Recently I ran into a problem of how to treat the eyes in an illustration I was working on. I was following my reference, but every time I painted them in they stuck out like Mickey Mouse eyes. (No offense Mickey.)
But in my reference the eyes were bright. And don't they call them the whites of the eyes? Are they not white!? IS THERE NOTHING IN THIS WORLD I CAN TRUST?
Before I lept from my chair to go and light the curtains on fire and rip the couch cushions in half I thought, waitaminute, painters throughout history have likely already wrestled with this conundrum. Why should I suffer a mental breakdown figuring this out when they've already done the work! I can relax again. There is objective truth out there, even if sometimes it comes in a thousand muddy shades of gray.
And so I assembled the above collection from some of the artists whose work has been a great inspiration to me. The results have been very helpful for me. My curtains and couch remain unmolested. Sometimes whites aren't always white.
I hope you enjoy.