Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter (James Gurney Art) Info

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From New York Times best-selling author of the
Dinotopia series, James Gurney, comes a carefully crafted and
researched study on color and light in paintings. This art instruction
book is the follow up to the acclaimed Imaginative Realism: How to
Paint What Doesn't Exist
.


James Gurney, New York
Times
best-selling author and artist of the Dinotopia series,
follows Imaginative Realism with his second art-instruction book,
Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter. A researched
study on two of art's most fundamental themes, Color and Light
bridges the gap between abstract theory and practical knowledge.
Beginning with a survey of underappreciated masters who perfected the
use of color and light, the book examines how light reveals form, the
properties of color and pigments, and the wide variety of atmospheric
effects. Gurney cuts though the confusing and contradictory dogma about
color, testing it in the light of science and observation. A glossary,
pigment index, and bibliography complete what will ultimately become an
indispensible tool for any artist.

This book is the second in a
series based on his blog, gurneyjourney.com. His first in the series,
Imaginative Realism, was widely acclaimed in the fantastical art
world, and was ranked the #1 Bestseller on the Amazon list for art
instruction.

"James Gurney's new book, Color and Light,
cleverly bridges the gap between artistic observation and scientific
explanation. Not only does he eloquently describe all the effects of
color and light an artist might encounter, but he thrills us with his
striking paintings in the process." --Armand Cabrera, Artist

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter (James Gurney Art):

5

Aug 03, 2011

Summary review: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Let me be very clear on this point. This book comes very highly recommended by me. James Gurney's coverage of the topic of colour and light is comprehensive. Plus it is accessible art instruction of a very high order. I've not come across any other book about colour by a practising artist and illustrator which covers this topic in such breadth and depth and makes it accessible as well.
* I've got ones which are more technical - but they're much less Summary review: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Let me be very clear on this point. This book comes very highly recommended by me. James Gurney's coverage of the topic of colour and light is comprehensive. Plus it is accessible art instruction of a very high order. I've not come across any other book about colour by a practising artist and illustrator which covers this topic in such breadth and depth and makes it accessible as well.
* I've got ones which are more technical - but they're much less accessible.
* I've got ones which are as accessible - but they don't cover as much as he does
* It does not attempt to dumb down or omit important aspects of the way in which colour and light function and interact.
* It articulates very clearly how you can make choices about how to use different features of colour and light in a painting.
* it makes excellent use of images and graphics

This is a book for students and improvers and all those who want to know more about colour and how light and colour interact - in life and in a painting.

I am so confident about the impact of this book that I am happy to predict that if you buy and study this book your paintings will improve!

(Note: You can find my detailed review of this book on my reviews blog Book Review: Color and Light by James Gurney. I was sent a copy of this book to review in advance of publication.) ...more
5

Dec 24, 2010


(More pictures at parkablogs.com)

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
(More pictures at parkablogs.com)

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. ...more
5

May 25, 2014

I’m usually not a fan of instructional art books. All to often, they devolve into breaking things down into a series of steps, or simply showing a the different stages of one image. While this breakdown might be helpful in creating that one painting or drawing, it rarely helps you develop the skills needed to apply to original work.

Thankfully, Color and Light is not that sort of book. Instead it is a wonderfully useful guide to how color and light works and how to incorporate them into your I’m usually not a fan of instructional art books. All to often, they devolve into breaking things down into a series of steps, or simply showing a the different stages of one image. While this breakdown might be helpful in creating that one painting or drawing, it rarely helps you develop the skills needed to apply to original work.

Thankfully, Color and Light is not that sort of book. Instead it is a wonderfully useful guide to how color and light works and how to incorporate them into your artwork.

That’s another benefit of the book – since it focuses on color and light and not on a specific medium, it is applicable for all sorts of media and field. While it’s geared towards artists, either traditional or digital, who create their artwork from the ground up, the information on color schemes could also be useful to a photographer.

This book is full to the brim of all sorts of useful information, from different types of lighting, to ways to think of the color wheel, to how you create different surface effects. Each topic is covered in a two page spread, which, while simple, effectively conveys what you need to now.

Which brings me to another topic. I can’t believe that I’m already five paragraphs into this review and haven’t mentioned how wonderful James Gurney’s art is. If you know anything about James Gurney, you’ll know that he’s the creator of Dinotopia, and luckily for us, he uses his own highly imaginative and beautiful paintings to help illustrate the principals in his book.

