Got a light?


What do you use for studio/work light, when daylight isn’t enough?

It’s not that it matters greatly, if I put my mind in “flexible” I can knit, spin, read, doodle, play work play on the computer and one day, when perhaps the outside gets more comfortable, work in the garden or ride horses. But still, I find myself some days wishing I could paint when I had planned to do so.

I’m really finicky with lighting temperatures. Not too cold and blue and definitely not your typical cosy yellow everyday lamps. It’s especially bad now with the new energy saving bulbs, which are of course a good thing, just not for colourwork.

Over the window of my office I have a “biolux” fluorescent tube which emulates daylight, I use it in winter to make days longer and brighter, and it’s not directly made for artwork, but it’s not bad. 36W/6500 K (I think it’s this one). The thing is, my office is not big enough for painting, especially since my cats are determined to share the table. Also when it rains, best place to shake your muddy paws, drop by for a bit of love and perhaps a dry lap for transferring moisture before they head back out. And any obstacles are to be climbed on, basically.  Right behind me on the floor 1 large dog for tripping over (used to be 2). I have no door…. See where that’s going?

So, obviously a 120 cm tube like that with a standard, open fixture isn’t very pretty in the middle of a living room ceiling, although it might help a bit. So, do I care? Does anyone have better suggestions? Or do you just work in the dark/good weather?

13 thoughts on “Got a light?

  1. I understand you have a preference but Picasso worked in a basement with an oil lamp to paint many of his most groundbreaking paintings such a Les demoiselles D’Avignon! The whole notion of colour temperture for lighting, imo, is a ‘modern problem’, which artists in the past didn’t have because there were no choices. I don’t honestly think it really matters what temperature light is for painting, so long as it’s consistent – that ensures colours are consistent. And we can learn to see colours under any temperature of lighting, so long again, as we use the same light fairly consistently. I’ve got a mix in my studio – one ordinary but high watt energy saver at the far end of the room, an energy saving daylight bulb above my workspace (very expensive, but has lasted a few years now) and a ‘white’ energy saver in my desk lamp! But the thing is I use this light combination most of the time, even in summer, as my windows face north east and east so the light is constantly changing as the sun moves – I keep the curtains closed most of the time!

    I also know a professional artist who lives and works in a caravan and paints in the evening by the light of a standard lamp with shade and an ordinary bulb. Her work is here

    1. Maybe I have an eye problem then, because I really cannot judge colours in yellow light or semi-dark. It looks completely different to me come morning!

      1. I think so – I think it’s consistent light that’s the key. if you look at things in different lights, they will be different – that’s why people who paint en plein aire prefer certain times of day, or paint quickly – because the changing light makes eveyrthing look different.

        1. So since I do prefer daylight, I guess I’m looking for something to emulate that when there’s not enough. Or I should just stop whining and do something else 😉

          And P.S. There’s a lot of things Picasso could do that I can’t – so… LOL

  2. My setup is in the living room, on the south wall with a window on each side, as well as 2 large west windows. They all have wooden blinds which are up in winter and down in summer. Right now it’s not going to be a problem with light except perhaps on very, very dark rainy days (on which I originally drafted this post), so it’s mostly in winter with so few daylight hours that I have to paint after dark or days so dark I can’t even read or knit in the room without light on. There is currently no lamps pointed in my general painting direction. 😉

    1. Might be good – I actually need better reading and knitting light too after I rearranged the sofas when turning the living room into a craft room.

  3. Hi. I am so lucky since i like to work in the morning and we have lots of natural lights at that time of day. I don’t like the energy-saving bulbs for working but they are good for the environment. Jane

  4. I too am looking for a way to supplement the light in my studio so the comments here have been really useful to me.

    I’ve actually found having mirrors on the walls helps maximise the daylight I do have, might be worth a try 😀

    1. God no, I can’t stand looking at myself every time I walk about! 😉 But you’re right, it’s an idea especially in small rooms.

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