The View in the Black Mirror

I’d heard from Mike Adams that old masters used a black mirror to check out the value balance of their work, but although I’ve painted with a mirror behind me for years to help check on composition and cut down on walking back and forth I’d not seen a black mirror in practice, so I found a piece of glass and asked Stacy to paint it black so we could see how effective it was. It’s simple to use; just look at your work in the mirror.

I thought it was really great for making obvious any overly bright or dark areas that were not immediately noticable to regular eyesight and I think I’ll use it again in future just to check on the paintings as I make them.

It’s hard to take a photo that shows the effect that the black mirror has on seeing the work, but here’s a slightly altered iPhone picture (I adjusted the contrast and exposure in Bridge) that gives at least some idea of it, clearly showing Joe’s over-bright ear on the left side, which needs fixing. Handy, huh?

 

About pearce

Michael Pearce is an artist, writer, and professor of art. He is the author of "Art in the Age of Emergence."
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