A World of Colorful Possibilities
By John Barber
Barron’s, $14.99, 192 pages
As a professional artist, an art student, or someone who works with paint just for fun, gaining a better understanding of how the color wheel works will increase your productivity and creative potential. In John Barber’s Color Mixing Manual: A Visual Reference to Mixing Acrylics, Oils, and Watercolors, artists gain access to an invaluable source that enables them to match any shade they want to reproduce in their work. Each of the three types of paints has their own separate groups of charts and begins with 25 of the most widely used colors, with charts showing gradations of colors and color combinations that produce 2,400 shades. However, this is a book for art teachers or persons already familiar with color mixing and techniques: the book’s only drawback is that its author provides little to no instruction about how to actually mix the colors in terms of measurement. A brief introduction does offer facts about how watercolor, acrylics and oils developed as mediums, and gives recommendations on purchasing materials such as brushes, canvases, paper and brushes. While it picks up at a somewhat advanced level, it is easy to imagine that this compact book will become a much-loved, well-worn fixture in any focused painter’s studio.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin