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gunzorro
06-02-2009, 11:38 PM
Well, I tried to keep an open mind, and purchased the latest edition of this book, following a number of rave reviews here on the Color Theory and Mixing forum.

On the surface, this book should be a perfect fit here -- it is all about color theory and paint mixing.

But after covering 43 pages today, I'm aghast by the tremendous false or misguided premises the book is based on.

The whole book and theory revolves around "The Color Bias Wheel", which is similar to a split primary palette. But in this instance, the theory refuses to postulate "true" primary colors, and instead posits an Orange-Red/Violet Red instead of a real Red, and similar for Yellow and Blue.

An earlier detail states that Pure Red and Pure Blue equal Black! Not violet! ;)

Despite the loads of color illustrations, the points are driven home by repetition that the historic color wheel is completely wrong and useless as a mixing tool.

The overall theory is such a mishmash of additive and subtractive color theory as to be nearly incoherent.

I'm going to trudge through this mess, and later summarize the errors, or any epiphanies I may have. But for now, I can tell you this is nothing so simple as the color model featured in the Munsell System of Notation or the various LAB models and uses.

jfrancis
06-03-2009, 01:30 AM
There is no such thing as a pure red or blue in the real world.

What is pure red? A paint that reflects only 650 nanometers? What percentage of white light is exactly 650 nanometers? By percentage - virtually none.

So 'pure red' would look profoundly black under normal white light.

http://www.digitalartform.com/archives/images/psColorMixing_2.jpg

http://www.digitalartform.com/archives/2005/06/digital_color_m.html

Einion
06-03-2009, 09:37 AM
Jim, shoulda read some of the more balanced reviews on it! :)

Apart from anything this is a beginners or learners book and you're well beyond the point where you'd have anything to gain from reading it I'd have thought.

Einion

Einion
06-03-2009, 09:57 AM
jfrancis, thanks for the illustrations but there's a problem with the captions. I meant to mention this the last time you posted something like this but 0 0 1 and 1 0 0 are black effectively; you did the swatches using 0 0 255 and 255 0 0 surely?

There is no such thing as a pure red or blue in the real world.

What is pure red? A paint that reflects only 650 nanometers? What percentage of white light is exactly 650 nanometers? By percentage - virtually none.
True, and this has been argued here in various ways numerous times before.

In the context of the book, paints in general (versus just colour theoretically) the point is about the masstone hue and whether this can be red or blue or whatever. The point the author is making (incorrectly) is that there are no paints that are effectively primarily in hue in terms of how they mix.

Einion

gunzorro
06-03-2009, 11:01 AM
Einion -- Thanks for your kind comment.

I had been reading claptrap on the forum about the book, but couldn't really debate the points without knowing "from the horse's mouth" exactly the assertions.

It's not the worst $20 I've spent -- at least it is providing entertainment and pretty illustrations. ;)

So, I'll continue reading, just to get a full understanding of the approach.

jfrancis -- The problem with that notion is that there is no pure "anything" in the this world of color. But we are dealing with practicalities and common observations -- most people know what we mean by these three primary subractive colors, Red-Yellow-Blue.

And the foundation principle of the book, that ever color theory from Newton forward, based on the prismatic color wheel, is in error -- well, that is unsupported arrogance at its finest! :) But apparently it sells books and classes.

This is one of the most frustrating things I've encountered over the years in trying to learn about painting and colors: it seems most authors feel the need to put some sort of original twist on the subject. Validity doesn't seem to matter much so long as it sounds good and looks good in print. It's not impossible to find valid works, but these snake oil salesmen of color make it a lot more difficult.

Einion
06-03-2009, 12:07 PM
So, I'll continue reading, just to get a full understanding of the approach.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2003/3842-thumbsup.gif

And the foundation principle of the book, that ever color theory from Newton forward, based on the prismatic color wheel, is in error -- well, that is unsupported arrogance at its finest! :) But apparently it sells books and classes.
There is a lot of truth in that! Most of the better colour sites go into some length on the limitations or simplifications inherent to many with early colour systems; Handprint's pages are probably the best known.

This is one of the most frustrating things I've encountered over the years in trying to learn about painting and colors: it seems most authors feel the need to put some sort of original twist on the subject. Validity doesn't seem to matter much so long as it sounds good and looks good in print.
Well the idea of the role of 'colour bias' in mixing outcome is not something implied or explicitly spelled out in many books about painting and colour mixing (before or since) and it does go a long way toward helping people who have a limited understanding of mixing to get a leg up.

But as has been spelled out on WC dozens of times though when you get down to it the specifics of paints make all the difference, not just pigments generally but in exact examples of them since sometimes you get a paint that doesn't behave as the norm for the pigment.

Often slight differences aren't enough to bother people, however if you are into some kind of exactitude - e.g. some advanced painters and those with aspirations to get there - then specifics are important. But then you're beyond the scope of this guide anyway... any guide of this kind in fact.

