Margaret Livingstone has produced a book so very useful to visual artists that it may, in its density of ideas, seem definitive rather than evocative. But evocative it is. As we learn from studying it, Livingstone's book offers implications that may be developed by any artist who reads it in almost any direction. One might take as an example the very rich Chapter 8, with its notions of luminance as a balance for the salience, or pushiness of certain colors - how Leonardo handled it, how Ingres handled it, and how today's painter or digital image maker might go even further. The size and shape of the book allow for illustrations that work on the eye at the right scale. And there is an overall visual loudness to the book that is jarring and satisfying.
The author gets to the structure of our visual systems, makes them very clear, and tells us things that are lasting and verifiable. Her spirit of personal experimentation shows in the book, and makes us think that looking inquisitively at the world will pay off.