This post is the result of an earlier post where I admitted to liking reflections. Not much of an admission.
I’m presently working on a still life of a silver coffee pot. Reflections are a big part of the image. A silver coffee pot reflects very much like a mirror although the reflections are a little grey in tone and of course wonky due to the shape of the pot. Most reflections that I add to a painting are not mirror-like, they are usually just a little bit of colour. If a red object is close to another it projects red light onto the other object. The other object doesn’t have to be reflective in any way. It’s just like using a coloured light. The colour that I see is not the colour of the object, it is the colour of the light. If the subject of a portrait has a white shirt collar it acts like a white light source illuminating the jaw and chin of the subject.
I see these little reflections all the time and I believe it’s a trained observation. As a photographer I had to be conscious of odd reflections and multiple light sources. That helps a great deal in painting, and it helps when I’m trying to visualise a change I want to make with my subject. These little reflections are so prevalent that we must have evolved to be very attuned to them, so if an image doesn’t have them we notice it.