Art Studio Lighting Design (how to avoid being kept in the dark)

by Will Kemp

in acrylic painting

cezanne artist studio

Natural light in Cezanne’s artist studio

Have you ever been half-way through a painting and suddenly the art studio light changes?

You carry on painting, hoping for a break in the weather, trying to remember the colour you’ve just mixed, and then the lighting changes.. again.

You think it won’t matter, it’s not that important, but the way you light your art studio can be one of the most cost effective ways of improving your painting and your colour mixing without buying another tube of paint.

One of the easiest methods of designing better lighting, is to simply change your light bulb.

But not all studio lamps are created equal.

From a £5 hardware store fluorescent tube to a £1,500 bespoke solution, the choices you make affect your ability to match colours accurately, judge skin tones effectively, and even feel a little happier by the quality of light you paint within.

With different options available you can have studio lighting the Old Masters would have been proud of…. without turning to shots of Absinthe.

Emergency Chocolate Biscuits Needed

Trying to understand all the considerations when choosing my own studio lighting nearly led me to a lighting melt down! But bear in mind, I’m trying to design a bespoke studio where I’ll be painting 12 hours a day some days, through gloomy British weather and many a midnight painting session. So I need a space that has both natural light and the best quality artificial light.

There are so many variables and it’s such a specialist request that many Electrician’s will roll their eyes at you. With this tricky subject in mind, I have tried to created a summary of what you really need to know, and it can get a bit technical in places.

Do I really need to know this? I hear you cry!

Maybe, maybe not.

It depends on how much painting you do and your current lighting situation…

Artist studio lighting

As a painter I have worked in a range of studios with a variety of lighting, from the most fantastic natural brightness of light in the Mediterranean to orange incandescent bulbs that made my paintings look dull and dreary.

Finding a solution between natural lighting, artificial lighting and your budget can be a balancing act, depending on the subject you are lighting, your style of painting, space you have and funds available.

I’ve been struggling for years to find a simple, easy solution and have had many setbacks with my paintings along the way, trying to understand the difference between the lighting types, styles, colour temperatures,  Kelvin’s, CRI’s the list seems to go on!

I’m currently just finishing building my new studio and thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to address all the art studio lighting questions I’ve had in the past and put them into practice in my new studio space.

Picture hanging vs picture painting

Generally, the light you use in your studio is nearly always going to be different to the specific lighting arrangements of where the painting will finally hang and be viewed in.

I’ve painted subtle grey tones before, that look fantastic on my easel, but I know from experience they would almost disappear if hung in a hallway without natural light.

I tend to paint in quite a bright space, the same light illumination levels  you’ll usually find in an operating theatre, so when the paintings are displayed in a room with softer bulbs, the effect of the painting changes.

So, if you are commissioned to create a painting and have a chance of viewing the wall where the picture will hang, I’d say it is pretty critical to go and have a look.

It could be a bright conservatory or a dimly lit corridor and this can dramatically change how you approach the commission.

So what’s the best light to paint in? Let’s start with the artist favourite, North light.

The Myth of North light

All artists paint under North light, right?

That’s what we’re led to believe, if you could only find the perfect window, the right size and the perfect height, that sends in soft North light, your paintings would be…perfect?

Not quite.

North light describes the location of the sun in the sky, having a window that only allows in North light helps to avoid having direct sunlight shine into the art studio while you work.

This is better for a painter because the light is more constant.

Notice how I didn’t say 100% constant, but more constant than the dramatic changes that happen with direct sunlight.

North light still changes.

Pro tip: North light only works if your studio is in the Northern Hemisphere, as a North lit artist studio in the Southern hemisphere will face direct sunlight coming through the window.

Windows and bounced light

The first thing to look at is where your window is.

Ideally you would want a North facing window above your easel at about 35° angle from your canvas, so you get directional light on the canvas without getting glare.

Glare is most prominent if you are painting vertically with oil paints.

Francis Bacon studio lighting

Photo: Perry Ogden

Francis Bacon’s studio – notice the position of the easel in relationship to the window

artiststudionorthlight

My studio halfway through the build – the side of my studio is North facing so I’ve installed 3 large Velux ceiling windows on a pitched roof

This gives me a nice spread of natural light if I’m working with the window light directly behind me or to the left side of me as I’m right handed so the canvas is always illuminated, similar to the position of the easel in the Rembrandt studio below.

If you have a large North facing window that is low (like Cezanne’s window light in his studio above) you have to be aware of bounced light.

This is where light from outside is coming in from the bottom of the window and then hitting the top of the ceiling in the studio – reflecting light from the ceiling down into the space.

If you’re trying to create a strong directional light effect, the reflected light from the ceiling can lessen the strong contrast, also, if you have any colour on the ceiling this will be reflected into your studio.

You just need to add a ‘hood’ over the top of the window to stop the light spilling up into the ceiling.

It’s like adding a barn door to a photography studio light – you’re just controlling the light coming into the space.

Depending on where you live in the world, the intensity of the light will vary, so a bright summers day in Italy, will be much more intense than a summers day in the UK.

Impressionistic or Classical

If you paint in a more Impressionistic style, like Cezanne, reflected light can add to your set up, illumination of the space is your number one priority.

However, if you are only going to be creating highly dramatic, Chiaroscuro Old Master style lighting, then reflected light can pose problems.

You can go completely black in the studio, black walls, black ceilings, black floor, black clothes! but if you don’t manage reflected light then it can defeat the whole object of creating a space lit with one single light source.

Rembrandt studio lighting

Rembrandt’s Art Studio lighting – Look at the low blackout windows and the canvas hood that prevents the light bouncing on the ceiling

So, if you have a large low window, generally the bottom half should be covered with diffuser fabric so you get only light coming into your studio higher up, helping to illuminate your canvas without casting shadows.

Black out roller blinds can be very helpful in controlling the intensity of the light, the smaller and higher the light source, the more half tones you see in the subject.

Now we begin to enter the realms of artificial lighting.

What is colour temperature?

Have you ever seen a chameleon change colour?

Well, this is how light changes throughout the day, depending on the time of year, weather, and if you’re in the Northern or Southern hemisphere.

Just as different paint colours are called warm and cool, so are different light sources. And this can effect how you perceive colours in your studio.

With natural daylight, the changes happen subtly throughout the day, so initial colour change isn’t always apparent. However, when you’re concentrating and trying to paint a subject, you are battling against the perceived colours that keep changing!

This is why in Monet’s Haystack series he worked on numerous canvases as every couple of hours the light changed.

I overcome this in my studio by painting under a combination of natural and artificial light. For these to marry together we need to aware of the range of colour temperature of bulbs (often referred to by electricians as lamps)

Colour Temperature

The colour temperature of lamps are measured on the Kelvin (K) scale, so you can say ‘what Kelvin are those lamps?’ and sound super clever!

It’s called colour temperature because the scale originated from heating up Carbon to extremely high temperatures and the different temperatures produce a different colour.

If you were to heat carbon to 2426.85 degrees Celsius it would have a Kelvin of 2700K, and would glow yellowish-white.

If you heated carbon to 5126.85 degrees Celsius it would have a Kelvin of 5400K, and would glow bluish-white.

So the higher up the Kelvin scale (colour temperature) we go, the cooler and more blue the light.

So a lamp with a Kelvin of 6500K would be called a cool light.

So how does this relate to North light?

The Kelvin of North light

The most common colour temperatures of light are as follows:

  • A regular household incandescent bulb – 2,500K – 3000K and gives a nice warm light
  • Office fluorescent light – 4,000K – 5000K and gives a cleaner, cooler light
  • Noon Daylight – 5,500 K
  • North Light (blue sky) – 7,500K -10,000K

Artist lighting Kelvin scale

North light varies depending on if you live in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, but in general North light/ blue sky is around 7, 500 – 10,000 Kelvin and if you were to mimic this is a lamp would be far too blue/cool to paint with.

In my studio, because I need artificial light as well as natural light I aim for a lamp of between 5000K – 5500K, this gives a white light rather than it having a cast of being too blue or too orange.

But just relying on Kelvin isn’t the only consideration, it’s number 1 on your tick list but you could buy a cheap bulb with a 5000K but if it hasn’t got a full spectral range, referred to in the industry as a CRI rating, then it might not be as accurate as you think.

CRI (pronounced ‘cree’ not C.R.I like F.B.I as I first thought!) stands for Colour Rendering Index.

This is the ability of a light source to render a full spectrum of colours to our eyes.

Colour rendering Index CRI

So, the next thing we have to consider when choosing a lamp is the colour-rendering index (CRI), this indicates a light’s ability to illuminate colour accurately.

Natural daylight has a CRI rating of 100, this is what ideally we’re aiming to mimic in a lamp.

The more balanced the rendering results are, the higher the CRI will be.

Pro tip: ‘Full spectrum lighting’ is a phrase used by the lighting industry to denote bulbs that mimic the properties of sunlight, but some bulbs/lamps described this way perform better than others. So for example, you could have an artificial light source that renders blues and reds accurately but doesn’t have a strong yellow in it’s spectral curve so the rendering of the yellow will be duller.

ighting spectral distribution

Here you can see this has a very spiky, spectral curve, so doesn’t offer an even colour rendering.

Colour is created by the selective reflection and absorption of the colours in the visible spectrum by the painting’s pigments.

This is really important for the lighting in your studio so you can mix a full range of colours accurately.

The higher the CRI score (out of 100) the more accurate to a full spectrum colour, the light source. Bulbs with a CRI of 80 to 100 are best at revealing vibrant, natural hues.

With artificial light, we’re looking for a light source that is ideally over 90 and as close to 100 as possible. Different lamps have different colour rendering index’s. This indicates how smooth, or how ‘spiky’ the light source is. If the source has spikes in it or is not well balanced you get an illumination that has flat rendition of some colours.

Just as a note, the highest CRI rating lighting manufacturers produce with a 5000K – 5500K is currently around 98.

Pro tip: The correlated color temperature (CCT), measured in Kelvin, refers to how warm or cool a light appears. Too warm a bulb may tint work reddish yellow, whereas too cool a light can turn things blue. For a good balance of warmth and coolness, look for bulbs with a CCT of 5500 K, the equivalent of midday sun. If you prefer cooler light, akin to north light, look for bulbs rated 6500 K.

