahogany color. I now have a few pages of canvas paper charts that I can refer to when I'm looking for a specific color.

UPDATE: I've noticed that Powell has a new color recipe book (published 2012) that is supposed to contain over 1,500 color combinations. It's sold on Amazon for just several bucks more (at the time of this review). While it's hard to see exactly what you're getting when you click on the "Look Inside" Amazon feature, it does look like it is probably a more worthwhile book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
If you've ever wanted to know how to mix colors or what colors to mix to get a color you want, this is the book for you. It's easy to follow and its spiral binding makes it very user-friendly. I'd recommend this book to any artist or wanta-be artist!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book for painters just starting out, or painters in general.
Mixing recipes for more than 450 colour combinations. This book is a Must.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My Art teacher has had this book for 20 years, so I was very surprised I was able to purchase it new and revised. The recipes are presented in a clear and logical manner, will be a great reference guide
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book does not teach how to mix, quantities and such but how color mixes. It shows the different possibilities in color mixing. The ratios of each color is up to the painter.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I am new to acrylic painting, and although I am familiar with colors, this book really is a blessing when it comes to "recipes" for mixing colors. Well laid out and easy to use, this little guide to color mixing is complete and comprehensive, to boot. It's great, and I'm sure it will be my constant companion for some time - or at least until I'm a little more comfortable with mixing my own colors and getting something other than "mud."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 24, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I got this for airbrush painting and I usually use acrylic paint. It is very easy to understand and it even taught me a couple of little tricks I never heard of and I went to a fine art college. I didn't find any of the typos someone else pointed out, but I may have bought a revised edition. It has a small section on mixing skin tones, but the other book in the series devoted to portraits is invaluable and should be considered a purchase with this book.
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