It's not impossible to find valid works, but these snake oil salesmen of color make it a lot more difficult.
Yep. But sadly the same is true of any area :)

Einion

Einion
06-03-2009, 12:29 PM
Previous threads to review for anyone interested in more background on the discussion of this title, and related topics, here:
Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35942) (started 2002)
Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=398293) (started 2007)
Blue and yellow and green (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=541723) (recent)

What to read? (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=371583)

Limited palette (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=270630)
Split-primary v. secondary palettes (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285690)
(The above two include posts from the author; best to read them in the order they're posted.)

Einion

gunzorro
06-03-2009, 02:13 PM
Einion -- Some excellent points! And thanks for the other threads as reference. :)

Your mention of Handprint is a good one. I'm impressed by how much accurate information on color theory is to be found on that site! Very concise and presented in an easy-to-understand way.

jfrancis
06-03-2009, 03:22 PM
most people know what we mean by these three primary subractive colors, Red-Yellow-Blue.

I know a thing or two about color and I don't know what you mean here.

The so-called (http://wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=566471) subtractive primaries as far as I know are magenta, yellow, and cyan, and we tell children they are red yellow and blue so as not to trouble them at a young age with nuanced colors with funny names like magenta and cyan.

Then the bad information gets ingrained.

Einion -- Some excellent points! And thanks for the other threads as reference. :)

Your mention of Handprint is a good one. I'm impressed by how much accurate information on color theory is to be found on that site! Very concise and presented in an easy-to-understand way.

Handprint, btw, explains color mixing in the same way that the book does, and that I do: namely that so-called 'subtractive' color is a form of multiplication (and in some instances a form of averaging)

"For the same reason, a subtractive mixture reflects only those light wavelengths that both colorants reflect by temselves. A mixture can only reflect in the "blue" wavelengths if both colorants reflect significant amounts of "blue" light. Yellow and blue make green only because both yellow and blue paints reflect significant amounts of "green" light."

"Multiplicative Darkness Mixture. The second point of difference with additive color mixing has to do with how the colors combine in subtractive mixtures. This is some form of multiplication or product of the separate reflectance curves (http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/color3.html#reflectance)"

http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/color5.html#lightabsorbing


"a subtractive mixture reflects only those light wavelengths that both colorants reflect by temselves"

That means that color mixing, and multiplication, are analogous to the logical conjunction 'AND'

I actually have a clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL2DnH41b7w) [9:00] oddly enough :) that goes into a little detail on this subject


And the foundation principle of the book, that ever color theory from Newton forward, based on the prismatic color wheel, is in error -- well, that is unsupported arrogance at its finest! :) But apparently it sells books and classes.

The book doesn't say anything particularly controversial (or new). It just says:

1) Blue and Yellow only make Green when they both contain Green as a common component.

2) To mix a vibrant Green, choose Yellows and Blues with a lot of Green in common.

3) To mix more subdued Greens, choose either a Yellow or a Blue containing little Green.

4) To mix the most subdued Green of all, choose both a Yellow and a Blue containing little Green.

That's pretty much the whole book.

jfrancis
06-03-2009, 05:09 PM
Your forum lacks an edit button for older posts, which as far as I'm concerned is a bug, not a feature, but the gray oval illustration above is in response to this:

jfrancis, thanks for the illustrations but there's a problem with the captions. I meant to mention this the last time you posted something like this but 0 0 1 and 1 0 0 are black effectively; you did the swatches using 0 0 255 and 255 0 0 surely?


I probably did make the illustration in 8-bit space, but the important space when discussing color arithmetic is 0 to 1 space.

Einion
06-04-2009, 05:48 AM
Your forum lacks an edit button for older posts, which as far as I'm concerned is a bug, not a feature...
It is entirely deliberate. While it has some downsides it's a good feature.

Easy way to adapt - just compose off-line in a word processor before posting, which has other advantages too. This approach would also tend to prevent multiple responses at one time to the same thread, which should ideally be folded into a single post.

I probably did make the illustration in 8-bit space, but the important space when discussing color arithmetic is 0 to 1 space.
Well that's a matter of opinion. Most people aren't mathematicians; for most anyone that knows Photoshop or something similar referring to an RGB colour as 0 0 1, when in reality it's defined nearly universally as 0 0 255, is just bound to cause confusion! If you would refer to the forum's sticky thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=477605) on this point please.

Einion

jfrancis
06-04-2009, 12:43 PM
Well that's a matter of opinion. Most people aren't mathematicians; for most anyone that knows Photoshop or something similar referring to an RGB colour as 0 0 1, when in reality it's defined nearly universally as 0 0 255, is just bound to cause confusion! If you would refer to the forum's sticky thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=477605) on this point please.

Einion
That's why I chose the multiply blend mode to explain the point. It doesn't take being a 'mathematician' to understand that whether the numbers are 8 bits or 16 bits or 32 bits or double precision floating point 64 bits is irrelevant. The concepts only make sense in 0 to 1 space.

The basic problem is the this thread comes out swinging, with phrases like 'mess' and 'snake oil,' for something which is entirely reasonable and largely correct.

gunzorro
06-04-2009, 03:11 PM
I can do a detailed quoting of the book as I go. Here are a few points (gross generalities) to get started.

