Art without colors is inconceivable. Our brain translates even the shading in monochrome drawings into colors. Colors express moods , convey harmony or show extreme contrasts . Depending on personal preferences or cultural influences, their interplay has a calming, warning, interesting, aggressive or boring effect. 

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Color theory with a difference

Peter Boerboom and Tim Proetel dedicate themselves to  this complex topic in their book “Color – Perceiving and experimenting material and effects” , published by Haupt-Verlag  . They explain the basic concepts of color theory, outline the most important aspects of the effect of color and go into their artistic application possibilities.

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Color knowledge in the picture

Fortunately, anyone who expects a scientific-theoretical treatise on primary, secondary, complementary colors, etc. is wrong. Instead of approaching the topic with explanatory texts and many small sample illustrations in a didactic way, the two authors have placed the focus on the picture . In full-page pictures, paint spreads with a wide variety of color materials are shown, technical examples, color gradients, contrasts and much more. Very brief texts explain what it is about and how it was created. 

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Suggestions, ideas, experiments

The book is divided into the most important areas of color theory – including “Color signals”, “Cold and warm”, “Space through color” – but here too the introductory text is limited to half a page. The focus is clearly on the suggestion, the idea . A wide variety of color materials are used in the paint spreads and sample images – even if they are usually not specified in detail: watercolor and acrylic paints, Indian ink, water-soluble colored pencils, pastels, gouache.

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Playing with color

With all the meaningful and clear demonstration, it succeeds in making Peter Boerboom and Tim Proetel’s use of color appear very playful . In many cases it almost seems as if they have tried completely impartially what e.g. B. happens when orange meets blue. Or what different effects it has if you just scatter color pigments or rub them in with your finger. Points versus area.
The result is an unusual non-fiction book – a surprising fund of color knowledge and ideas for artistic application.
The book itself is already putting color theory into practice. The reader, or rather the observer, gets itchy fingers because you really want to use paint, brush or pencil and try everything out yourself.

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Color picture book

I don’t even know how often I’ve flipped through this handy book. And again and again I was amazed at the surprising color effects and their striking effect caused by the full-page images. “Color: Material and Effect” is a non-fiction book on the subject of color that is condensed to the essentials . For me it is even more: a wealth of ideas and a fascinating color picture book !

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