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ARTISTíS COLOR MANUAL (article first published : 2005-04-3)

For all those painters who, like myself, cannot always be bothered to learn the technical aspects of mixing colour, Artistís Color Manual* by Simon Jennings is a fantastic guide. Most practicing artists know about colour through experience, but mixing paints and pigments without proper guidance can result in strange things happening. *(American spelling)

This book is an attempt to assist you to get it right from the start.

The first thing one learns is not to take colour for granted as you need to incorporate many factors such as painting on different surfaces, thickness of paint, strength of pigment, transparency or opacity. Also whether to use acrylic, oil, gouache, egg tempera, or pastels.

Thereís a chapter on the basic colour wheel, using complementary colours, tints and shades, mediums and dilutents.

It also urges artists to experiment with colour and actually suggests that you ignore correct usage Ė lay gouache over acrylic, mix it with ink, rub, scratch and scrub into the surface or apply washes. Experiment!!

Most interesting is the colour by colour section starting with blue, violet, red, orange, yellow, green, brown, and black. It tells you the characteristics, of lamp black, ivory black, mars black etc before dealing with all the different greys and flesh colours.

While the more experienced artists will be intrigued by Artistís Color, beginners should seriously consider the Art Class by the same author. Both books are without a doubt a worthwhile investment.

Artistís Color Manual, the complete guide to working with colour by Simon Jennings is available from Spectrum in Umgeni Road, Durban (e-mail: spectrum@megajet.co.za) at a price of R307. Art Class is available at the same outlet at the same price. - Marianne Meijer




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