Lumens, Lux & Light Output

And finally but very importantly the next (and almost last) thing to consider is luminosity or brightness.

This is different to Kelvin or CRI, this is the lamps lumen rating or wattage rating.

Light Measurement

Light measurement is complex. It is difficult to compare products when manufacturers provide performance in different formats. Wattage is the measure of how much electrical power a light source uses, not how bright it is. For a true comparison of output, lumen is the best measure to use.

The lumen is the measure of luminous power of a light source as perceived by the human eye. Lumens describe how much light in total is emitted from a light source.

What are Lumens?

Watts measure the amount of energy required to light products, whereas lumens measure the amount of light produced.

The more lumens in a light bulb, the brighter the light.

Using lumens helps you to work out how bright the space will be, regardless of the type of lamp you are using.

For example: You could have a LED down-light, a Compact Fluorescent Lamp and an Incandescent bulb that all have different wattage per bulb but by using Lumens you can work out the light output produced.

lumens to watts chart

  • 40-watt incandescent bulb = 450 lumens
  • 29-watt Halogen = 450 lumens
  • 9-watt LED = 450 lumens
  • 9-watt Compact Fluorescent Lamp = 450 lumens

So to clarify, generally, total light output from a light source, regardless of the direction the light travels, is specified in lumens (lm).

So can I just find a handy Lumen comparison chart to see how many lamps I need for my studio space?

You would think!

But there are so many variables that there isn’t a one size fits all and to complicate it further to describe the amount of light that hits a specific surface eg: your canvas, another term is used called Lux or Footcandle depending if you work in meters or feet.

Lux is defined as the level of brightness at a particular distance from the light source.

So the further from the light source the less the Lux level.

The formulas for measuring how much brightness you will need in your space are complicated, I found trying to work out light fallout, ceiling height, diffusers on lamps, beam spread etc.. really difficult to calculate!

Simplest Solution

85 watt CFL

My top tip for lighting a small art studio with a ceiling height of 8 – 10 foot, is a bulb you can just screw into your existing fitting and is a Compact Fluorescent Bulb.

It should have a 90+ CRI rating, 5000K- 5500K colour temperature and around 85 watts, it will give a light output of around 5000 lumens at the lamps source and will give you a bright, clean light to work under.

Pro Tip: The light strength diminishes as the light is moved further from the source so by the time it hits your canvas it would probably be a 2/3 of the strength, around 1,800 lux – based on you sitting 1.5 meters away from the lamp in the ceiling.

The recommended lux level for detailed drawing work or very detailed mechanical work is 1500 – 2000 lux so this would fit the bill! Hurray!

The lux value changes depending on how far away from the source you are painting, the angle of the beam etc.. but this lux calculator is very handy if you want to check your own studio.

However, I would imagine for most home studio situations, this bulb would give out ample illumination.
digital lux meter

Lux can be measured by a Lux meter if you want to get super pro

A Brief Lamp Overview

Here’s my overview of lighting and how to choose the best solution for your own space.

Incandescent Household Lamp

These are very inexpensive, have a high CRI rating 95+ but are a very warm light resulting in you actually painting things cooler than you would like, not the best choice for an art studio. Incandescent light bulbs are being phased out in favour of more energy-efficient lighting.

Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)

artist lighting lamps

A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) is a type of fluorescent lamp. Many CFLs are designed to replace an incandescent lamp and can fit into most existing light fixtures formerly used for incandescent light bulbs but generally use less power, have a longer rated life and give the same amount of light, but at a higher purchase price.

They generally have a lower CRI rating of 80 + (you can find odd ones that are higher) but Kelvin can be 5000K – 5500K.

CFLs radiate a different light spectrum from that of incandescent lamps, but are becoming more similar in colour output to the standard incandescent light bulb.

Halogen Lamp

A halogen lamp consists of a tungsten filament sealed in a compact transparent envelope filled with an inert gas and a small amount of halogen such as iodine or bromine. The halogen iodine or bromine increases the lifetime and the luminous efficiency of the lamp. Halogen lamps reach a luminous efficiency of approximately 25 lumens per watt (a conventional incandescent light bulb is approximately 15 lumens per watt and a compact fluorescent lamp is approximately 60 lumens per watt).

Halogen bulbs are smaller than conventional light bulbs and usually found in recessed task lighting, CRI is high but colour temperature is usually very warm.

Full Spectrum Halogen Lamps

Want to light your painting like the Mona Lisa?

Then you need to invest in some Solux bulbs.

These bad boys are used in museums globally, such as The Louvre in Paris, Guggenheim Museum, NY & The Van Gogh Museum to name a few. The CRI rating and spectral curve is amazing and for artificial lighting that best illuminates natural daylight, you can’t get much better.

So, have we found the perfect solution?

It depends.

If you work small and have a friendly electrician these can be a great solution, there is a 4 lamp track available that gives a great value spread light, however, the halogen light has a spot effect, rather than bringing up the illumination of the room.

So for lighting the Mona Lisa, perfect.

For creating an ambient light in your studio?

Harder to achieve.

The lights are often use for photography proofing of colours, so have been designed on a track system for illuminating a wall.

The halogens also run hotter than the fluorescent’s and use a touch more energy. Also they are harder to track down in the U.K.

Solux bulbs are the best halogens on the market, but they are expensive compared to lifespan/ cost ratio of fluorescent bulbs.

Pro Tip: They produce an amazing reading lamp for a lovely quality of light.

Full Spectrum Fluorescent Tubes

These tubes are probably the next best thing indoors to North light for most artists wanting a good illumination of the whole space.

They are relatively cheap and efficient and have good color indexes on the more expensive tubes.

The light source of a fluorescent tube is mercury and the light that mercury produces gives of ‘spiky’ lightwaves, the light isn’t an even spectral curve.

To combat this manufacturers coat the inside of fluorescent tubes with a phosphor coating.

The phosphor coating helps to smooth out the spiky light wavelengths and gives a more even spread of colours.

So for lighting an artist studio we’re looking for a tube with a ‘tri-phosphor’ coating.

Good quality ‘triphosphor fluorescent’s use three phosphors to give off red, green and blue light. This tricks your eyes into thinking they are seeing white, in much the same way as a TV screen works.

Specialist fluorescent’s are available with a CRI higher than 90%, but these are slightly less efficient and are usually only used by professionals such as graphic designers or artists.

I will be using full spectrum fluorescent’s to light my studio, the lamps I’m going to go for are Philips TL-D 90 Graphica Pro Triphosphor 4′ T8 36 Watt Fluorescent Tube 36W,

They have a Kelvin of 5300K and a CRI of 98 and I can create a bank of lights to mimic diffused daylight whilst ensuring the lux level is going to be high enough.

On a happy note, as the bulb mimics natural daylight it’s ideal for sufferers of Seasonally Affected Disorder or S.A.D, so gives a feel good factor whilst you work!

A Note on Fluorescent Lamps

In fluorescent tubes there is a number that represents the diameter of the tube.

The tubes I’m using are called a T8 and the industry are in the process of phasing them out, along with the T12 in favour of more energy efficient bulbs.

The T5 and LED’s are the alternative but I’ve yet to find either that offer a high enough CRI rating, however, I believe over the next couple of years with developments in manufacturing there will be a more energy efficient like for like replacement.

Phew! If you’re still with me, next time I’ll have some pretty shots of the finished studio lighting.

 

 

 

{ 242 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara Horoyd March 20, 2013

Excellent discussion of lighting. Thanks.

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Will Kemp March 20, 2013

Cheers Sara, You’re welcome,

Will

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Mike October 17, 2014

Thanks for that. Great to find someone that has done all the tedious research. I will go back to the lighting shop next week armed with new specifications.

Mike.

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Will Kemp October 17, 2014

Pleased it helped Mike,
Cheers,
Will

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Herman March 20, 2013

Well done!
Thank you very much for sharing this useful research work.

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Will Kemp March 20, 2013

Cheers Herman, pleased you enjoyed it.

Will

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Orla March 20, 2013

Great studio lighting info.Will. OMG Bacon’s studio is so messy. How did he find anything! Love the look of Cezanne’s studio. For the moment I paint in my dining area beside my glass double doors and only paint in daylight hours but I would love to have a dedicated painting studio when I’m more experienced. Congrats on the new studio. It’s looking great.
Cheers,
Orla :)

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Will Kemp March 20, 2013

Cheers Orla, a glass double door is a great place to start.
Will

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john May 18, 2014

Orla,
Great observation on Bacon’s studio, it explains why his work looks like it does :) We work as we live. I can imagine that Pollocks’ studio was filled with tables of unwashed plates of spaghetti and Mondrian bought all his furniture from IKEA.

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Sara Jane Palmer March 20, 2013

What about fluorescents strips that have daylight bulbs?

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Will Kemp March 20, 2013

Hi Sara,
I mention fluorescent strip light bulbs under the ‘Full Spectrum Fluorescent Tubes’ section,

Cheers,
Will

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Dale March 20, 2013

Thanks for this, Will.
The information was very helpful, as per your usual standard.
Cheers

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Will Kemp March 20, 2013

Thanks Dale, kind of you to say so, pleased it helped.
Will

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Alison Stafford March 20, 2013

Wow! I never knew it was that technical! And I thought artists were supposed to use the other side of their brain. I will stick to my patio doors with a fly screen up for now, but an excellent article and one that I will definitely refer to again. Thanks Will :)
P.S. Got 4 pieces in an exhibition in April/May! Eeeeeeeeeekkkk!!!!

Al
x

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Will Kemp March 20, 2013

Hi Al,
Great news about the exhibition, and a fly screen patio door combo sounds pretty sweet!

Will

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Niramon Prudtatorn March 21, 2013

Thank you so much for your efforts , Will. I will have to take days to digest this information .niramon ,Victoria BC,Canada.

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

Cheers Niramon, a little at a time is best for understanding lighting!

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Judy Swade March 21, 2013

Thank you, Will, for the very comprehensive report and photos of lighting for studios. I found it very helpful…thanks for doing the condensed version.
I appreciate your time and knowledge…thanks for sharing

Comments on my work shown on my website- judy swade.com would be valued.

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

Hi Judy, thanks for dropping by, pleased the condensed version helped.