Page 9: "Among other things, you will discover that yellow and blue do not make green, that the artist's primary colours, pure red, yellow and blue, do not exist and that vitually everything that has ever been written about colour mixing has been inaccurate." (Italics are mine for emphasis)

Page 9: "I realize that most creative people will resist coming to terms with the theoretical side of colour mixing."
"To this I would have to say that we have not gained control through earlier methods."

Page 11: "Colour only ever exists in our brain, we are, fortunately, able to convert certain types of energy into a sensation of colour."

"Artists, by their very nature, often avoid most things to do with science."

Is there only subjective color? Without the human brain, there would be no color? I don't know if that is true.

And is this true about artists as a class, opposed or disinclined toward science and technology?

Page 21: (following much explanation of paint films, pigments and light absorbtion/reflection, these points are made) "You will be well ahead of me by now and have worked out just why a mix of pure red and pure blue would produce black."
The flaws in our traditional way of thinking about colour mixing are starting to show."

The generalities above are just the tip of the rhetorical iceberg Mr. Wilcox mines in an attempt to substantiate his arguments and off-beat theories. The thing I wonder about right away is what sort of poor education in color did Michael Wilcox receive, and why didn't he take initiative to find the correct sources of color theory and mixing? To this point in the book, he has presented a muddle of incomplete or erroneous scientific theory of light and pigments. His conclusions, while not completely wrong, are serving as a foundation for a remarkable, if inaccurate, view of color and mixing.

Mr. Wilcox makes point of fact from obvious fallacies, which seem to rhetorically appeal to the type of audience he describes: one who is not inclined to facts of science.

I can certainly bring more points to light as I progess through the book. But the text is so riddled with the partially true premises, that some is very hard to unravel without going through the book page by page.

One of my greatest joys in reading the Munsell "Student Book" was the high percentage of true information and demonstratable theory -- at least 90%, one of the highest ratings I would give for color theory books for the average (non-scientific) reader. This book by Mr. Wilcox, so far at least, I would only rate at around 50% valid or accurate -- about the same as the general color theory book one is likely to encounter in school.

I've been pleased to see on this forum, especially over the last few years, people seeing the differences that specific pigments and manufacturers can make on their colors. Combined with that, there seems to be a more eager "hands-on" approach to doing color mixes with the colors on the individual artists' palette. I think we can thank Richard Schmid in part for this, with his inter-related color charts popularizing the idea of compiling a reference of palette colors and their mixtures. Even on a small scale this is a valuable exercise. The inclusion of the Munsell color chips, even in the Student set, gives us an objective comparison to the colors in our subject and the colors being mixed on the palette.

All this information I mentioned here, even if only understood these matters from a theory standpoint, seems to directly contradict Mr. Wilcox' assertion that , "This approach cannot work because we are all equiped with a very poor colour memory. We quickly forget all but the most general features of a colour as soon s we look away from it."

Einion
06-04-2009, 03:45 PM
It doesn't take being a 'mathematician' to understand that whether the numbers are 8 bits or 16 bits or 32 bits or double precision floating point 64 bits is irrelevant. The concepts only make sense in 0 to 1 space.
O-k-a-y, but I can tell you that most people have no understanding of what even the "0 to 1 space" bit means.

Anyway, my point is that as standard RGB colour notation should be used here because that is how it is commonly understood and used so as to prevent confusion and needless digression.

The basic problem is the this thread comes out swinging, with phrases like 'mess' and 'snake oil,' for something which is entirely reasonable and largely correct.
That's one opinion.

I'd agree the basis of the book is reasonable and useful. But as far as largely correct, I'm afraid that's far from the case (many of the salient points are touched on in the links above).

Einion

jfrancis
06-04-2009, 07:14 PM
O-k-a-y, but I can tell you that most people have no understanding of what even the "0 to 1 space" bit means.

Anyway, my point is that as standard RGB colour notation should be used here because that is how it is commonly understood and used so as to prevent confusion and needless digression.

Photoshop has three different bit depth modes. They ship standard. Only one of them represents white as 255. The majority of them in standard Photoshop - fully two thirds of them - do not. One of them, the 32-bit mode, represents white as 1.0

So there are as many modes in standard Photoshop that call white 1.0 as there are that call white 255.

as far as largely correct, I'm afraid that's far from the case (many of the salient points are touched on in the links above).

Einion

Nothing quoted above as incorrect was in fact incorrect.

jfrancis
06-04-2009, 07:32 PM
The book doesn't say anything particularly controversial (or new). It just says:

1) Blue and Yellow only make Green when they both contain Green as a common component.

2) To mix a vibrant Green, choose Yellows and Blues with a lot of Green in common.

3) To mix more subdued Greens, choose either a Yellow or a Blue containing little Green.

4) To mix the most subdued Green of all, choose both a Yellow and a Blue containing little Green.

That's pretty much the whole book.

This is the heart of the book. You either know it, or you don't, regardless of where or from whom you learned it.

gunzorro
06-04-2009, 08:58 PM
jfrancis -- The red herring of this set of statements is in the first statement. Of course blue and yellow each contain green. I'm not aware of a type of either hue that is completely lacking in the component that would make green.

Statements 2, 3 and 4 are obvious -- no great secrets of color mixing there.

This sequence essentially rebutts the rhetorical title of the book.

