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Making Color Sing Paperback – April 1, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
The book gives advice on which colors to put in a limited palette for brilliance. (As anyone who has done watercolor even for a short time knows, there are hundreds of colors available, but when you MIX them, sometimes you get a flat, dull result that looks like mud on the paper.) Choosing a limited and CORRECT palette for the painting you are going to do is one of the most critical steps after creating the composition. Dobie includes important facts about which paints stain the paper (and cannot be lifted up again), which are transparent and can be used as a wash or glaze, and which paints are opaque. And if you follow the "purist" rule of no white paint, you learn how to leave the whites (use the paper for brilliant whites) and no black paint (which causes a visual hole in the paper.) Instead, Dobie shows the student painter how dark colors like brown or a visual black can be mixed that still look luminous and interesting on the paper. This is a very difficult technique to master--shadow detail can make or break a painting.
I disagree with one of her points, however, on mixing greens. While it is true that green pigments direct from the tube are far more brilliant and transparent than any you can mix, I find certain mixed greens from yellows and blues to be subtle for shadowed foliage, and sometimes the pure paint greens are jarring and unnatural to me. I tried to follow this "use unmixed" greens rule, and I end up mixing mine anyway, though I own many shades of green paints.Read more ›
I am giving Dobie's book 1 instead of 5 stars as it seriously needs updating considering some of the pigments Dobie uses are not lightfast and the inclusion of more modern pigments that replace these non-lightfast pigments would be useful all considering the book was first published in 1986, which is 18 years ago. The lightfast references I am going by are Hilary Page and Michael Wilcox's books analyizing watercolor pigments.
Aside from Dobie's use of some outdated pigments (see handprint.com) the book is an excellent reference and her advice as to color mixing valuable.
For example, she says that you cannot get a good green by mixing any yellow and any blue, because, a yellow such as cadmium yellow contains some red and a blue such as ultramarine also contains some red, and the presence of red in green (the hoped-for color), which are complements on the color wheel, yields gray. Thus the resulting green is very muted. Explanations such as this are invaluable to me, because the underlying reasons she gives completely convinces me that she is right and the knowledge is extensible to other color combinations.
There are many such gems of knowledge in this book. Jeanne Dobie teaches you how to create not just contrast, but a "singing" combination of colors, and how to mix your own blacks and your own whites to achieve much more nuanced presentations. And there is much more.
Admittedly, some artists do not feel bound by these "rules" of color and can still produce very good art. Charles Reid comes to mind. For the rest of us, the wisdoms Jeanne Dobie shares in this book are an important part of an artist's knowledge base.
Because of this alone, the book should be vigorously rejected as coming from dubious authority. Her plan for making colors "sing," by the way, involves placing an occassional bright color in a field of grays or browns, mixed not from earth pigments, but from (fugitive) primaries. It would be irresponsible of me to perpetrate such a book on an unsuspecting public by giving it any stars at all. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't have a "zero" stars option. If you want a superior book that will show you much better ways to make colors "sing," get "Perfect Color Choices for the Artist," by Michael Wilcox.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
More than 20 pages were torn off and many pictures cut out. Very disappointed with purchase.Published 16 months ago by Slender voice
A very useful and illuminating book. For our printmaking studio it's become our go-to book for color mixing. Read morePublished on December 3, 2013 by Janet Campbell
This book is by my side whenever I paint. Great references to color mixing and in general an eye opener for especially a beginner painter to avoid murky uninteresting colors.Published on November 19, 2013 by W. Brogren
The information and pictures are amazing for me to take in. I would love to paint like this someday. All the photos in the book are from great artists.Published on August 1, 2013 by Lieta G
I studied with Jeanne Dobie in 1976 along with Chen Chi, the late Chinese Master, in Birch Harbour, Maine, at the studio of Barse Miller. Read morePublished on March 19, 2012 by Diane L Chanako Turner
This book was all i was told it would be. your service was excellent , especially for a computer illiterati like myself. Thanks again. MW. Read morePublished on June 3, 2011 by Madlyn Walton
I am a relatively new artist and this book was referred to me by a seasoned artist who did not understate the value of the information inside the pages of "Making Color Sing". Read morePublished on October 27, 2010 by Corky