Will

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karen March 21, 2013

A few years ago I also researched this lighting issue. The costs are so varied too. This information is incredibly valuable.

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

Thanks Karen

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mundo March 21, 2013

What can I say,……thank you for your very complete and valuable information, you suggest tea and biscuits. But I think I will have a shot of tequila to your health.

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

Cheer Mundo, pleased the info on lighting helped, and thanks for the tequila toast!
Will

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abbie oakley March 21, 2013

Will! You’ve managed to put me off painting for life!

No, actually I’ll just get a life and carry on enjoying sitting at my kitchen counter, splashing paint up the walls and on the tiles and having fun!

Actually, I do have 8 down lighters and a Velux skylight and a glass door to the garden… and when the light gets too bad I head for the vino, never mind cups of tea and choccy biscuits (a real no-no here in France!).

Abbie

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

Hey Abbie, a vino choice works equally well!

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Shelly Willingham March 21, 2013

Great article, Will. I’ve just converted a spare room and am fortunate with lots of natural light living in Australia. I use a combination of construction and photographic lighting for working at night. I never considered where the painting will finally hang – great point!

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

Cheers Shelly, pleased you enjoyed it,

Will

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Jo March 21, 2013

Hi Will,

Thanks for that incredibly useful in depth information.

I’m a beginner in acrylic painting, and have no choice but to use a spare 8x10ft south facing bedroom (good-sized window to one end), with one dangly lightbulb fitting from the centre of the ceiling (South coast of England). Hey, if I turn out to be any good perhaps I could invest in more but this is what I’ve got to play with at the moment!

Should I hang some sort of flat net curtains across the window to defuse the direct bright changeable sunlight? Also which relatively cheap bayonet lightbulb would you suggest I buy for lighting from the centre of the ceiling?

Also, which acrylic colours would you suggest I buy to get started in acrylic painting?

Thank you so much for all your help and inspiring videos,
Kind regards, Jo

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Will Kemp March 22, 2013

Hi Jo,

Pleased you found the article on lighting helpful, diffusing the light from the window is a good idea so you don’t get so much glare.

In the article under ‘Simplest Solution’ there is a link to a compact fluorescent bulb that I would suggest, this is a screw fitting, but bayonet fittings are also available.

Which acrylic colours would you suggest I buy to get started in acrylic painting?

Have a read through these articles for my suggestions:

How to choose a basic acrylic palette
How to choose a beginners starter set

Cheers,
Will

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Jo March 22, 2013

Thanks Will for your suggestions and support, I’ll definitely follow them up! I feel very excited!!

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Will Kemp March 22, 2013

Good one Jo

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irina March 21, 2013

Will, thank you so much. I didn’t expect to find such a helpful and detailed article here. You are so kind to explain everything and tell us about different options of this important part of painting and share your experience. I look forward to having a look at your new studio.
With love from snowy Moscow,
Irina

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

You’re welcome Irina, really pleased you found the article helpful,

Cheers,
Will

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Neil O'Keeffe March 21, 2013

Well done, Will
Very comprehensive and informative

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

Thanks Neil

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vicki carol March 21, 2013

That was a lot of info to take in. Most of us just have a small space where we can paint that usually has to be shared with other activities. Your information was helpful but you lost me about at the fluorscent blubs. I kept thinking of the chocolate biscuits, we call them cookies here in the states. The power of sugguestion. I will consume a few more biscuits and continue reading. Keep us up on your studio’s progress.

I only have one small north light window and two small west. Terrible glare in evening, shades do the trick.

Thanks for a very informative essay on studio lighting. I evernoted it for future use.
Vicki

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

Hi Vicki, a cookie break is definetly needed to take it all in!

Cheers,
Will

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Eamonn March 21, 2013

Hi Will,
I really enjoyed this article. Being a construction professional I know just how complicated and frustrating it can be trying to make a choice of product in this area.
I just installed new flourescent tubes in my apartment (studio!) last week and its made it so much easier to both see the colours I’m mixing and the photographs I’m using as a reference. Look forward to seeing the finished studio.
Eamonn

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

Hi Eamonn, thanks for dropping by, good to hear you’ve been having some good results with the fluorescent tubes, it really can make colour matching easier.

Cheers,
Will

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Susan Massimi March 21, 2013

Thank you Will for clarifying the confusing subject of lighting and light bulbs. I am trying to outfit my little studio with proper lighting fixtures, so your article is an immense help to me at this time. I will keep a copy of this information and file it in my art notes. Your direction is very clear and I appreciate what you do.

Thank you again,
Susan

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

Hi Susan, really pleased to hear the article was helpful, an odd change of bulb can make all the difference.

Cheers,
Will

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

You’re welcome Susan, really pleased it will help with setting up your studio with some new fixutres and bulbs.

Cheers,
Will

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Chris Tuck March 21, 2013

Thanks for the article. I can see you have put alot of thought and work into its preparation. I found it extremely interesting. Chris

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

You’re welcome Chris, pleased you enjoyed it.

Cheers,
Will

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Constance Oyama March 21, 2013

This is my biggest problem in my studio. Thank you for telling me how to fix my problem.
Connie

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Will Kemp March 21, 2013

Good one Connie

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Helen Northill March 22, 2013

Wow! Such a lot to take in but so informative. I will have to study this article more closely as I’m looking to light my ‘studio’ which is really a small garage with no natural lighting. It has long fluro tubes in it at present. Many thanks Will. This article came just at the right time for me.
Helen

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Will Kemp March 23, 2013

Hi Helen, pleased to hear the article came at the right time. Having the fluorescent tube fixings is great, just have a look for a good quality tube and you’ll be away!

Cheers,
Will

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Tom Fields March 23, 2013

Warm light-cool shadows/Cool light-warmshadows, right? Always? Everywhere?

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Will Kemp March 28, 2013

Hi Tom,

It’s not as cut and dry as that. As different coloured light sources, the colour of the object and reflective light can all change the shadow colours in relationship to the lights.

I am planning on writing an article on this subject soon,

Cheers,

Will

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Linda Schultz March 23, 2013

Dear William Kemp,

Thank you for all your research on how to light a studio. I found it very interesting and sent me back to when I studied physics of light and color. I did a paper on Impressionist light in using color en plein. I hope others find your research helpful. Having the right light is important to a painting as is the color scheme and the subject of composition.

Thank you again,

Linda

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Will Kemp March 25, 2013

Hi Linda,

Thanks for dropping by, pleased you enjoyed the article on lighting a studio, I agree, good lighting can really can make a big difference to your work.

Cheers,
Will

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Richard Michael Haynes March 26, 2013

Very useful information, really detailed and much appreciated…. thanks from sunny Barbados.

Richard

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Will Kemp March 28, 2013

Cheers Richard,

Pleased you enjoyed the article, I’m very jealous of sunny Barbados!

Will

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Betty Booker March 30, 2013

Astonishingly comprehensive. Thank you, Will! Am so pleased I stumbled onto your Website last night and signed up. And all I had been searching for is how to lay acrylic paints onto canvas to maximize light penetration through the paint. Betty (in Virginia, your former colony)

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Will Kemp March 30, 2013

Hi Betty, you’re welcome, thanks for your kind comments, pleased you enjoyed the article.

Cheers,

Will

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Mark Witzling March 30, 2013

thanks for this great description out studio lighting. I am preparing to expand my studio space (Hooray!) and lighting will be a challenge. This article is extremely helpful. Many thanks.

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Will Kemp March 31, 2013

Hey Mark, pleased you found it helpful, good luck with the studio expansion.

Will

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Frank March 31, 2013

Hello and thanks for the info Will; this will help me considerably. I’ll reread the information and then take notes as to what would be the most effective. Regards
Frank. Lithgow N.S.W Australia

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Will Kemp March 31, 2013

Hi Frank, nice to near from you, pleased you found the article helpful. A couple of read-throughs is a good idea!
Cheers,
Will

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Jennie April 1, 2013

Hi Will, I am so pleased I discovered your fantastically helpful tips, but this one is remarkable. Something I’d always wondered about but had no idea how to approach. I’m faced with painting in variable situations, sometimes on my narrow-boat where I live, and most often in other people’s houses where, you can imagine, the lighting is incredibly variable. Most often if I can find a conservatory to work in or a large window, and manage to finish a painting at the site, then this works out fine, but because I work to contract, even on gloomy days I have to produce, so I’ve been wondering about a portable light source to help me through those days. The information in your article has really opened my eyes about my options. Thank you so much sharing your research in a way that even I can understand! Cheers, Jennie from Buckinghamshire.

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Will Kemp April 1, 2013

Oh Hi Jennie, thanks for your kind comments.

Really pleased you found the article helpful, I can symphasis with your changing lighting conditions!

Hope it’s given you a clearer view of what would work best for you.

Cheers,
Will

P.S for the lower height in the narrow boat you wouldn’t need a bulb as bright as the 85watt Compact Fluorescent, a 55w would give you plenty of light.

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Jennie April 1, 2013

Brilliant! Thanks for that Will.

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Will Kemp April 1, 2013

You’re welcome Jennie, here’s a online store if you have trouble tracking a 5000k CFL bulb down locally.

Cheers,
Will

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chavali April 1, 2013

nice tips.You always give full details needed.

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Will Kemp April 1, 2013

Thanks Chavali,
Will

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Robert April 8, 2013

A great posting. Well done and congratulations, Will.
This is much more technical about lighting than I had to cope with in a previous job setting building standards. It’s also quite unique, AFAIK, as it has the artist in mind.
If I may I have a simple example that other painters may understand: i am doing a painting that has three “different” blues; in some light they appear the same, but they are quite distinctive in the correct light.
Will, I hope the studio is working out. Colour and light… fascinating, are they not? Another posting for you here, I reckon.

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Will Kemp April 8, 2013

Hey Robert,

Pleased you enjoyed the article, I found, finding lighting info specifically for artists, quite tricky.

As you said, even if you know you’ve painted different blues, in some lights they’re hard to distinguish!

The studio’s going well, had a minor set back with a leaking pipe on the new floor… but nothing that a nice bottle of red and 24hr heating couldn’t fix!