Here is another idea from P. 9, that is sure to appeal to anyone who has every mixed up too much paint, or overcorrected to infinity:
"Thanks to our present wasteful colour mixing practices, the only people to benefit are the paint manufacturers." (The paint mafia and their conspiracies!)
"Even when things do go well and the required hue is mixed, the colours and qualitities are usually impossible to recall another time." (Huh! And he's seems serious!)

jfrancis
06-04-2009, 10:30 PM
If you leave pigments, you can find a yellow laser that contains little or nothing in the way of green light and cannot be decomposed by a prism into red and green.

And if you want to talk 'subtractive' color, you can find a pretty good yellow filter that lets litle or no green light pass. Cobine that with a narrow blue filter and you won't get much green at all.

gunzorro
06-05-2009, 12:54 AM
jfrancis -- The whole point is we are talking pigments and mixing of pigments. My specialty is oils, but would apply to watercolor, pastels, acrylics, etc. It doesn't apply to optics, filters and lights.

I don't want to chase down the rabbit hole, but you are showing that Mr. Wilcox is not presenting anything new or controversial -- that is in direct contradiction to his claims and his stated disagreement with past theories.

I'll keep going through the book and see what I find.

jfrancis
06-05-2009, 02:00 AM
jfrancis -- The whole point is we are talking pigments and mixing of pigments. My specialty is oils, but would apply to watercolor, pastels, acrylics, etc. It doesn't apply to optics, filters and lights.

Fine. Let's not talk about the 'subtractive' color drives color filter mixing. Let's talk about how it drives pigment mixing.

His point is that even if there is a 100% correlation of green and blue together in blue pigment the blue is not the cause of the production of green when blue and yellow mix.

You are confusing correlation and causation.

...also, color mixing in optics, filters, inkjet printers, printing presses - same diff (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygUchcpRNyk&fmt=22).

sidbledsoe
06-05-2009, 08:11 AM
There are thread observers like me who would prefer seeing examples of real world pigments that do exist and not all the photoshop examples, what filters do when they are combined. and laser light attributes. I know I will probably receive a lecture on why it is so pertinent, have at it.

Einion
06-05-2009, 09:46 AM
Now, that's better. I've tidied up a bit, removing some posts that were not constructive.

If we can stick to the subject at hand from now on please - what's good about the book, what's not?

Please confine contributions to practical colour mixing applications and any related issues of incident/reflected light.

Einion

Einion
06-05-2009, 09:49 AM
I don't want to chase down the rabbit hole, but you are showing that Mr. Wilcox is not presenting anything new or controversial -- that is in direct contradiction to his claims and his stated disagreement with past theories.
Excellent point.


If you leave pigments, you can find a yellow laser that contains little or nothing in the way of green light and cannot be decomposed by a prism into red and green.

And if you want to talk 'subtractive' color, you can find a pretty good yellow filter that lets litle or no green light pass. Cobine that with a narrow blue filter and you won't get much green at all.
The book is about paint mixing. Unrelated points like this do nothing to further the discussion of the thread topic.
You are confusing correlation and causation.
I don't believe he did so and you're not in a position to make that kind of comment here!


There are thread observers like me who would prefer seeing examples of real world pigments that do exist and not all the photoshop examples, what filters do when they are combined. and laser light attributes.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2003/3842-thumbsup.gif

I know I will probably receive a lecture on why it is so pertinent, have at it.
Nah, you won't. Trust me :cool:

Einion

jfrancis
06-05-2009, 02:00 PM
There are thread observers like me who would prefer seeing examples of real world pigments that do exist and not all the photoshop examples, what filters do when they are combined. and laser light attributes. I know I will probably receive a lecture on why it is so pertinent, have at it.

Maybe if he likes the original poster could quote a section from the book that explains why it is pertinent. It's been a long time since I've read the book, but I feel there may be a short paragraph or two that answers your question. Maybe not.

sidbledsoe
06-05-2009, 05:29 PM
...let me get back to the thread and book. I read the handprint page on this book and Brian has issues with it also. My main problem with it was his non-scientific approach in descibing things that by nature simply require a higher level of description coupled with data (such as the skewed simplified reflectance curves). I think he geared it that way on purpose to reach a larger audience, any thoughts Jim?

gunzorro
06-05-2009, 06:12 PM
Sid -- I agree. It seems designed to reach the broadest audience of technically disinclined readers.

I haven't read the comments on handprint, so I'll have to check that out.

gunzorro
06-05-2009, 07:22 PM
Speaking of handprint.com, here's the review of "Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green".

http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/book3.html#wilcox

From what I've read, I completely agree. I also looked up the sections mentioned and they are also well described.

It seems the term "snake oil" might not have been strong enough to describe this book. ;)

jfrancis
06-05-2009, 07:51 PM
His biggest complaint with Wilcox is that he represents himself as something new, 'burn, baby, burn' that color wheel, but that he really is just the same as almost everyone else.

gunzorro
06-05-2009, 08:15 PM
No, that is just the icing on the critique. As I've mentioned, unforgivable is his confusion of additive and subtractive color mixing. The review is quite detailed and hits all the right spots.

jfrancis
06-05-2009, 08:40 PM
No, that is just the icing on the critique. As I've mentioned, unforgivable is his confusion of additive and subtractive color mixing. The review is quite detailed and hits all the right spots.

