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Nov 20, 2013

High Tech Meets Low Tech 

I was at a figure drawing session last night and preoccupied with painting the model when I noticed someone on my right using her iPhone in an unusual way. She wasn't surreptitiously snapping photos to work from later, she had her earbuds in and was listening to her music, but she was also moving the iPhone over her eyebrows and then next to her right eye, as if she needed to shield herself from the light. But the studio wasn't that bright. (left: Christie – here is her website)

After my double-take I realized what Christie was up to. She was using the black reflective glass screen on her iPhone as a smoked mirror. She was checking the structure of her painting, ala Claude Lorraine. (c.1604 - 1682)

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.


I am always a fan of multi-purpose tool of any kind – as opposed to a single-use device such as a wristwatch – because I am a fast-and-light guy and multi-purpose tools lighten the load out in the field. But what Christie did took things to a new level.

For those who may not know, the Claude Glass, was used predominantly during the 17th century by outdoor painting enthusiast, but recently the tool has been coming back into vogue. The mirror part of the iPhone screen flips the image so you can see it with a fresh eye, and thus spot any structural problems in need of correction. And the smokey black glass consolidates the values you can see into simpler families of value. (left: portrait of an artist using a Claude Glass by Thomas Gainsborough)

Apparently I have been carrying a Claude Glass around in my pocket for over five years and didn't even know it. Christie said that she has a real one at home but forgot to bring it last night. So she used her phone instead. Duh. Brilliant.

Absolutely the best painter's Hack of the Year.


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If you would like to work on your plein air skills with me next May in Tuscany check out the upper left corner of this blog! There are five spots left, so don't wait! Spouses and partner welcome.

Cost is inclusive, from €1640 to € 2400. 
(Approximately $2,220 to $3,240 US; airfare not included.)

But don't wait to sign up, the early discount ends December 31st!







3 reader comments:

Sergio Lopez said...

oh wow that is a great idea! I'd get tired of explaining to the people around me what I am doing though...

Thomas Kitts said...

Seems worth it to me Sergio. Besides, we artists are supposed to be weird, yes? Hope you are doing well. I'm liking your backlit figures in your "Natural Pattern' series. Going to take them larger? For those who haven't seen them: http://www.themainloop.com/Archive/Natural_Patterns.htm

Celeste Bergin said...

hmmm interesting! thanks!