Cheers,

Will

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john carroll May 3, 2013

Hi will

been offline for a while art wise researching a new kitchen and a new timber studio/shed. My first thoughts went directly to north facing windows so it is with some timely fortune that I return to your school and consider light from a southern hemisphere perspective. My other consideration is cathedral ceiling or a single slope ceiling, high south, low north.

regards

john

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Will Kemp May 3, 2013

Hi John, hope you’re well, and pleased the article was timely for your studio build research.

Cheers,
Will

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john carroll May 4, 2013

very well Will, cheers!

However, regarding hemispheres, I assume then that the southern hemispheres equivalent to clear northern light, is light from a south facing window? The logic seems simple but…we in the southern hemisphere spend christmas in shorts and a t-shirt reading christmas cards covered in snow scenes. Logic gets challenged!

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Will Kemp May 7, 2013

Hey John, yes, light from a south facing window is exactly right for a southern hemisphere “north light” think “south light”.

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Barry Harper May 4, 2013

Thanks for that Will ! The room I’m starting to paint in, has a CFL lamp. I reckon I’m halfway there. I’ve just done the gound on my first painting… The Cherry… The rest should be easy enough… (!).

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Will Kemp May 7, 2013

Good one Barry, let me know how the Cherry turns out.

Cheers
Will

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Shoshi May 10, 2013

Thanks for a great, in-depth summary of studio lighting, Will. Your site certainly is a treasure store of information! We are about to move house and the room I have earmarked for my studio has NE light – each time I have been in that room it seems like a good, steady light, coming through a fairly large window for the size of the room. There is also a glass door leading onto a balcony outside.

Up until now I have used PureLite low energy bulbs in a central pendant light (not good on its own as I’m always casting a shadow wherever I am in the room!) and the same bulbs in a floor-standing anglepoise, and two clip-on directional lamps (good for photography, although I do have to adjust the colour balance slightly back towards the red as there is a distinct blue cast). In my new room I think the builder is going to put LEDs in for me at each work station around the room – am I right in thinking that these give a pretty pure, natural sort of light without too much colour cast in any direction? The central light will probably be retained, and I will still be able to use my lamps.

I tend to work on a flat surface rather than an easel, using mixed media, and I am thinking of having my main work station against the wall at right angles to the window. I do not want it under the window because I need storage space for equipment immediately in front of me. The walls and ceiling are white, and I shall be having a neutral coloured or pale wood floor covering.

Does this sound a reasonable set-up?

Shoshi

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Will Kemp May 22, 2013

Hey Shoshi,

It sounds like you’ve covered all bases and it does sound a really fine set-up.

The LED’s don’t have as high a colour rendering index as a fluorescent, however, if you make sure the colour of the bulbs are as neutral as possible, you’ll be fine as you have that lovely natural light flooding in.

Good luck with everything,

Will

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hazel May 11, 2013

That was really helpful, thank you for going to the trouble of posting something so comprehensive. I think I could follow most of it. I was already thinking of using full spectrum fluorescent tubes, so your recommendation of a specific one was great. I can’t however work out how many of these I will need to give good overall ambient light for a studio that’s 4.8m by 3m with a flat roof of 2.45m high for half the length and a pitched roof of 3.7m high for the other half. I’ve no idea how to do it!

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Will Kemp May 22, 2013

Hi Hazel,

I feel your pain!! It took me ages to calculate what I thought I wanted and then wasn’t even sure it would be right when it arrived!

My studio is only a little bit bigger than yours but has a higher ceiling throughout, I settled on 2 banks of 6 full spectrum, 36 watts, 4ft bulbs, so that’s 12 bulbs in total.

I can tell you it’s like the Bahamas in there!! So amazingly bright with a really even spread, however, I have had made, bespoke fittings with diffusers and separate switches to adjust the light levels.

So I can adjust it to fit each painting commission. If you had half that amount it would still be plenty bright enough, taken into consideration your lower ceiling as well.

So if you had 4 to 6 tubes spread evenly over the space, I can imagine this would be great.

Hope this helps,

Will

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Anna Keller May 16, 2013

Great information about studio lighting! Am just completing construction of my new studio & am still deciding the most important element– the lighting plan. Original plan called for track with LED lights, but I’ve had second thoughts about that. This article helps answer a lot of my questions. Thank you for posting this!

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Will Kemp May 22, 2013

Hey Anna,

Glad it helped, it is a lot to try and take in but you’re right you won’t get as good colour rendering with the LED’s.

Hope you’re studio is coming along well,

Cheers,

Will

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Elaine Butterworth May 19, 2013

Hi Will, I have just been watching Part 1 of your How to Build an Artist’s Studio and I am SO envious!! I want one!! Did you design it yourself? When is Part 2 ready for release?

Elaine

I have only recently discovered your website, and I have learnt so much already – many thanks.

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Will Kemp May 20, 2013

Hi Elaine, nice to hear from you, pleased you liked the studio and are enjoying the tutorials. Part 2 studio update is coming in a couple of weeks,

Cheers,
Will

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Kathy May 31, 2013

A great article! I’ve been looking for all this info for ages, as I too am in the process of building another studio, and have discovered by past experience how important the lighting aspect is. Also how expensive it can be if you get it wrong!
Thanks again for sharing all your knowledge.

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Will Kemp May 31, 2013

You’re welcome Kathy, really pleased it helped. Good luck with the build!

Will

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Mark Marasco June 1, 2013

Thank you for the illumination on illumination. Helpful for creating my new studio. Now my paintings are less likely to magically change colors like a mood ring when I take them into a different space. Saved me much research time. Cheers.

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Will Kemp June 1, 2013

You’re welcome Mark, pleased it helped to shortcut the research time.
Cheers,
Will

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jo June 18, 2013

-Thanks Will. I found your article helpful since I have been picking every electrician’s brain about lighting. -Built my studio and still need to work on lighting. My husband engineered a ceiling that took advantage of the North light, and we have have incorporated CFL lighting. I don’t think they are correct.
I do have large CFL lights for my photography, which I purchased over a year ago.
They are PBL MX-FL 50W 5100K, 120V 590mA E26 by http://www.photobrightlighting.com.
-The specification:
Dimension : 6cm x6cm x18cm
Output : 50W Incandescent Equivalent (Approx) : 175W
Life Hours (Avg) : 10,000 hrs
Lumens : 3000
Color Temperature (Kelvin) : 5600 K
General color rendering index (Approx) : (RA)90
Not as robust as yours. Wonder if they will help me deal with lighting, especially in the PM hours.
-Great article.

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Will Kemp June 18, 2013

Hi Jo,
Pleased you’ve found the article helpful, those bulbs sound pretty good, good CRI rating and cool light, should great for those evening painting sessions!
Cheers,
Will

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Dianne June 21, 2013

Have you finished your studio? Just curious about your lighting… are the bulbs covered or exposed? Also how many are you using in your studio?
Thanks!

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Will Kemp July 9, 2013

Hi Dianne,

Yep, my studio is up and running! I settled on 2 banks of 6 full spectrum, 36 watts, 4ft bulbs, so that’s 12 bulbs in total.

I can tell you it’s like the Bahamas in there!! So amazingly bright with a really even spread, however, I have had made, bespoke fittings with diffusers and separate switches to adjust the light levels.

So sometimes covered and sometimes exposed, depending on the look I’m trying to achieve.

I will do a studio update over the next few weeks, so you can see the finished results for yourself,

Cheers,

Will

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Dianne July 15, 2013

Thank you, Will… I will look forward to seeing the update! I just built a new studio, or should I say I will be finishing my new studio in the fall when I return to my home in Florida. It’s all done except for finishing the interior walls, the lighting and the furnishings. I want to get the lighting as close to perfect as I can. Can’t wait to hear if yours is meeting your expectations!!
Regards,
Dianne

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Will Kemp July 16, 2013

Hi Dianne,

Good one! My studio lighting so far has been fantastic. I’m really pleased with it, it’s created such an even spread of light with no strong cast shadows.

Good luck with finishing your studio, I know how much work goes into it but it will be definitely worth it!

Cheers,

Will

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sandi July 15, 2013

Thank you so much for this article. This information is so helpful. I’ve been suffering in my poorly lit workspace for too long now and just decided that enough is enough. Your article will really catapult me forward in solving the problem.

Thanks!

Sandi

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Will Kemp July 16, 2013

Great to hear it Sandi, I can sympathize with your pain! So pleased you found the article helpful and good luck with your new setup.

Cheers,

Will

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Ina PICKARD July 29, 2013

About to build my new studio. It will be about 12ft x 20 ft . What do you reckon I would need for CFL lighting to give me the Bahamas effect? I will have French doors on the North side and a velux light in the pitched roof North side. What do you mean by a ‘bank’ of lights.? I will need to explain to my electrician.
By the way, what flooring have you used in the studio? I was thinking of Porcelain tiles?
Your explanation of the lighting is terrific. Many thanks.

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Will Kemp August 4, 2013

Hi Ina, sounds like you’ve got a great space to be working with!
A bank of lights is just light fittings placed closely next to each other, so it gives the illusion of an unbroken wall of light – essentially, you’re trying to recreate the window or soft daylight.

You would usually have 4 to 6 fluorescent tubes in a bank and I would say for a studio around this size, 2 banks. I have 12 tubes in total and this is super bright for a not dissimilar sized studio.

Flooring wise using porcelain tiles can be quite hard to stand on all day if you paint at an easel. Also, they’re not very forgiving for any clumsy artists!

Hope this helps,

Will

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Ina August 17, 2013

Thanks for your advice Will. It would have been a real headache trying to decide what lighting I needed. Please will you tell me what lighting you use when painting a portrait – presumably without the ‘Bahamas’ effect?

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Will Kemp August 18, 2013

Hi Ina, pleased it helped, I paint under the same lighting for portraits.

Cheers,
Will

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Joel Isaacson August 4, 2013

Many thanks for this information, Will. I’m just now re-doing the lighting in my studio in Santa Cruz, California. I made really bad choices the first time around.
Joel

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Will Kemp August 5, 2013

You’re welcome Joel, pleased you found the article helpful, you’ve got some amazing natural light in California!

Good luck woth re-doing your lighting.

Cheers,
Will

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Mar August 15, 2013

Hi,
Thank you for the useful information. I am in the process of making a room in the basement as my studio. I always worked with fluorescent tubes ceiling lights and I have been quite happy with results. My basement’s studio has recessed lights only, there 5 in the room, and I wonder what will be the best way to use those lights and change the bulbs to brighten the space. What kind of bulbs you recommend? I am also considering an additional floor lamp to help making work area (I use an easel) brighter. Please let me know your opinion. Thanks in advance.