And handprint goes on to explain that the unforgivable confusion you mention causes Wilcox to make 3 serious errors:

yellow cancels violet

orange cancels blue

red cancels green

wal_t
06-06-2009, 09:13 AM
My experience with the Wilcox book is as follows: I started painting without any study or background in color theory.

Then after reading the Wilcox book it improved my skills in mixing color (maybe the theory in the book is not correct but it gave quite some practical tips as summed up in this thread already).

Now I am studying Munsell Student Color Set and this gives me a more comprehensive background in color theory but by no means is this book without it's flaws as well as I learn from several WebSites on color. This subject seems an endless source of study .... aren't we lucky.

I also have the feeling that the Munsell book is a bridge too far for many people not so interested in color theory but more interested in practical guidelines for mixing color.

I dislike the many black & white illustrations in the Munsell book. I do like the excercises with the color chips, that was a real eye opener to me and teached me a lot about Hue, Value and Chroma.

Regards, Walter

sidbledsoe
06-06-2009, 09:28 AM
I agree walt, though I don't have munsell, yet. BTW, Bruce MacEvoy did handprint, not Brian, my bad, but what an awesome resource it is.

Einion
06-10-2009, 11:01 AM
Just to highlight something important above in relation to the digital example given in post #2.

When dealing with digital colour Blue and Red interact in a fixed way, giving the 'mixing' result you see in the illustration. With paints it's nothing like as simple as this. Paints act the way they act due to the individual nature of the pigments they're made from, not in a way that theory dictates (BAYDMG has come related issues too, more on this later).

So, as I touched on in a PM to a member the other day, when it comes to paints different examples with the same hues can behave very differently to each other. To give some specifics and sticking with Red and Blue for the time being, PR112 and versions of PR108 can both have a hue very near to 0 (Red) but they mix entirely unalike in numerous instances; blend each with two different paints, both with a hue of 240 (for example a mix of PB15:3 and PR122, or PB29) and you will typically get completely different results.

If we focus on just one set here, using French Ultramarine and mixing two swatches with each of the reds, both are very dark; depending on medium they could appear quite black. Now here's where things diverge strongly from digital colour. When you mix digitally and you get a dark grey or black, that's all the colour is: a dark grey or black; if you do the digital equivalent of a wash or glaze you see nothing unexpected, merely a light grey. With paints, two different mixes such as these while they appear to be similar can be, and often are, very different 'inside' and if you use the paint thinly or mix it with white you get two unique sets of results*.

Now here's an even better example of why digital colour is in many ways nothing like colour interaction with paints. Yellow and Blue when combined in theory or digitally make black. There are no examples of paints of these same two hues that don't make a green when you mix them together. And small amounts of yellow in the blue, or blue in the yellow instantly make the mixture move toward green while digitally this just makes duller (greyer) versions of the Yellow and Blue.

As should be obvious then, all practical colour mixing using paints should be considered as separate from this kind of theory as there are many cases where there is zero correlation between the two - paints act idiosyncratically (something we touch on here in the forum frequently) while colour in the abstract and digital colour do not.

Einion

*I'd encourage anyone who has two reds of about the same hue - a cadmium and a naphthol, quinacridone or pyrrole - to try mixtures such as this with a single blue. It doesn't have to be PB29, with any of the darker blues like Prussian, Phthalo or Indanthrene you should see the basic mixtures as being quite close but their undercolours and tints could vary considerably.

Nonno
09-15-2009, 05:35 PM
First post in this forum (I normally hang out in the figure forum)

Picture me, a 40 something year old person who has always wanted to learn how to paint but never had any natural aptitude (whatever that may be) or the opportunity to attend any classes to learn what to do. I finally manage to get to a "learning to paint with acrylics" course. There is a materials list and I purchase exactly what's on the list. (Particular colours of a particular brand of paint) One evening we were doing colour mixing. I mixed the blue and the red, expecting to get some sort of purple. I didn't, I got brown. Tried several times with different proportions of the colours and got different browns. I had no idea why, and as it turned out neither did the tutor! Really strange as this exact course has been running for several years and this issue must come up every time.

I visited our library and found a copy of "Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green". This book explained it suitably well and I went and bought the correct colours and got my purples.

I guess that probably most books on the subject would have sorted out my problem, but it happened to be this one. It was perfect for me as a total beginner.

As it happened the tutor absolutely exploded when I told them next lesson. It appears that it is totally inappropriate for any artist to consult any technical book on any subject associated with art. That episode, along with several other issues with the tutor almost stopped me from continuing with any form of art at all.

However, I continued and from time to time make the artists in the figure forum cringe with my latest efforts from life drawing!

So, in summary, I am an artist today (admittedly not a good one) largely because of this book.


Jonathan.

wal_t
09-15-2009, 05:58 PM
Jonathan, nice story ...... indeed what the book is good for is that it gives some good practical guidance what reds and blues you need to mix a purple instead of a very dull purplish-brown and the same holds true for the other "secondary colors". For color scientists and people more advanced in color theory this book contains a lot of nonsense, but for people wanting to improve mixing skills (and predict in advance the results of the mixture to some good extend) it serves a good purpose. Basically it makes you aware of looking for a red that is tending to purple and a blue that is tending to purple and these 2 you have to use to mix a bright purple etc. Seems all very straightforward but as autodidact I also learned from this book and it improved my mixing skills dramatically.

