This is a reissue of The Encyclopaedia of Colour for Watercolour Artists that first appeared in 2007. You have to hunt around a bit for that information, but we won’t dock any points as they’ve been honest. Although it has UK origins, there’s an American feel, the author is American and you can’t help suspect it was originally conceived for that market. There’s nothing wrong in that, but you might want to be aware that some of the colours are quite bright and the portraits, landscapes and buildings have a transatlantic air.
All that said, it went down well on its original appearance and the book has a pleasantly straightforward approach to a slightly nebulous subject that the author manages to pin down rather successfully.
The basic premise is to help you choose what colours are best for your style of painting from the hundreds (even thousands) available, selecting from single-pigments to pre-mixed hues as well as those which granulate, those which are most transparent and a selection of the opaques. All this is done by means of simple spreads with example paintings which are explained and deconstructed with an analysis of the colours that were used. The progression is subject-based, so this isn’t one of those books that straitjackets you into choosing your colours before you start to paint, surely one of the most pointless exercises there is.
The almost complete lack of step-by-step demonstrations will please many readers and the book has a pleasant feel of serendipity about it as you flick through the pages. It’s something to have around you and dip into for ideas rather than something to read through as an instruction manual, and all the better for that.