Steve Kidd Art

Claude glass / black mirror for the modern age πŸ”

In days of old artists would often use something called a Claude glass otherwise known as a black mirror.

The idea was to reflect the scene (it was more for landscapes than portraits) with the colour largely suppressed.

It’s a useful method to see the scene as purely values and not be distracted from the colour.Β  If a painting isn’t working well then it’s fairly often due to incorrect contrasts rather than incorrect colours.

You can do the same these days considerably easier with your phone’s camera. Make sure that any auto enhancing gizmos are switched off and then take the picture in monochrome or modify it afterwards by setting the colour/saturation to zero.

Still a little way to go on this one but it’s coming along…

2 thoughts on “Claude glass / black mirror for the modern age πŸ”

  1. Iasonas

    Hi Steve,

    Very good technique and quite easy to apply. As you say, it is very common for people to strugle with making a painting look right by adding more colours to it. In reality all you need is having the right tone relationships and instantly the forms start popping out.

    1. SteveKiddArt Post author

      Yes, in fact there’s many paintings that are deliberately β€˜wacky’ in colour terms that just work. I bet in monochrome they’d still look great.

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