Your tutor is off course a somewhat strange beast and needs a check-up :-)

regards, Walter

sidbledsoe
09-15-2009, 07:18 PM
Has your tutor ever heard of this great resource, WC!

Nonno
09-15-2009, 08:51 PM
Has your tutor ever heard of this great resource, WC!

I don't know. I stumbled across WC! some time after the course was over.

Immediately before that course I did a 4 week "Introduction to life drawing" course, which didn't teach me much, but provided LOTS of entertainment.
Week 2 the model didn't show up. (4 students were "volunteered" to model one pose each, myself included)
Week 3 there was a fire alarm and we had to evacuate the building for about an hour.
Week 4 the tutor didn't turn up but had organised a babysitter for us.

I eventually managed to find a weekend course on life drawing which was great. The tutor always picked on something in a drawing to compliment first and then pointed out something not so good then said "This is how you fix it...", and actually demonstrated what had to be done.

So three courses, one terrible, one irrelevent but fun, and one very good.

I guess the moral of the story is to check out the course and tutor and if you decide to go then be ready for anything!

Jonathan.

Einion
09-16-2009, 07:23 AM
Thanks for sharing that story Jonathan, great addition.

As it happened the tutor absolutely exploded when I told them next lesson. It appears that it is totally inappropriate for any artist to consult any technical book on any subject associated with art.
:lol:

I visited our library and found a copy of "Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green". This book explained it suitably well and I went and bought the correct colours and got my purples.
I think this is as good a summation as any - it helped. Isn't that's what we want from books of this sort?

Perhaps we can't expect any mixing book to be completely infallible. Besides, with the ready availability of free information online these days (some of it actually very good) there's a lot we can do to supplement the shortcomings of the many published guides.

Einion

WFMartin
09-16-2009, 11:43 AM
I once gave a cursory glance to the book, "Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green" at a bookstore, hoping that it could be a book that I might recommend to students interested in color behavior, but quickly realized that the author pretty well refuted his own title premise, after about the first page or two, as I recall, so I dismissed it as being disappointingly misleading.

Einion
09-16-2009, 01:35 PM
Personally I don't think the idea that green-blues and green-yellows mix to make brighter greens than violet-blues and orange-yellows is that misleading, but opinions vary.

Einion

sidbledsoe
09-16-2009, 02:06 PM
Right, when you read what he actually means in the title by blue and green, he is talking about theoretical pigments that do not exist in real life but the book is all about mixing real pigments :confused:

Patrick1
09-16-2009, 02:39 PM
The title means that when you mix blue and yellow paint, any resultant green is green that was already present in both the yellow and blue paint even before you mixed them - they didn't really 'make' any new green.

sidbledsoe
09-16-2009, 03:16 PM
Hi Patrick, I thought it meant when you mix a pure blue and yellow that have no other reflectance in them (theoretical not real) that the resulting "color" would make a black. Maybe it is both or I am not remembering correctly though, I read the book from a library and don't own it.

Patrick1
09-16-2009, 06:07 PM
Sid it could be that too :). The author has posted on this forum several years ago, so maybe someone can invite him back to clarify his choice of title.

wetbob
09-17-2009, 03:38 PM
If we can stick to the subject at hand from now on please - what's good about the book, what's not

"Despite the loads of color illustrations, the points are driven home by repetition that the historic color wheel is completely wrong and useless as a mixing tool"

I learned from the book that you ve to know your paint tubes. What colours are "in it" or reflects it like mars black, sap green......

So you can predict the mixing outcome. I was mixings browns and wondered why it became too greenish, figuring out that the yellows contained green, and that i had to use orange based yellows.

I thought the money was well spent. He really knows how to write a book and it took only a short time to read the entire book.

Patrick1
09-17-2009, 06:22 PM
I learned from the book that you ve to know your paint tubes. What colours are "in it" or reflects it like mars black, sap green......

So you can predict the mixing outcome.

Predict - no, estimate - yes. :p

wal_t
09-18-2009, 05:25 PM
Sid is right. The title of the book is chosen to proof a certain point in a logical way : "IF there would be a real-primary yellow pigment absorbing anything but yellow and IF there would be a real-primary blue pigment absorbing anything but blue THEN the result in a mixture of these particles should be BLACK and NOT GREEN ..... therefor the title ...... and then the book explains that there are no real primary-yellow and real primary-blue pigments in existence but these pigments are biased to a secondary color and in mizing these the Yellow and Green cancel each other out and the result is the "green" that both colors also contain etc."