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Will Kemp August 18, 2013

Hi Mar, the brightness of the light will depend on the output level on each fluorescent tube, or how many tubes you have. Just have a look on one of your current tubes and then you can judge how many more you need to get the desired lighting you’re after.

If you’re using a separate floor light just make sure the kelvin numbers are the same, for example a 5000k screw in Compact fluorescent bulb with a 5000k fluorescent tube.

Hope this helps,

Will

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Anna August 28, 2013

How do you use a subtle side lighted effect when painting portraits if the studio is overall lit with cfl producing a very bright working area?
Do you have separated switches for the cfl and a duller area lit by one lamp only?
Thanks for your excellent advice.

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Will Kemp August 29, 2013

Hi Anna,

I’m painting the portrait within a bright space, but the sitter is in natural light away from my main painting area. So the sitter is in a softer light, but I still work in a brighter light.

The bank of lights I have set up are also wired on separate switches, so I can alter the intensity from 12 tubes to 1 tube. This means I can match the intensity of the lighting to the mood of the portrait.

Cheers,
Will

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Kathyrn August 31, 2013

Loved your article on lighting!! When was it written? I am in the process of building a 900 square foot free standing studio and am not certain what to do with the lighting issues. I have had several studios over the years – Omaha, NE, Northern California and now Phoenix AZ so my lighting concerns have been different in every case. The issue I have now is that the southern sun is terribly hot, the cathedral level windows are on the west side with a smaller window and sliding glass door to the south. The east wall is blocked by the east wall of the house by six feet and will be the 30 ft wall I will use to paint on. I mainly am a contemporary painter, make all my own paint (for 35 years) – acrylic, an ornamenter (glass), and concrete sculptor. My paintings generally range from 5′ X6′ – 5′ x8′ even though occasionally I may paint some very small 12 ” paintings.

So, I have thought about a track lighting system around the inside, about 8 to 10 feet up on the cathedral ceiling. I have also thought about putting in 2 skylights on the north side. You had mentioned the use of flourescents with the natural light. I have used the flourescent, and the halogen. I was thinking of LEDs because the Halogens will be awfully hot down here in the summer time. And the flourescents always flickered and/or burned out on me. They don’t make the 8 foot tubes any more. Do you think I could combine a track system for displayed works along with a surround of flourescents and the sky lights to get the 5000-5500K 98 CRI/lm I need? I do not like a blue light – I prefer a daylight bulb – or did prior to moving to Omaha. Your advice is appreciated? I feel like I am running around in circles. I need a solution before we breakground.

Kathyrn Neubauer-Johns

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Will Kemp September 2, 2013

Hi Kathyrn, sounds like you’ve got an exciting time ahead with the build.

LED’s don’t currently have the same level of Colour rendering Index (CRI) as the highter quality fluorescent bulbs. If you have modern fixings with a high frequency you shouldn’t have the same isses you’ve had in the past with flickering.

Having a track light for tasl lighting for displayed your work and fluorecent for the more ambient lighting it should work fine. Just match the Kelvin temperatures of both your artificial lighting to the kelvin temperature of daylight you prefer.

Good luck with the build,

Cheers,
Will

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Pat Hutti September 3, 2013

Wonder dicussion. I love vivid colours but the room the class was in had awful lighting and orange walls. I would spend 2 hours painting then go out in the sunlight only to see the colours were so off. The next class I would have to spend time correcting it. That’s when I learned how important lighting is. Thank you for spelling it out in one article. My class is in a place now with great lightning.

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Will Kemp September 3, 2013

Hi Pat, pleased you found the article helpful and you’re not struggling against the orange walls!

Cheers,
Will

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Janet Metzger September 3, 2013

Hello Will,
Wonderful article, the best on the subject out there. Many thanks!
We begin construction on my garage/studio in a few weeks. The studio portion will be 16′ x 22′; wall height is 8′, roof height at center is approx. 15′. Windows: 2 north facing skylights, 3 awning windows (2′ h x 4′ w each) along top of 16′ north wall, a 5′ h x 10′ w bank of windows on east wall shaded by an 8′ deep porch roof.

I was thinking of CFL track lights hung 8′ h, in a U shaped configuration 4′ off of each wall except the east. The flexibility of track lighting appeals to me: being able to direct the lights, remove them or bunch them if I choose. Also, being able to switch out for LED bulbs, if I ever find a suitable one. The measurements would be 2 lengths @ 12′ along the north and south walls, joined by an 8′ length along the west. A separate light switch will control each length. If you have any thoughts on suitable bulbs or how many total in this space, or if you think a different set up would work better, I would be grateful if you shared.

Now, here is something I found on LED lights that I want to share w/ you. It has made me rethink my original lighting plan. After you check them out, please let me know if you think the long term energy savings of LEDs could offset the hefty purchase price or if these fixtures are appropriate for lighting a studio.

This is the manufacturers website. http://www.buildmyled.com They specialize in horticulture and aquarium LED lighting and have many options. Look at the Dutch Planted 6300K, Riparium 6000K, Fish Focus Red 5000K. If you click on the pics, they do show the color rendering chart although I haven’t been able to find the actual specs on their site.

The description below is about the same fixtures from aquariumplants.com
I order my aquarium supplies from them and discovered the LED fixture while perusing their site. This describes a 6700K which I didn’t find at the website above but perhaps it is a custom design.

Signing off,
Janet

LumenBlaster LED lighting has finally arrived:
Made from the best components available:
Commercial-grade, IP66 Waterproof LED light fixture assembled with a custom spectrum developed specifically to highlight all of the colors a freshwater show tank. By using a mix of the world’s most efficient LEDs, these fixtures deliver incredible PAR levels (micromoles/m2/s) into your tank. Hence, this spectrum is extremely capable of growing the most demanding freshwater plants. The slim fixture design (1″ tall / 2″ wide) will improve the appearance of any aquarium. Available in 4 fixture lengths and 5 beam angles to work with all aquariums.For those seeking less pink in the light spectrum, this is a great alternative to the Freshwater Planted Spectrum.

Product Specifications
- Lumens: 12″ Fixture = 1,220 / 48″ Fixture = 4,878
- Micromoles: 12″ Fixture = 21 / 48″ Fixture = 88.29
- Input Watts: 12″ Fixture = 19W / 48″ Fixture = 75W
- Input Voltage: 90-305 VAC
-Color Temperature (CCT): 6700K
- Color Rending Index (CRI): 98
- Operating Temperature : -20C to 45C
- Predicted Life: 50,000 Hours
- LED Selections per 12″ Board:
(10) 6500K, (2) 470nm, (1) 660nmm (1) 525nm, (1) 450nm
- Spectral Content (Photon Count):
38% Blue, 36% Green, 24% Red, 2% Far Red

Product Features
- 0-10V Dimming Compatible Driver (Apex Ready)
- IP66 Waterproof Rating
- CE Safety Certification & ROHS Compliant
- Built-to-Order in the USA
- 3 Year Warranty
- Innovative ‘T-Rail’ for Unlimited Mounting Options
- Return within 30 Days for Full Refund
- System Includes:
LED fixture/power supply/8′ cord/plug/mounting brackets

Reply

Will Kemp September 4, 2013

Hi Janet,

Nice to hear from you, and really pleased you’ve found the article helpful.

The studio portion of the build sounds like a great size, and with your skylights and awning should be a really bright space.

Track lights can work well and give you flexibility if the bulbs are close enough together so you have an even spread of light. (like the Solux track system mentioned in the article above)

I know when previously lighting our gallery with track lighting they where perfect for highlighting paintings for sale, as they really gave each piece a ‘spotlight’ but were less effective for giving an even ambient light. but if you have the pacing right that can work well.

Its hard for me to judge cost saving vs initial pricing of the lEDs, but these ones do seem to have a very high CRI rating and a low operating cost.

Good luck with your build.

Cheers,
Will

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Kate September 3, 2013

Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m renovating a studio and need to choose lighting TODAY with my electrician. I was completely overwhelmed and you’ve saved me major stress and better still, replaced it with excitement to work in my new space!

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Will Kemp September 3, 2013

Great to hear it Kate, so pleased the article helped to prevent electrical overwhelm!

Cheers,
Will

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Sue Darius September 10, 2013

Will,

Wonderful article – just what I needed: I have a very small bedroom for a studio right now, how many bulbs are needed in a 11.5 x 11.5 foot room? I have one overhead electrical outlet which I want to change to the fluorescent lights you suggest. I want to know if I need two fixtures with maybe 2 bulbs in each, spaced equally on the ceiling. Does that make sense for overall lighting the room? I have some spot lights that I use for close work right now.

Thank you,
Sue

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Will Kemp September 12, 2013

Hi Sue,

Nice to hear from you, and pleased you’ve found the article helpful.

For that size room one single fixing with a twin fluorescent bulb will give you a bright working area.

I had a 5 ft twin fluorescent tube from the centre ceiling fitting and then painted standing at the easel directly underneath it. The internal ceiling height was about 8ft and the room was about 10 x 10. With the one fitting my actual easel is illuminated really well, but the rest of the room is darker due to the spread of the fluorescent. (If the ceiling was higher the spread would have been greater) So you could try 1 x twin fitting with the current electrical fitting as no need for any rewiring, check the brightness, and then add another fitting if need be. The most even spread would be 4 single tubes evenly spread.

Hope this helps,

Will

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Kevin McGuire September 13, 2013

Hello Will:
I am the inventor of the SoLux bulb. I appreciate your review of our product that has found so much success over the years. There are a couple points I would like to clarify:

“These bad boys are used in museums globally, such as The Louvre in Paris, Guggenheim Museum, NY & The Van Gogh Museum to name a few. The CRI rating and spectral curve is amazing and for artificial lighting that best illuminates natural daylight, you can’t get much better.”
KM: To my knowledge SoLux is not in the Louvre, but we do light the entire Musee d’Orsay, the largest collection of Impressionist art in the world. The rest is all true!

