Top critical review
November 12, 2002
Michael Wilcox sets up a sham argument, oversimplifying and misrepresenting the primary color system in order to demonstrate its failings. As a couple of other reviewers have pointed out, anyone who has been painting for any time at all can tell you that you cannot mix all colors using only a single yellow, red, and blue. And those same people can also tell you that you don't need to buy a tube of every color made. Plenty of other far more useful books will tell you the same without subjecting you to a lengthy and dubious argument.
I am not questioning the science that Wilcox presents, but the way that light behaves when it passes through a prism has little relationship to how tubes of paint react when combined. The only sure way to know and understand paint pigments is to experiment and make your own color charts. Can a book help you with that? Absolutely, and this one can too if 1) you already have some knowledge and experience, 2) you realize that the author has presented a sham argument, and 3) you are skeptical enough to question everything he says.
While not all of the following authors have written books specifically about color, they each contribute far more to the painter's understanding of color (and paint!) than the Wilcox book: Stephen Quiller, Steve Allrich, Johannes Itten, Faber Birren, Helen Van Wyk, and Bill Creevy.