It's a nice story, I know that the theory in the book is wrong and will not pass any scientific test (the munsell student book is better but also contains some errors)..... but still the practical guidelines in the Wilcox book I enjoyed to read and it helped me at least to improve mixing.

regards, Walter

sidbledsoe
09-18-2009, 10:42 PM
Sid is right.
It happens every now and then!:lol:

sashntash
09-25-2009, 10:01 AM
First post in this forum (I normally hang out in the figure forum)

Picture me, a 40 something year old person who has always wanted to learn how to paint but never had any natural aptitude (whatever that may be) or the opportunity to attend any classes to learn what to do. I finally manage to get to a "learning to paint with acrylics" course. There is a materials list and I purchase exactly what's on the list. (Particular colours of a particular brand of paint) One evening we were doing colour mixing. I mixed the blue and the red, expecting to get some sort of purple. I didn't, I got brown. Tried several times with different proportions of the colours and got different browns. I had no idea why, and as it turned out neither did the tutor! Really strange as this exact course has been running for several years and this issue must come up every time.

I visited our library and found a copy of "Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green". This book explained it suitably well and I went and bought the correct colours and got my purples.

I guess that probably most books on the subject would have sorted out my problem, but it happened to be this one. It was perfect for me as a total beginner.

As it happened the tutor absolutely exploded when I told them next lesson. It appears that it is totally inappropriate for any artist to consult any technical book on any subject associated with art. That episode, along with several other issues with the tutor almost stopped me from continuing with any form of art at all.

However, I continued and from time to time make the artists in the figure forum cringe with my latest efforts from life drawing!

So, in summary, I am an artist today (admittedly not a good one) largely because of this book.


Jonathan.



This was my experience also. Except I'm in my 60's and never had tried "art" of any kind... ever ... lol

As a total beginner, I found the book extremely helpful in giving me a "starting point" for learning to mix colors.

After a year and a half, I can now see the problems with the book, but for beginners it is very helpful.

I now know what "tendencies" certain pigments have and how to combine 2 colors to get the basic color I'm striving for.... and then how to tweak that even further...

And the book made me do more research on pigments out of curiousity, so I now know what a PB29 is or how a PR108 comes in various "shades" etc etc etc.

I gave the book away after the first read - because once I had gotten the basic idea in my head for mixing colors, the book had nothing further to offer.

But I found it to be invaluable when I was starting from zero knowledge of colors.....

gunzorro
09-25-2009, 06:57 PM
I posted today on another forum on the subject of Wilcox's book, so I may as well drop the photos here too. ;)

Here is comprehensive comparison, ranging in hue from Munsell 5B (OH Cobalt Turq) to 7.5PB (OH Blue Violet).

Obviously, blue and yellow make green. ;) Even Wilcox's box acknowledges as much in the mixing section associated with "Introducing further colours" on p. 155, as well as p. 129, and most especially on the earlier sections starting with "Creating a series of greyed greens" on p. 57.

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c80/gunzorro/IMG_6823web.jpg

Here are the actual paints used for the mixes.

http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c80/gunzorro/IMG_6827web.jpg

Despite the book being pretty much rubbish as far as overall color theory goes, the exhaustive color combinations and tinting demonstrations for specific pigments is sure to be a big help for many beginners and intermediate painters.

sidbledsoe
09-25-2009, 10:11 PM
Thanks Jim, you showed two comparisons here that I have been interested in recently, that is whether prussian is that much diff from pthalo in green mixes and same with cerulean and cobalt, at least for the brands you mixed and for the color green, not much diff in pruss/pthalo, maybe a little in cerulean/cobalt, mintier with bismuth.

llawrence
09-26-2009, 07:39 PM
Look at all those pretty greens! At some point, gunzorro, I'll have to search for and download all the various swatch images you've posted, what a library of helpful reference!

Regarding Wilcox's book, well it did help me in the early days as well. The biggest beef I have with it now is its insistence on beginning a comprehensive approach to color theory on the old primaries of red yellow and blue, instead of the actual subtractive primaries of cyan magenta and yellow. Wilcox tells us to use two of each primary: well, then, if we want to do it right, then it would have to be two cyans, two magentas and two yellows - at which point, the whole approach breaks down and even begins to look a little silly. Two cyans? Two magentas? Really? :rolleyes:

dbclemons
09-27-2009, 10:26 AM
...Obviously, blue and yellow make green. ;) Even Wilcox's box acknowledges as much...

Have you ever seen that Simpson's episode where Bart negates the "sound of one hand clapping?" Duh-oh!

The outcome of a mix of blue and yellow will logically depend on how blue or yellow the pigment you're using actually is, or as Walter said earlier: "IF there would be a real-primary yellow pigment absorbing anything but yellow and IF there would be a real-primary blue pigment absorbing anything but blue THEN the result in a mixture of these particles should be BLACK and NOT GREEN." Unfortunately for Mr. Wilcox that makes for a very long title that's hard to squeeze on a cover. Maybe including the word "necessarily" in there would have helped.

sidbledsoe
09-27-2009, 03:49 PM
Look at all those pretty greens! At some point, gunzorro, I'll have to search for and download all the various swatch images you've posted, what a library of helpful reference!
:
I have suggested a sticky for these more than once :smug: .

lenepveu
09-27-2009, 11:20 PM
Jim has just shown some basics of color mixing. Certain pigments of higher chroma mix, naturally, higher chroma mixtures. Furthermore, pigments closer in hue mix higher chromas.

