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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

Book Scrounger's note: The following is a guest review by Doug, a.k.a. Professor Puzzler.

Color and Light was a Christmas gift Book Scrounger gave me this year. Now it's two days later, and I've already finished reading it, but I intend to keep it close at hand for a long time, because it is a fantastic reference work for artists, and it has plenty of beautiful paintings to study and learn from.

This book was written by James Gurney, the creator of Dinotopia. Dinotopia is a fantasy land in which humans co-exist with intelligent dinosaurs. It has been described as a fully-imagined world on par with Tolkien's Middle Earth. I've never read Dinotopia, but Gurney's artwork is beautiful. He describes himself as an "Imaginative Realist."

As someone who is interested in both art and science, I found this book fascinating and informative. Gurney doesn't just talk through how to draw a rainbow -- he explains why rainbows exist, and how they relate to the position of the sun and the antisolar point. What? You don't know what the antisolar point is? I guess you'd better read this book!

Seriously, maybe you're wondering why you need to know the science behind rainbows, or shadows, or reflections in the water. Aside from the fact that these things are interesting, they're also very valuable if you're painting something from your imagination. If you're going to paint a rainbow in an imagined scene, you must understand how rainbows work, or you won't be able to position the rainbow correctly relative to the horizon, the sun, and the cast shadows all around. And if you can't do that, you can't make a picture look realistic. People will always look at your artwork and think, "Something's not quite right..."

Aside from the informative text, this book is filled with beautiful artwork. It begins with some of the traditional "masters," but then moves on to Gurney's own work. He includes some plein-air paintings, as well as many of his imaginative paintings involving dinosaurs and other creatures. Most of the pictures are oil paintings or watercolor paintings, but there is very little in the book that is specific to any particular medium, so if you use acrylics, colored pencils, or other media, this book will still be valuable.

I just discovered that Gurney also wrote a book titled Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist. Ah, well...I guess I've got a birthday coming up in a few months...

Scrounged From: Amazon

Format: Paperback
Author: James Gurney
Illustrator: James Gurney
Pages: 224
Content Advisory: Realistic artwork involving dinosaurs and some "creepy" creatures.

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