Black had a special meaning for the artist following a brief illness in 1946 during which he was temporarily blind. He described this traumatic visual experience as 'whiteness'. In contrast black came to signify life and 'the depth of life'. Davie's usual practice at this time was to produce each painting swiftly and violently through a 'flash of inspiration'. If he was subsequently unhappy with the result he would begin again, obliterating the image with a completely new painting. Davie resisted the notion of pure abstraction and his title emphasises this. According to Davie 'here is a picture which you would call abstract but is a mirror in itself'.