“If you work small and have a friendly electrician these can be a great solution, there is a 4 lamp track available that gives a great value spread light, however, the halogen light has a spot effect, rather than bringing up the illumination of the room.”
KM: Halogen does initially have a spot effect but you can do two things to change this:
#1 Put a plano-convex diffuser in front of SoLux (which we offer) you achieve a well spread and diffuse light.
#2 Bounce the light off of a white ceiling, wall, or sculpture and the room will be lit uniformly with the most accurate daylight source money can buy.

“So for lighting the Mona Lisa, perfect.”
KM: Actually I’ve seen how the Mona Lisa is lit and it is a travesty, same with the newly renovated Rijksmuseum.

“The lights are often use for photography proofing of colours, so have been designed on a track system for illuminating a wall.”

KM: Aim the lights on white walls, ceiling, or white objects and you have your ambient lighting!

“The halogens also run hotter than the fluorescent’s and use a touch more energy. Also they are harder to track down in the U.K. “
KM: I designed SoLux to remove 75% of the heat away from the object, cool! True SoLux uses more energy, 35 watts per bulb, but hey, what to save even more energy, don’t use your oven or stove, eat food raw! Sound crazy? We agree. Our European distributor is:
EiKO-Europe GmbH
Mittelwegring 20 / 23
76751 JOCKGRIM / GERMANY
+49 7271 7607 – 0
info@eiko-europe.de
http://www.eiko-europe.de

Tailored Lighting Inc, my company also ships directly to customers all over the world, sales inquires at phil@solux.net, Phil Bradfield 1-800-254-4487.

“SoLux bulbs are the best halogens on the market, but they are expensive compared to lifespan/ cost ratio of fluorescent bulbs.”
KM: The standard SoLux bulb retails for $7.95, for the best simulation of daylight on the market. SoLux bulbs typically last 6,000-8,000 hours because most transformers drive at less than 12 volts increasing lifetime and do not drift. SoLux provides perfect daylight from day one, fluorescent lights are incapable of providing proper daylight simulation.

Let me know if there are other things you would like to learn about SoLux. Best way to appreciate SoLux though is to see it in use. Seeing is believing.

Cheers!
Kevin McGuire
Inventor of SoLux
President Tailored Lighting Inc.

Reply

Will Kemp September 14, 2013

Hi Kevin,

Great to hear from you and thanks for such a fab invention!

I appreciate you taking the time to clarify a couple of the points mentioned in the article and what’s possible with SoLux lighting.

Thanks again Kevin,

Cheers,
Will

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Tom September 14, 2013

Hi Will! So much wonderful information. And I want to thank you for sharing it with us. Quick question, I have a floor lamp with 3 adjustable light sockets. It currently has 1 cfl with a 2700k 1600 lumens bulb (I looked on the package). It’s a warm light that is similar to a regular incandescent bulb. I was wondering if, by adding another cfl with a much cooler light, it would help to “balance” the lighting?

Reply

Will Kemp September 16, 2013

Hi Tom, it kinda would, but not perfectly, another cooler bulb would help to give you a cooler light effect, but it depends how close you are away from your work. I have seen fluorescent fittings in studios in the past where there was 4 tubes, 3 were warmer and 1 was cooler and the fittings was quite high, so when the light hit the canvas it was more evenly balanced, but its more a ‘judge by eye’ in your own studio space. But if it’s just one CFL bulb, I would try replacing that for a 5000K.

Hope this helps,
Will

Reply

Tom September 16, 2013

Hi Will, I added another CFL, 6500k and 1600 lumens, and the combination of warm and cool did work pretty well. I wouldn’t say I’m well lighted by any means, but it’s fairly bright and the colors show upaccurately (they look the same outdoors as indoors). At least for the moment it will serve for my tiny little setup. Again, thanks for all the great info on your page.
Cheers, Tom

Reply

Will Kemp September 16, 2013

Good one Tom, pleased it has worked to help match the outside lighting and is working for your setup.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Sue Darius September 27, 2013

Will,

I left a message before and you answered my question about how many tubes to light my small studio but now I have a question on where to buy the Phillips Graphica in Canada – Vancouver actually. Do any of your readers or associates know where I can get them here?

Thank you,
Sue

Reply

Will Kemp October 3, 2013

Hi Sue, I personally don’t know of Philips suppliers in canada, you could try contacting Philips direct for the list of suppliers in Vancouver.

Hope you can track some down.

Cheers,
Will

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Dianne Adams October 3, 2013

Will, I learned so much from your lighting article. I have finally found the fluorescent tubes that should work, and now I have to choose the paint and flooring and my studio will be finished. I have a good idea of the paint color–one of the gray tones, white for the ceiling. Is this a good choice? I have tinted windows all around the room which is 12 &1/2 feet by 18 & 1/2 feet. I will have three overhead lighting fixtures with 4 fluorescent tubes in each.. (full spectrum) The one thing I’m really unsure of is the flooring. My studio is a free standing building at the edge of our pool deck. Although it will be air conditioned and heated, I am still concerned about the possibility of mold. (We live in Florida.) Since bamboo is supposed to be mold resistant, that is my choice for the material. However, it’s the color that I am unsure of. Our local DIY store has one that is light and one which is much darker. Which one do you think would be better… Think of the colors as a blond or brunette. There’s that much difference in the two. Also, have you posted pictures your finished studio somewhere??
Thanks for all your wonderful information that you share. I hope to take some of your classes once I’m finished with the studio and get settled in!

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Will Kemp October 7, 2013

Hi Dianne,

Nice to hear from you, really pleased you’ve been finding the lighting article helpful when setting up your new painting studio.

You might find this article of interest on choosing an art studio wall colour.

The colour of your flooring wouldn’t really influence the perception of colours onto your canvas very much at all, so it it really down to your own personal preference, the lighter wood will give you a more natural, airy feel to the studio, with the darker floor going more ‘Old master’.

On the article linked above have a look the the Angel Academy dark flooring to give you an idea.

Good luck with the rest of your build.
Cheers,
Will

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Nick October 18, 2013

Hi Will,

First of all, thanks for a great article and, in particular, for the Amazon link to the right bulb, which saved me ages of searching.

Perhaps though, you could edit in that this bulb is actually the size of a thermos flask! Somewhere, I’ve have some old photography light fittings, but I was originally planning to put this into a standard ceiling rose fitting…and I reckon it would take the ceiling down with it, haha.

So, not a problem for me, but might be useful info for other people to know in advance. Thanks again for this article and all the other great articles and vids.

Nick :)

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Will Kemp October 18, 2013

Hi Nick,

Mmm, yeah the bulb is quite large if you have a higher wattage!

Pleased you found the article helpful and hope your studio feels super illuminated.

Cheers,

Will

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Eileen van der Merwe October 26, 2013

Hi Will,
This makes for fascinating reading. I am assuming the colour of your walls will also impact how the light effects your painting space? I am planning on taking possession of the spare bedroom and turning it into my personal painting space but living where we do all our windows are heavily tinted to reduce the effect of the heat on the glass and the sun coming into the homes. 50 degrees plus mid summer is not easy to work with! For this reason I need to be very aware of what artificial light I use as I will end up being very dependent on that. The room is also a very heavy apricot brick colour so not ideal. I would like to repaint it… Any wall colour suggestions?
Thanks again for all the wonderful info!
Eileen

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Will Kemp October 26, 2013

Hi Eileen,

Yes, the colour of walls do also impact how the light effects your studio, have a look at this article:

How to choose the perfect wall colour for your art studio.

Hope it helps.

Cheers,
Will

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Mary Brazil October 30, 2013

Thank you very much, am at the start of converting garage, really helpful information.

all the best, Mary

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Will Kemp October 30, 2013

Great to hear it Mary, so pleased you’ve found it helpful.

Cheers,
Will

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Cheryl Quist November 2, 2013

Whew! My brain hurts but I understand this much better now. Thanks!

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Will Kemp November 2, 2013

Good one Cheryl, really pleased it helped.

Will

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Pam November 8, 2013

I notice you haven’t mentioned LED lights. I am looking at a downlight with 45w LED, 5000k, 3768 lumens and CRI-84 to put above my work table in a basement. It has a dimmer switch. I work with paint and textiles. I guess I am confused about LED replacing fluorescents.

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Will Kemp November 8, 2013

Hi Pam,

At the bottom of the article I briefly mention LED’s:

“LED’s are the alternative but I’ve yet to find either that offer a high enough CRI rating, however, I believe over the next couple of years with developments in manufacturing there will be a more energy efficient like for like replacement.”

A CRI of 84 is pretty good, and LED lighting seems to be getting better and better at colour rendering, for example these photography lights claim a CRI rating of 93 but at this level of CRI are currently more expensive than fluorescents (5600k,829 lumens – 3 ft from light, is about $599) but if you don’t mind a slight drop in colour rendering you’ll be away!

Hope this helps,

Will

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Cathy Down November 14, 2013

Thanks so much for information. My brain also hurts but in a good way. I am just getting ready to put together a studio in, what is now a large ( 16x24ft?) storage room behind our garage. It has a large glass door facing North. Thinking about putting in a skylight also. I appreciate your ideas and expertise. I paint primarily Pet Portraits, from photos, and want to always get a true likeness. Thanks again, Cathy Down

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Will Kemp November 15, 2013

Hi Cathy, so pleased you found the lighting article helpful for designing your new studio, it can be a bit of a headache, but so worth it in the long run! hope the fit out goes well.

Cheers,
Will

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June Cluett November 17, 2013

I have been tearing my hair out over lighting specs the builder asked me to give him for my painting and sculpture studio being converted from part of a friends double garage in Wiltshire – 17′ x 9.5′ double height working space – plus a mezzanine floor under the rafters for small works – so was over the moon when my cousin pointed out your website and helped me thru it. SO useful and clear. I hope I can find the Phillips tubes you specify for your studio build as it doesn’t look so different in size and concept from mine! I am now going to buy a lux meter, and specify Kelvin, CRI and lumens – Hooray! THANK YOU!

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Will Kemp November 17, 2013

Great to hear it June, so pleased it’s helped through the stress of a build! Here is a link to a supplier in the UK, the link is to 4ft tubes, but they also have 5ft tubes.

Cheers,
Will

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June Cluett November 17, 2013

Thanks Will. I think 4 ft will possibly be quite big enough? We had been thinking three 3ft tubes…..
What about anti-glare fittings – any advice?
all the best
June

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Will Kemp November 17, 2013

Hi June,

It varies depending on the housing for the tubes and how high they are positioned. If you have standard single or twin tubes you can get reflective fittings for offices called CAT-2′s, they bounce the light around and reduce glare but it depends on how high the tubes are placed because the spread of the light is more focused downwards, and won’t really add ambient light to the space, so it depends if the light is for task lighting or ambient space lighting. These fittings can be added afterwards though so you can always start with the bare tubes, and then adjust from there.

Also, just note that any diffusion/ anti-glare will also reduce the LUX light level in the space.

Will

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June Cluett November 17, 2013

Thank you so much! Mmmm … more food for thought. I have to work mainly in artificial light as my windows face south – no choice here. I think the height of the tubes will be measured using your lux level light meter approach. I’m concerned however when on the mezzanine floor I will likely be level with the tubes lighting the lower floor area and get glare from them…. but do not want to lose clear bright lighting…. mmmm maybe the right curved type fitting….?
Thank you again for puting out all this wonderful information – seriously grateful
June

Essie B November 18, 2013

Hi Will -

I’ve taken copious notes from your excellent article and plan to start improving my lighting situation starting tomorrow!

Would the incandescent lights I’ve always used cause my paintings to have a bluish cast when I see them in natural daylight?

I try so hard to emphasize warmer, sunnier, colors – but my work nevertheless ends up being predominately cool. I have been trying for years to overcome my secret, unconscious preference for cool colors – but it might be that what I really need to do is get better lighting!

You are such a great teacher, and artist, and now it turns out you’re a really good researcher too. Thank you, thank you.

Essie

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Will Kemp November 18, 2013

Hi Essie, really pleased you found the article helpful. Yes, the orange light from your incandescent bulbs is the culprit! working under a more balanced daylight bulb (cooler in colour temperature) will make all the difference.

Cheers,
Will

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Sarah Kellington November 21, 2013

I’ve read your article repeatedly over the last month or two. I’m remodeling a garage to a studio (16′x12′, normal 8′ ceiling). I’m currently doing the wiring, so my light decisions have reached rather a crisis point. The best thing about putting in new wiring is that all the possibilities are open; the worst thing is that I have to choose one. :P Since the room is currently wooden walls and a single bare bulb, it’s quite hard to visualize! I’m wondering if track lights or recessed lights can provide enough illumination, or if tube fixtures seem to be the only way to go. (I assume diffusers on either recessed or track lighting) — and how do you tell how many you need in your space?

I have decent daylight — added 3 2×3 windows on the north wall — but need to be able to paint at night. (There’s also a very non-painterly giant east window, but it’ll have diffusing blinds on it. Sometimes you have to have the kind of light that makes you happy).

I have a back-up plan for adding more lights should I need them (outlet in the ceiling on a switched circuit, and a metal bar to clamp lights onto), but naturally I’d rather get it right the first time!

Thanks,
- S

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Will Kemp November 21, 2013

Hi Sarah,

Nice to hear from you, and so pleased you’ve found the lighting article helpful. The track lights can be good for task lighting but aren’t as good for a general illumination of the space. If you work out how bright you want the space in Lux level, and then work out how many bulbs you need for that level. You can buy a digital lux meter (for about £25) to test your current Lux levels to see what intensity of lighting suits you best.

I’d love to give you a ‘lighting formula’ to work it out exactly for your space but there are so many site specific variables that change from location to location it’s hard to be super specific.

Good luck Sarah, and If I work out a secret lighting studio formula I’ll let you know.

Will

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Sarah Kellington November 27, 2013

Ha, thanks, Will. Even having one thing to take *off* the list of possibilities is helpful!

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Will Kemp November 27, 2013

Good one Sarah.

Will

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Tom Madden November 27, 2013

Will,
Thank you for your help. I’ve been trying to paint for 10 years or more and had about given up but after seeing your “paint like Monet” videos, I’ve become inspired. I’ll never
be a great artist but I will enjoy painting.

Thanks again,

Tom

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Will Kemp November 28, 2013

Hi Tom, you’re welcome, brilliant to hear you’ve been inspired by the Monet series, looking forward to hearing (and seeing!) your results.

Cheers,
Will

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Simon B December 7, 2013

Hi Will,
Thank you for providing this information.

I’m planning on getting some studio lighting for my wife this Christmas, to be used for light-to-paint-by and for photographing works. Based on what you’ve said I think I might get a Continuous Light Kit Soft Box Set, such as this one – dirt cheap.

My thinking is that one of these would do for general lighting and two for photography, what do you think about using a stand set-up to light a studio?
I presume the 125W bulb (greater than the 85W you mention for what is most like our studio) wouldn’t be too bright, presumably just move it further away?

Thanks again for your great post.

Cheers
Simon

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Will Kemp December 10, 2013

Hi Simon,

With that kit you could just unscrew the bulb from the softbox and screw it into a standard ceiling fitting, it will give you a more even light in the space when coming from above and slightly behind the easel, or just order an extra bulb, and then have the 2 x softbox kit + 1 x 125w bulb. The light source will all be the same colour temperature and you’d be golden, just make sure to delete the dirt cheap part when wrapping!

Cheers,
Will

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Wendy December 16, 2013

Hi Will,
Thank you for the exceptional article on lighting and the studio pictures. I’m currently redoing my studio that has windows on all sides and two full glass pane doors. The back faces north and I’m adding velux sky lights. I’m not sure how many to add. The room is 14′x12′ and I can add two or three 30″x37″. What would you recommend?

Thank you,
Wendy

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Will Kemp December 17, 2013

Hi Wendy,

Really pleased you found the article helpful. Try to think about how you would be using the space, would you have a still life set up one end of the studio and then be viewing the subject from far back? or would you be making mainly in one area?

If you can imagine how you will move around the space, and where you would be viewing/judging your palette/easel from, you can start to judge where would the light fallout and/or sunlight coming in be.

I have 3 velux sky light on a 20′ pitched roof, the skylights all face north so give me a diffused light, rather than any direct sunlight.

Hope this helps,

Will

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Wendy December 18, 2013

Hi Will,
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I will be using the studio for all different painting scenarios so I think I’ll go with two Velux skylights on the north side. Did you get the hardwired or manual? Did you get built in shades?

Thank you again,
Wendy

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Will Kemp December 19, 2013

Hi Wendy, as the skylights are north facing the built in shades weren’t as much as issue for me initially, but if you know there is going to be strong directional light through them it would be handy to have.

Cheers,
Will

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June Cluett December 18, 2013

Hello Wil, your lighting blog has been a God send – thank you so very much! I have a further question for you re lighting for my studio which is nearing completion. We are converting one half of a double garage (floor to rafters) plus the area under the roof of the other half which will be storage and have desk space for small works; using the ceiling/roof of the toilet as a landing for access to the under-roof office/storage space. My main studio space is just over 5m long and 3m wide – I’m thinking to put the Pillips fluorescent tubes u refer to in your blog, in 3 double rows across the width of the studio – and am wondering, since I will be so dependent on artificial lighting, wether this will be enough? What do you think and advise?

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Will Kemp December 19, 2013

Hi June, pleased you found the article helpful.

I’m painting in a 6 x 3.5m space, and in the main painting area that is about 4 x 3.5m I have two banks of 6 x 4ft 36 watt tubes. So 12 tubes in total.

They are hung about 3.5m high. It is very, very bright. I’ve had them installed on isolators so I can switch them off individually if needed so I have flexibility in the space, as – I’m sure you’re finding – trying to work out the exact number of lights is a bit of a headache!

So depending on how low/high the ceiling is, as the light fall off is quite high, the number of tubes you’re looking at will give you a very bright space.

Also, the length of tubes will also effect the total lux level for the space.

Hope this helps to give you an idea of what would suit you best,
Will

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June Cluett December 19, 2013

Wow! That no of lights is more than I expected – and goes someway to explain the nine luminaires Thorn recommended for my studio. I quote – 3 luminaire rows each with 3 luminaires. I have to clarify some of their terminology – but also a LOT more expensive than I anticipated. Perhaps not so over the top as I thought – please let me know what you think! I will be calling Thorn to understand and clarify what I have received from them – do Phillips do fittings for the bulbs you recommend? Thank you once again. I intend buying a Lux meter!

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Will Kemp December 19, 2013

Hi June,

The cost often varies greatly depending on the ballast/housing that the tubes are within.

I used single tube fittings, but had a bespoke box made so I can diffuse the light to my liking.

For single tube fittings from Thorn (I have these in my studio)

To give you an idea of costs:

36 watt – 4ft – single fitting (basic tube included) – £23.70 inc vat
58 watt – 5ft – single fitting (basic tube included) – £23.83 inc vat
58 watt – 5 ft – twin fitting (basic tubes included) – £28.37 inc vat

But it depends what fixings Thorn have recommended. In my previous space (12ft x 12ft x 8ft) I had one light fitting that housed 2 x 58 watt tubes (also from Thorn) that had a built in CAT-2 filter, this was around the £200 mark if my memory serves me correctly. Because I was working directly under it and the light was quite close to the canvas it worked well.

The lux meter is the best way to get an idea for your particular space and lighting you feel comfortable with.

Cheers,
Will

p.s. The other option is to put in the wiring for more lights than you need, start with fewer and see how you get on. Then to drill a hole and wire into the cable with an extra fitting in the future would be a very simple job.

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Tim January 17, 2014

Hi Will, great article, very informative! I was just wondering if those Philips tubes worked out for you, and if you still recommend them?

Cheers TIm

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Will Kemp January 18, 2014

Hi Tim,

I’ve painted under these tubes for the past few years and have found them great. Some recent led lights are getting better and better in terms of the CRI rating, such as these from flolight but the price per unit is still much higher and they are aimed more for the photo professional than home studio lighting.

Cheers,
Will

Cheers,

Will

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Craig Peterkin January 30, 2014

Hi Will,

Congratulations on a fabulous website and article on studio lighting!

