Creative Color Paperback – January 7, 1997
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About the Author
- Publisher : Schiffer; 1st edition (January 7, 1997)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 128 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0887400965
- ISBN-13 : 978-0887400964
- Item Weight : 1.3 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.5 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #690,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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some that were terrible and useless. This one is EXCEPTIONAL!!! Lots of information and color plates on color scales, mixing, harmony, a variety of color wheels, special effects such as lustrous, iridescent, luminous, chromatic light, transparency, 3-D color, etc. Anyone and everyone, can learn something from this book. Highly recommended.
It makes a unique contribution. In addition to covering the conventional fare of color theory and color harmony (which you can find in many other sources), Creative Color also addresses topics I have not seen treated anywhere else. In particular, chapters 14 through 24 address a topic Birren calls Perceptionism, or the study of how humans perceive color under various environmental conditions. In these chapters he provides truly valuable insights into the perception of luster; iridescence; luminosity; chromatic light; chromatic mist; luminosity in mist; transparency, texture and solidity; and highlights and shadows. Although the topics sound a little academic and sometimes are, the chapters are loaded with practical advice on how a painter can represent such effects in pigment. Each chapter is followed by a series of recommended experiments.
Birren states no personal preference for representational or nonrepresentational art. Serious painters or designers of either should be able to benefit from understanding these ideas.
As a painter interested in representation of natural effects, I find Birren's discussions to be of indispensable practical value. I think they are likely to be of equal value to anyone who works in oils, acrylics, pastel, gouache or other opaque media.
I have two complaints:
1. The diagrams are sometimes hard to follow. Diagrams and the references to them in text sometimes do not match. This causes confusion, but with patience you can extract the value of the message.
2. The color plates Birren uses to demonstrate the application of his concepts are pretty barfy, even in the 1961 edition I own. It's not a question of quality of reproduction. It's a matter of some bad-looking illustrations Birren himself appears to have designed. I think his aim may have been to prevent the quality of his illustrations from distracting the reader from the content of the point he's trying to make. But for me he sometimes fails in the oppposite direction. The poor artistic quality of his illustrations can make it hard to get past thinking that the effect he's trying to demonstrate just looks bad esthetically. Maybe some painters will be spurred to show how much more tastefully they can apply the concepts Birren illustrates.
In summary, for serious students of color theory--especially ones interested in understanding and applying color in unusual or challenging lighting conditions--I know of no better or more practical source.
Some of the presented effects are ordinary, and there are others that are like nothing I've ever seen.
Concerning the exercises: If you actually do what he tells you to do (a daunting task), your art will probably be drastically affected for the better. If nothing else, you will be a whiz at mixing color, for you will be doing a LOT of that. It's like a color boot camp. This is not a book to be skimmed through for pretty pictures. It's about work.
One other unusual and appealing thing: The book is sprinkled with humble disclaimers in which the author says that he realizes how academic the ideas are, and emphasizes that art is about much more than color charts. If you look hard you might see some dry humor in these disclaimers.
I can't comment on the color reproduction in current editions. My copy is from the 1980s, I think.
I love it.