Most greens in nature are relatively low in chroma, averaging chroma 4 indoors, and one can mix them from a variety of pigments including yellow ochre, viridian and black. For the highest chroma mixtures, one has to be careful and choose specific pigments such as phthalo green yellow shade and cadmium lemon. And at this point, brands can be critical. Winsor Newton, for example, has one of the highest chroma yellows. However, Pthalo blue plus yellow will not mix the highest chroma greens, yet it will likely be more than sufficient for most painting problems.

Einion
09-28-2009, 02:30 PM
wetbob, sashntash, thanks for you posts about how you found the book useful. Your comments pretty much echo how I feel about it and its usefulness as a good starting point for someone either new to mixing or with a limited grasp of what makes for varied outcomes.

Thanks a mil for the posted mixes Jim, great to see as always http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2003/3842-thumbsup.gif

Despite the book being pretty much rubbish as far as overall color theory goes, the exhaustive color combinations and tinting demonstrations for specific pigments is sure to be a big help for many beginners and intermediate painters.
Plus I think for some buyers it could be their first introduction to the idea of making this kind of mixing scale and comparing them to those made with similar colours, which is no bad thing. The ones in the book are well done too for the most part, which is to its credit; shame they're done with an even number of steps though.


...mintier with bismuth.
Occasional sources describe Bismuth Yellow as 'whiter' than other yellows and it should be easy to see them this way once you become aware of it. This specific type of lower-chroma reflectance that they have shows up in mixes, almost looking like a mix using a similar Cad Yellow with a small addition of white.


Wilcox tells us to use two of each primary: well, then, if we want to do it right, then it would have to be two cyans, two magentas and two yellows - at which point, the whole approach breaks down and even begins to look a little silly. Two cyans? Two magentas? Really? :rolleyes:
Well believe it or not there was someone a while back that tried to wiggle that idea in unnoticed :lol:


There's an unspoken assumption in BAYDMG that paints of a given colour mix the same but there's a lot more than colour or hue - depending on how one interprets colour bias - involved in the specifics of mixing outcome (see comments about Bismuth Yellow above). Something that would help the book be more thorough and complete would be to talk about how individual pigments are; any paint's basic colour is only a pointer to what you'll get, even two paints of the same colour can produce mixes of surprising variety at times. But this might involve abandoning the colour-bias idea entirely, to talk about masstone hue and undercolour, which need to be taken into account for a more-thorough understanding of expected mixing behaviour (not that both together are the entire story either, but it is more information that's important to a fuller understanding of paints, if one wants that).

Following on from this is something that Susan mentioned - about the variation for any given pigment, which the book doesn't cover. We've had to emphasise this here over the years again and again as it's such an important point but so rarely mentioned; largely unacknowledged in published books and many mixing guides too, often there's no mention of this at all which is a gross oversight and a major failing, something that needs to be publicised so that it becomes more widely recognised.

Although perhaps all these points wouldn't really be suited to this title, and its intended market, as it would require a book that is much longer and more involved and would really require it to be re-written from the ground up.

Einion

gunzorro
09-28-2009, 10:35 PM
Einion -- Your comment about the behavior of supposedly the same pigment from different sources, and undercolor and such, is what I've always found so great about WC and a few other forums that delve into the technical areas. Yes, too bad it isn't covered more often in texts, but at least the light is being shined on the pigment irregularities here. :)

sidbledsoe
10-02-2009, 09:56 AM
Sid it could be that too :). The author has posted on this forum several years ago, so maybe someone can invite him back to clarify his choice of title.
Patrick,
I found this thread with Mr. Wilcox's participation discussing the book (you are in there too). This title is brought up and the concept that the greens are already there and blue and yellow don't "make" them and he doesn't jump in and refute it so maybe you are more correct than me.
It doesn't really matter too much but I will tell you what, that title surely is a source of controversy!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=270630

KennD
10-05-2009, 07:05 PM
Hello Gunzorro, vastly fascinating (if incomprehensible to me) topic. I first heard of Munsell in 1951 when studying art for the first time in college. It took me a long, long time to understand what my teachers were trying their damndest to pound into my (commercial/illustrator) art head. But I fnally got it. Mixing paint is what I do when I'm painting. I hadn't thought of subtractive or additive colors for decades. I like to think most artists don't think about theories when they are working at their art/craft. Or maybe they do -- but I don't. Each painting (mine, anyway) has a color scheme that coats the emotion I'm attempting to convey. But I'm pleased that Munsell (and Ostwald, too) is/are still being scrutinized.

Einion
10-06-2009, 08:37 AM
Thanks for your comment Kenn but let's try to keep discussion on the topic of the book, as already requested. There have been numerous other threads where the Munsell colour model, its notation system and related pros and cons have been discussed.

Einion

MikeN
10-06-2009, 08:38 AM
I hadn't thought of subtractive or additive colors for decades. I like to think most artists don't think about theories when they are working at their art/craft. Or maybe they do -- but I don't.

Nor do I Kenn, at least to this extent; although, I appreciate the debate that is taking place and how the information is being refined subsequently. What always puts me on guard are the tones that imply "other's" systems are false, such as split-primary, or even antiquated beyond any effective use. These always strike me as either marketing or ego.