If you have been reading my blog long enough, you may find that I obsess a little over art supplies and gear. A few months back a fellow artist mentioned that a great tool for judging values was a Kodak Wratten 90 filter. So for a few months I was on a mission to find one that was A) big enough to comfortably look through (ideally 4x4) and B) low enough in price so as not to break the bank. After searching online and watching the bidding wars on eBay, I found the combination of the two criteria impossible to meet. Then one day it dawned on me that I used to have a little red value viewer tool that I'd picked up in a sewing store. I don't know what happened to it, but I thought I'd poke around on Amazon to see if I could fine something similar. Lo and behold, I stumbled upon this little number:
Like the Wratten filter, this value finder helps neutralize color so that you can more accurately discern the values in your reference. Not only that but it has 3 view finders of different aspect ratios that will work with a range of canvas sizes. It also has optional guidelines that you can overlay to check composition, AND a couple of value scales to check your paint mixtures.
The drawback is that the filters are red rather than the nice grayish neutral of the Wratten filters. This may not appeal to everyone. But with a $14.95 price tag it is a good option and specifically geared toward the painter. I have been using it with studio work and it does a good job at neutralizing color so that I can judge values with more accuracy. I haven't used it outdoors yet but I think there it would be even more useful when making on the spot judgements, and I look forward to taking it along with me (hopefully this week) now that the weather is warming.