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Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter Paperback – 9 Dec 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (9 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0740797719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0740797712
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 1.5 x 26.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

This is a terrific book, highly recommended not only for young artists but anyone with an interest in traditional art technique. (Karen Haber, Locus)

About the Author

James Gurney’s unique blending of fact and fantasy has won Hugo, Chesley, Spectrum, and World Fantasy Awards. His work has been featured in one-man exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Delaware Art Museum, and the U.S. embassies in Switzerland and Yemen. He lives with his wife, Jeanette, in the Hudson Valley of New York State.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jorge Carrero on 11 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm a struggling digital artist, always looking forward for new tutorials and useful bits of info about color theory, since you never know enough about it. I bought this book after reading some other reviews and I'm really glad I did.

I wasn't familiar with James' blog, even though I'm a big fan of all his work for his Dinotopia series. His prolific contributions to this blog and, eminently, his teaching career, have given him the ability to explain everything clearly, with some of the most beautiful examples you could hope to have, all done by Mr. Gurney himself. There's a lot to like and learn from this book, everything is understandable and achievable, and his Gamut references are priceless. I have a modest collection of books and DVD's about color, but this work is, by far, the best I have ever read.

With this amazing print quality, all of the great advice and knowledge, and for this price, you really need this book, even if you are a classical or digital artist, or just like art for what it is!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By livius on 18 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
"Color and Light" is a really good book and a better purchase. Result of the passion for research and thirty years of experience, it shows how the traditional artistic knowledge is the base of contemporary realistic illustration too.
With the same spirit with wich Leonardo da Vinci, in his "Tattato della Pittura", showed that the road to better represent reality, was the analysis of physical phenomena, rather than the simply copy of other painters' work, Gurney investigates with his distinctive scientific approach the light and visual perception phenomena, that bind the Color to the Light, between ancient and modern knowledges, describing how they can be used with success in the artistic profession.

Above all, Gurney demonstrates how the direct experience will lead to image more effectively than the use of photographs and virtual simulations.
Therefore, the book is recommended not only to the illustrators who use traditional techniques, but also to those who think that mastering the illustration is the result of practical only, while the theoretical knowledge is superfluous.

If I have to find small defects - that absolutely does not reduce the total value of the book - I can say that the structure of the edition, which devotes two pages to each topic, not always connecting the content to pages later, it is sometimes scattered, making the book is not only a practical manual or a collection of articles, nor a treaty. Therefore, I particularly liked the chapters more homogeneous, such those about the gamut and pigments, which I found really valuable, while the first chapter, about the representation of color and light in Old Masters' painting, it seemed to me a little hasty, almost a second introduction.

In conclusion, I thank James Gurney for giving us this book, which is a generous gift of his experience and his love for art to us all.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Parka HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 15 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
Length: 1:01 Mins
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By GrahamP on 13 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had previously been put off this book by the extensive imaginary scenes including dinosaurs. Once on offer at a reduced price at Amazon I took the plunge.
The explanations of landscape light effects and how to analyse and paint them are extensive and exceptionally good, despite the dinosaurs !

This should be on the shelf of every budding landscape artist to assist with the essential core requirement of capturing various light conditions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Briggs on 22 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm very pleased that James Gurney's new book "doesn't contain recipes for mixing colours or step by step painting procedures" (Color and Light, p. 9). Much much better, it shows how an artist of his calibre THINKS about colour and light.

Any single book on this subject can only be an introduction, but what an introduction this is! The book is very generously illustrated with the author's own works, plus those of many of his favourite past masters. These images fully justify their place by showing us what can be achieved, especially from the imagination, by those who are willing to go beyond a simplistic approach to "colour theory".

Gurney admits that when he set out to write the book, he himself at first underestimated the complexity of the subject (p. 222), and found that he needed to research aspects of physics and visual perception more deeply than he had previously. I suspect it's no coincidence that some of his most perfectly realized imaginative paintings, including the sleeping dinosaur on the cover and Titanoboa on p. 165, date from 2009.

The modern books and websites recommended by Gurney for further reading (pp. 220-1) will probably be the most accessible resources for the next steps in your explorations, but it may be worth mentioning that many of the older texts he lists are available for free download or reading online from googlebooks, archive,org and HathiTrust.

I'm quite certain that Color and Light will mark the beginning of the end for the simplistic approach to color that still predominates in art teaching. If you are an art or design student, please get this book, study it, and then pester your teachers ceaselessly until THEY study it.
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