If you are at all interested in art, this is a book that you should at least flip through. Even if you don’t create your own artwork, you may very well want to marvel at the beauty inside this book. ...more
4

Aug 15, 2017

This is another book every art person should own. However, it is a little "hand-wavy" as most art books unfortunately are. James Gurney at least stays away from weird mythical art mumbo-jumbo, as he actually has a formal scientific background (archeologist). He has a very active, informative blog on which you can see his rather rigorous methods. This book is more like a discovery channel documentary than a serious textbook. Nonetheless, Gurney's attention to detail shines through and he at least This is another book every art person should own. However, it is a little "hand-wavy" as most art books unfortunately are. James Gurney at least stays away from weird mythical art mumbo-jumbo, as he actually has a formal scientific background (archeologist). He has a very active, informative blog on which you can see his rather rigorous methods. This book is more like a discovery channel documentary than a serious textbook. Nonetheless, Gurney's attention to detail shines through and he at least alerts you to the existence of very subtle phenomena like that the difference in atmospheric density at high altitude IS artistically relevant. I treat this book as my little library of such isolated tidbits. ...more
3

Aug 28, 2017

Good introduction to colour and light.

Interesting perspectives into the thought processes on how to look at a scene and deconstruct it, explain it and then paint it.

James Gurney also has a nice youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/gurneyjourney.
5

Dec 02, 2019

Great book with lots of examples and applications. Theories are carefully explained and applied. Kudos to James Gurney for making this available to us!
4

Nov 09, 2013

Overall I found the book quite interesting, his works and illustrations are also often impressive and there are a lot of interesting fun facts in it... however these latter two points are also the places where I think the book could have been better. I was expecting based on the promotion for the book to be more of an educational book, with more teaching, instead a good portion of it seemed to be oriented towards showcasing the author's works and trivia. I would have appreciated it even more if Overall I found the book quite interesting, his works and illustrations are also often impressive and there are a lot of interesting fun facts in it... however these latter two points are also the places where I think the book could have been better. I was expecting based on the promotion for the book to be more of an educational book, with more teaching, instead a good portion of it seemed to be oriented towards showcasing the author's works and trivia. I would have appreciated it even more if the great works would have been dissected more and more of the descriptions would have been about the how to do it and less about the stories behind his particular works, the stories about the actual content, not about how he made it/problems he hit & how he solved them. That being said there is a LOT of interesting and fascinating content in there that got me thinking about a lot of stuff, and his skills and works are a great role model and inspiration for harder work. Very interesting book! ...more
5

Dec 16, 2010

A companion volume to Gurney's excellent "Imaginative Realism," "Color and Light" provides intelligent, practical advice on what the author describes as "the painter's two most fundamental tools." Gurney discusses elements of color, color mixing, surfaces and effects, light and form, atmospheric perspective, and much more in clear, understandable terms. The book is lavishly illustrated with examples and includes a brief but comprehensive history of the title subjects from the Renaissance to the A companion volume to Gurney's excellent "Imaginative Realism," "Color and Light" provides intelligent, practical advice on what the author describes as "the painter's two most fundamental tools." Gurney discusses elements of color, color mixing, surfaces and effects, light and form, atmospheric perspective, and much more in clear, understandable terms. The book is lavishly illustrated with examples and includes a brief but comprehensive history of the title subjects from the Renaissance to the present. "Color and light" is an invaluable resource for anyone who paints—professional or amateur. Highly recommended. ...more
4

May 07, 2017

This is definitely a good book, specially for people who use watercolor. It explains how light and color work on several different scenarios in a very thorough and detailed fashion, always with several examples. It also contains a ton of references and indications of other books on the subject. The book is heavy on technical content, but it is still a pleasant and informative reading. Definitely recommend it!
5

Aug 04, 2012

For years I didn't read this book thinking it was about dinosaurs etc. This guy knows his stuff. This is serious information packaged in an imaginative cover, probably one of the most serious art instruction books out there & probably not for a beginner either, unless you are serious about learning.
5

Jul 25, 2012

James Gurney is the best. This book is a practical and unadorned guide to color and light, and from my limited experience the first book I'd recommend someone interested in the subject. The book is filled with useful information and contains no unnecessary fluff. Each section is paired with useful examples that clearly shows the principle he is discussing. I'll be returning to it for years.
5

Nov 14, 2019

An excellent book for those interested in building upon their fundamentals.

