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What is the Best Lighting For My Studio?

Jan 29, 2020

One of our Acrylic University members asked, "What kind of light bulb do you use in your studio? I've noticed that the lighting in my paint area is not correct and I have been reading about lumens and light appearance. Do you take these into consideration?"

If the light on my canvas is too bright, the colors, and the values that I'm looking at will be off. If it's too dull, I can't see what I'm doing. So getting the correct lighting is really important. At my public studio, I have some really bright lights. They are actually gallery lights that are meant to show off the painting when it's finished. But they're not the best lights to paint under because they're so bright.

If a painting is NOT under those lights, it looks quite a bit different than it does when it IS under those lights. So natural light is really good. What is always recommended (at least in the northern hemisphere where I live), is north-facing lights or north-facing windows because that light is going to be out of direct sunlight. It'll be reflected light, but it still can be quite lit up. And you don't have to worry about direct light influencing things. So having a correct lighting situation is super valuable when you're painting. 

I've painted several times in situations that are poorly lit and it's really difficult. Or if it's overly lit, it's equally as bad because it didn't allow me to see what I was working on and adjust the values and the colors accordingly.

There is a scale called the Kelvin scale which measures the warmth or coolness of light. It is recommended that studio lighting should be within 4500 to 5200K in order to create well-balanced lighting for painting. If you want to read more about the Kelvin scale check out the link below:

Jed Dorsey