Painting is one of my most enjoyable hobbies – and it is just a hobby – and except for my high school years, I have not had any formal training (which probably shows). Because of this, I often enjoy art books that provide some training and lessons. A Field Guide to Color by Lisa Solomon is a beginner’s guide to color in painting.
But note that I write it’s a “beginner’s” guide … this is not mentioned in the title or the descriptions I’ve read.
Solomon does a really great job of reminding us of the essentials of color (in paint) and goes on to explain how the combining of colors creates different colors. This is some pretty basic information, though I recognize that some who come to this book may be doing so as relative new-comers to painting. And if you already know your colors, it’s a handy refresher.
What I appreciated the most was the topic of tints and shades and the chapter on saturation. These are both topics that I haven’t seen covered enough in art help books. Knowing what tints and shades are and knowing how to apply them in the course of mixing paints are two very different things and I definitely learned something here. So, too, with the topic of saturation.
The book features a lot of practice opportunities. A lot. Solomon explains the different exercises and what each one is meant to accomplish, and the book features blank pages for the reader to try the exercises themselves without delay (though book paper is not nearly as conducive for these sorts of practices as good art paper).
But as I got further along in the book I was finding the exercises to be a bit repetitive. While they were meant to bring me to a different understanding of the way in which the blending of paints (and water) worked, I started skipping the exercises because it just felt as though it was keeping me from wanting to experiment by actually painting.
Looking for a good book? The information in A Field Guide to Color by Lisa Solomon is nice quality, but it’s tad thin and the bulk of the book is taken up with exercises that feel a little repetitive by the end.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
A Field Guide to Color: Watercolor Explorations in Hues, Tints, Shades, and Everything in Between
author: Lisa Solomon
publisher: Roost Books
paperback, 145 pages