The book is filled with examples and artwork to help explain the ideas Gurney expresses. None of those long paragraphs with flowery language without a single image business. The book has examples-and tons of it. Also tons of James Gurneys wonderful artwork which looks really great on print. Even if you arent interested in the explanations the artwork is worth it.

Secondly, this book is not a step-by-step guide. There are An excellent book for those interested in building upon their fundamentals.

The book is filled with examples and artwork to help explain the ideas Gurney expresses. None of those long paragraphs with flowery language without a single image business. The book has examples-and tons of it. Also tons of James Gurneys wonderful artwork which looks really great on print. Even if you arent interested in the explanations the artwork is worth it.

Secondly, this book is not a step-by-step guide. There are no tutorials, besides the occasional tip or Try This at Home! Instead, the book explains the world's light and colour, and how those colours come to be to build your understanding. You can understand that the top of the sky tends to be more saturated and darker than the bottom where its lighter-but it really helps to understand why. This allows you create your own unique takes on the natural world-while still being believable.

Gurney even goes through his process for palettes which is extremely helpful because palettes always gave me a hard time when starting full illustrations.

Finally the writing is mostly clear and concise. The explanations aren't rushed, and there isnt too much information to overload the reader. You can probably pick up this book with little experience in painting, or understanding of colour since it's explained pretty well.

I wouldn't recommend it if you don't know how to paint though-traditionally or digitally. in order to make the most out of this you need to do your own paintings to solidify your understanding, and if you struggle with painting then you will spend more time trying to learn how to paint than actually putting your light and colour knowledge to use. Take it slow.
Art is something that takes time, and rushing it might develop bad habits that might hinder your progress in the future. Whatever floats your boat though!

Anyway, good book. Recommend! :> ...more
5

Feb 14, 2019

I read through this book twice and I will read it again, dragging it along on painting excursions to apply the examples in the book.
The book, physically, is extremely well made of quality paper and is quite heavy. The reproductions are excellent.
This is one of several books that I would recommend as required reading for any artist. This one should be a required text in Senior yr art and also in college painting classes. (Also, Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting). The earlier the better. I read through this book twice and I will read it again, dragging it along on painting excursions to apply the examples in the book.
The book, physically, is extremely well made of quality paper and is quite heavy. The reproductions are excellent.
This is one of several books that I would recommend as required reading for any artist. This one should be a required text in Senior yr art and also in college painting classes. (Also, Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting). The earlier the better. However, even an experienced artist gains much information from reading this book, especially one looking to pursue a career in illustration. I have painted plein air for many years and the examples in this book give some fun things to try. Gurney explores the science behind what we see when painting plein air. The book was a genius idea to write because it helps explain what we see and paint intuitively and knowing the science behind what we see, makes for a better painting. This took a lot of work and research and it is worth it!! Thank you James Gurney!
...more
4

Aug 21, 2018

Right. I'm looking again at this lovely, lovely book. It will certainly make a handy reference guide later on, but its real power is its scientific approach to painting. It doesn't go far enough, but that would make it less approachable. It is good to hear from a professional that realism is not the slavish copying of nature to the point of imitating photography. Such an approach is visible around the internet and is discouraging for those who don't have the patience for it. One of my criticisms Right. I'm looking again at this lovely, lovely book. It will certainly make a handy reference guide later on, but its real power is its scientific approach to painting. It doesn't go far enough, but that would make it less approachable. It is good to hear from a professional that realism is not the slavish copying of nature to the point of imitating photography. Such an approach is visible around the internet and is discouraging for those who don't have the patience for it. One of my criticisms about the presentation of this book is that it is fairly over-sized, but still a soft-cover, so it is easy to damage. Also, I had hoped it would contain more exercises for training novices in the use of colour and various paints, but I can see that that beginning painters are not necessarily its target audience. Overall, I loved the book, especially all the illustrations from the Dinotopia books, and I do recommend it to beginners and everybody else. By the way, the author also has an excellent and well-updated Youtube channel that takes this book further. ...more
5

Mar 22, 2019

This is the books I have been looking for. Even though it says 'for the Realist Painter' this is an excellent book for anyone who wants to understand how light and colour work for their artwork; good for the folk artist, mixed media artist and others.

Each section is two facing pages, so even if you only have a couple of minutes, you can still read an entire section. I loved this. The book is very well formatted. Because it is so tightly written, each sentence imparts valuable information. This is the books I have been looking for. Even though it says 'for the Realist Painter' this is an excellent book for anyone who wants to understand how light and colour work for their artwork; good for the folk artist, mixed media artist and others.

Each section is two facing pages, so even if you only have a couple of minutes, you can still read an entire section. I loved this. The book is very well formatted. Because it is so tightly written, each sentence imparts valuable information. Things like: Three Rules of Cloud Shadows, Color Response in Moonlight, Shadowbeams, and many many more - the book is literally packed with everything you want to know about light and color with Gurney's impeccable painting to illustrate his points.

Sooooo highly recommended. ...more
5

Jan 08, 2019

I don't paint. With this book, which is rich with color and light and disarmingly fun to look at, I can now look at a painting with so much more color and light. I can "see it" with a broader range of light and color composition now, that is, with much deeper appreciation and enjoyment that I couldn't have fathomed before. The beginning of this book also traces some modern techniques through of their historical developments--how color and light techniques came to be at the state they are at I don't paint. With this book, which is rich with color and light and disarmingly fun to look at, I can now look at a painting with so much more color and light. I can "see it" with a broader range of light and color composition now, that is, with much deeper appreciation and enjoyment that I couldn't have fathomed before. The beginning of this book also traces some modern techniques through of their historical developments--how color and light techniques came to be at the state they are at today. ...more
3

Jan 05, 2018

I am more of a sketcher, so perhaps not the most practical art book to me but it is a great insight on how a professional fantasy, science fiction, and palaeological illustrator goes to work.
Delving deeper into colour theory and the theoretical side of painting, it is perhaps a duller read than James Gurney's Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist, which I would advise to buy first. Unless of course, you are specifically looking for colour theory.
4

Feb 27, 2019

Color and Light by James Gurney is an absolutely necessary compendium for artists and people that want to understand how the illusion of reality is conveyed in a painting. Every now and then you might need to go back and refresh the memory on the basics and this is the perfect book for that on this particular subject.

It's a nice reference book that you'd like to keep at hand at any time if you're an artist or a dilettante.
4

Sep 09, 2019

I need moaaarr of thissss. The words are easy to understand, the explanations are brief, like only the necessary points, along with tips and there's always pictures to pointed out the means. Most of it are about how color and light happened the way it happened in the nature and how to apply it in the painting. While I don't do (oil) painting, but I really enjoy the scientific explanations and the tips, and now I wish for updated/ extended version. Or maybe just a new book new topic altogether.
5

Jul 01, 2018

You simply can't give this book enough stars, even if it were showered by every light in the heavens. This is the top book in it's field for artists in every media. This is the gold standard. There simply is no more authoritative voice than Gurney's. He is related to Dan Gurney the great race car driver and that makes him one of the greatest living artist of our time. Racing and painting: it doesn't get any better than that at any end of the gene pool.
5

Jul 02, 2019

Amazingly detailed and scientific view of art. I feel as though I should read through it about 12 more times in order to absorb the information.
But don’t be intimidated, it’s also a very easy to read book with lots of great informational nuggets that can be pulled out and used individually.
And so many lovely paintings!
5

May 23, 2018

Packed with so much information. I am amazed at how the author has at least one of his works available to illustrate each and every effect and technique that is mentioned. He also gives great insight into the physical and pratical reasons behind why things look as they do. Great for studying light and color for any painter.
5

Dec 01, 2018

Absolutely amazing and thorough. This book really shows the importance of knowledge in painting and explains the topics well. I don't think I could recommend this more for someone who wants to better understand their subject matter and how they're seeing it. It makes translating light to canvas that much easier.
5

Sep 21, 2018

The concepts of color and light--and how light affects color (think of the blue/gold dress controversy) is technical and complicated. But Gurney is a good writer and explains all the concepts really well. This is a great guide for any painter of representational work. Can't wait to make up my own exercises to better understand the concepts.
5

May 31, 2019

By far THE BEST art book I have read. It helped infinitely with my understanding of color and light. Honestly I learned more from this book than I have in any art course. I would definitely recommend.

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