Color Theory Made Easy: A New Approach to Color Theory and how to Apply it to Mixing Paints

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Watson-Guptill Publications, 1996 - Art - 112 pages
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Traditional color theory can be confusing to artists, especially when they try to use inaccurate color wheels as guides to mixing their colors. Now,Color Theory Made Easypresents an alternative approach that cuts through the tangle of established but contradictory concepts that gives artists a universal theory that really applies to their work. Most artists have been taught that red, blue, and yellow are the primary colors—hues that cannot be created from any combination of other colors. However, as a result of years of study, author and artist Jim Ames has concluded that the true primary colors are cyan (a greenish blue), magenta (a violet red), and a yellow that does not learn toward either cyan or magenta.



InColor Theory Made Easy, Ames explains the importance of these three colors as the basis for all our thinking about color. Using friendly, clear language and colorful diagrams, the author lays the foundation in Chapter 1 for applying his color theory in art. He shows that all colors in nature are composed of varying percentages of cyan, magenta, and yellow. Chapter 2 builds on this with a survey of the pigment colors artists actually use. Here the author offers an essential education concerning paint selection, and he lists currently available tube colors that are the most accurate in terms of the true primaries. The final chapter explores color mixing principles based on cyan, magenta, and yellow, and applies these principles through a series of watercolor demonstrations.



In this illuminating book, Jim Ames has broken new ground and given us a workable color theory that is both simple and indispensable.

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I don't know why 1996 is show as the print or originating date, Opera wasn't a pigment back then. But my color theory of the Real Color Wheel was. I found a lot of my information in Jim Ames book. That's Ok, I gave it freely only saying someone couldn't make money from it without my permission. I'm still not upset. Most of his writings are true although he misses on Newton finding cyan in his spectrum. His uses Opera as magenta even though it's fugitive. Opera is PR122 with a little BV10 in it. Subtract the BV:10 and you would have what I call today's perfect magenta, he calls a similar color Mauve-Violet. His magenta is Permanent Rose, a color that is warmer then magenta. His yellow is the correct hue, Lemon Yellow, but it's not transparent. The same hue can be achieved by tinting transparent Indian yellow. His primary triad will not make a good dark because of the opaque yellow and yellow in the magenta PV:19. Besides all that, I am happy to see this book printed, it helps in doing away with the red-yellow-blue color theory. 

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About the author (1996)

Jim Amesis a graphic designer, illustrator, and watercolorist. A member of the American Watercolor Society, he teaches watercolor at the Flint Institute of Arts. He lives in Flint, Michigan.

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