I am just about to move into a new house and have the good luck of having a room that I can use as my studio (never had one before and very excited about it). The only drawback is that the windows are facing south west. Will I need to screen these windows to filter the light etc? I plan to follow your example regarding artificial lighting,,,,,would really appreciate any suggestions regarding windows,
Many thanks
Craig

Reply

Will Kemp January 30, 2014

Hi Craig, pleased you’ve been finding the article helpful, it all depends what time of day you’re painting and the position of the windows in relation to your easel setup. Early morning will be fine, it might just be in the summer months at mid day when you get a direct sunlight into your space you might need some screening. But with the weather as it is at the moment – grey, any available light is a bonus!

Cheers,
Will

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John Jamison February 17, 2014

As always, you give us the details we need…clear and on-target. Thanks Will.

As a few others who have written, I’m moving into a new place and have the opportunity to ‘prepare’ a better painting space, so I’m looking for those key ideas. One of my challenges is that I enjoy plein air painting, so I’m hoping to create lighting that can at least ‘roughly’ match what I find outside. Hey…why not shoot big, huh?

Thanks again Will,
John

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Will Kemp February 17, 2014

You’re welcome John, great aim for your lighting.
Cheers,
Will

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June Cluett February 18, 2014

Dear Wil, My new studio is nearly completed – and looks VERY SIMILAR in size to yours – you have been a lifeline to me with your article on studio lighting. I am planning on using the Phillips – 4 foot Fluorescent Tubes 950 Graphica Pro 36 Watt that you mention.
But with Cat 2 diffusers – 3 of them, each containing a pair of the above tubes, so 6 tubes in total…. do you think this will give me enough light to work at all times – or should I push for more lamps?
Thank you once again,
June

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Will Kemp February 18, 2014

Hi June,

Great to hear your studio is coming on well.

With 6 tubes you are going to be super bling! In my previous space the ceiling was about 2.5 m high and I had one twin fitting with 2 x 5ft 58w tubes.

This was super bright on the canvas when I was painting directly underneath it. However, with the Cat 2 diffusers the light is softer but more directional down below the fitting – so the surrounding walls didn’t receive any spill from the tubes.

Total wattage for the painting area – (58w each tube) – Total of 116 watt for an area of around 2m x 1.5m – 3 square metres painting area.

My current studio space has the lights at a height of around 3.5m, so the light drops off a lot more (The fittings aren’t as close to the easel)

In my main painting space (Area of around 3.5m x 3.5m – 12.25 square metres) I currently have 12 x 4ft 36 watt tubes – total of 432 watt

First space with low ceiling, and painting standing at the easel was 29 watt per square metre.
Current space with high ceiling, painting standing at easel is 35.26 watt per square metre.

So anywhere between a 25 watt – 35 watt depending on the ceiling height and your painting height (if you stand or sit)

A square metre wattage of 25 watt is the equivalent of a 1,500 lux with Fluorescent tubes, ( an operating theatre is recommended 1,000 lux)

Hope this helps,

Will

Btw, 1,500 lux is really bright and doesn’t suit every artist, I have each tube individually switched so I can control the overall wattage if its very bright in the summer.

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June Cluett February 19, 2014

Once again you are a life saver! Thank you, thank you!!! I have placed the order for the Fluorescent Pro Graphica T8′s – but still biting my nails on the Cat 2 diffusers – how essential is it to avoid the glare from them and since there isn’t any spill from the tubes on the side walls will I be frustrated by not enough light will on any art work I may put on the walls?
all the best,
June

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Will Kemp February 22, 2014

Hi June, The glare from the raw Fluorescent can be quite strong if the tubes are close to your easel, so it depends on the ceiling height. The spread of the light onto the walls also gets wider the higher the lights are positioned (but his then impacts the strength/number of tubes needed) Think I might need to do a ‘Studio lighting – Part 2′! You can always purchase the fittings without the Cat 2 diffusers and retro fit them in afterwards if the glare is too much.

Cheers,
Will

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karen warshal February 19, 2014

Hello Will,
Thank you so much for so much great information. I wrote to you once before regarding indoor lighting for my studio and you were so kind and your answer was really helpful.
I now have a couple of technical questions about natural lighting. I’ve had a north facing skylight installed in my studio and the contractor did it wrong so they are about to replace it. (It’s too straight and too short and brings very little light into the studio.) Before they do so, I was hoping I could run some of the details by you to see what you think. First of all, the contractor insists that if I use double-pane glass (one sheet tempered, one laminated with an airspace in between) that I’ll lose a significant amount of light. I noticed you put Velux windows in your studio and I know they’re double pane and they usually have a low-E coating which makes them a little bluish. Is that true? Do you like them? I’m definitely getting glass without the low-E coating, but he thinks I should go with single sheet wired glass. I don’t know how this winter was in England, but here in Baltimore it was freezing, so I’d like to be comfortable and not have all my heat shoot out of my skylight! But my first consideration, of course, is the light. What do you think? Have you ever heard anything about this issue of double pane glass?
Also, I’m planning to have two pieces of 5 foot high by 3 foot wide glass at a 60 degree angle. Sixty degrees is the pitch of the ones I’m most familiar with, but I was wondering if bringing it down a little to, let’s say, 57 degrees would be a problem?? Or would it even be better? The more I bring down the pitch, the more glass I can have because I have a height restriction as I live in a historically zoned neighborhood.
I’m so nervous that despite all of the changes we’re making that the skylight might still not work, so any feedback you could give me would be wonderful and so very much appreciated!!
Thank you again,
Karen

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Will Kemp February 20, 2014

Hi Karen,

I’ve personally always found a double glazed option to be preferable, both for warmth in the studio and sound protection. I haven’t found the slight bluish tint noticeable when painting as the window is such a distance from the canvas. The velux do let in light, but not as much as you may sometimes think, as I paint with the lights on even in the daytime on many occasions in the grey winter! (This is with a space with 3 x velux windows and a front of the studio completely made of glass.)

Hope this helps,

Will

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karen warshal February 20, 2014

That does help. Thank you so much!!
Best regards,
Karen

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June Cluett February 28, 2014

Dear Wil, Thank you so very much for your invaluable input to all my questions on lighting for my new studio. You have been such a great help. Here is one more and hopefully the final one on this subject!!! Is there much of a difference between a switch start diffuser and high frequency diffuser beyond the obvious price difference and should I be concerned about it, bearing in mind I intend to work from a monitor in my studio?
all the best
June

Reply

Will Kemp February 28, 2014

Hi June,

I would always go for the High Frequency as they have a quicker start up and are flicker free, both when starting up and when they run.
Hope this helps,

Will

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June Cluett February 28, 2014

Yes, a great help, thank you, Wil ! I have now placed the order and the lights will be installed next Wed March 5th, all being well!
Thanks again for your fantastic advice and guidance, and for throwing light (!!!!) where there was darkness.
gratefully yours
June

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Will Kemp February 28, 2014

Brilliant one June, looking forward to hearing how the lighting turns out.

Cheers,
Will

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Dianne dasilva March 12, 2014

I read this article with great interest to equip my artist’s studio. I purchased a 85 Watt 5500K compact fluorescent bulb and a Paragon Super Sturdy Studio lamp to put it in. I also purchased 4 27 Watt CFL full spectrum bulbs to put in other lamps around my studio. To my dismay, I got a terrible headache almost immediately from the 85 watt bulb. It is so bright that if I accidentally look at it it really bothers me. Is there some sort of diffuser I could attach to my lamp stand to avoid seeing the bulb directly that might help prevent the headaches?

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Will Kemp March 12, 2014

Hi Dianne, so sorry to hear about your headaches with the bulbs, the 85w bulbs are bright. How close are they to your working space? Mine are 4 metres high so are not within eye line. You can diffuse the bulbs with a paper white lamp shade to prevent glare and soften the light.

Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Essie B March 13, 2014

Dianne – I had the same problem with my flourescent before hitting on this solution: being the cheapskate that I am, I taped a piece of white copy paper around the base of the bulb to form a cone lampshade of sorts. (Paper burns at 451 F, and flourescents don’t get anywhere near that hot.) It solved my problem, and no one sees my studio but me – so I have no fear of someone else pointing and laughing. I do plan to eventually getting a proper shade if I can ever find one that fits the fixture.

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Will Kemp March 13, 2014

Thanks for the tip Essie,
Cheers,
Will

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Bella March 20, 2014

Thanks so much for all this clear info, just what I need right now.

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Will Kemp March 20, 2014

Pleased you’re enjoying it Bella,

Cheers,
Will

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Dianne March 25, 2014

Hi Will,
Thanks for all the info. I am working with an electrician who also is certified to work with a renowned doctor at one of the hospitals in the city who works deals with patients who have environmental problems; i.e. : very reactive to EMF’s (electro magnetic fields), given off from what is termed as “dirty” energy. When the compact fluorescents in my lights was tested, it was emitting high level of EMF’s. He will be “grounding” the lamp and installing a new cord, apparently the 2 wire cords are not well grounded. We recently attended a National Home Show in our city and found LED’s that I will experiment with. Next year, they hope to have 12 watt LED’s available. I have one presently lighting a painting and it looks fantastic. It is so nice of you to share this information and I am happy that LED’s seem promising for studio use. Thanks a bunch.

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Will Kemp March 25, 2014

Hi Dianne, thanks for the update, that’s really interesting to know, and super helpful for other artists to be aware of, thanks for sharing. LED lighting does seem to be getting better and better, really hope you can find a good solution for your studio.

Cheers,

Will

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Sheila Etchingham March 27, 2014

Thank for your informative commentary . My head sure aches with the lighting question and had solved it nearly completely with your info. I have converted a garden garage into a Botanical Art studio. I have been in complete confusion ,requiring lots of choc biscuits! The room is 11ftx15ft with windows down the East side. The height is 7ft.
I am thinking of using the Philips Graphica Triphoshor 4ftT8 36 watt tubes (with high frquency battens )but not sure of how many. The electrician has left me wiring in the ceiling for two fittings. I originally thought that just two tubes would be ok but I am wondering if I should have 2 twin fittings(4 tubes) We do use individual table lights for close work. Any advice would be appreciated. Many thanks Sheila

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Will Kemp March 30, 2014

Hi Sheila,

Pleased you’ve been finding the article helpful in your studio set up.

I currently have a square metre wattage of between a 25 watt – 35 watt per square metre depending on the ceiling height and your painting height (if you stand or sit)

A square metre wattage of 25 watt is the equivalent of a 1,500 lux with Fluorescent tubes, ( an operating theatre is recommended 1,000 lux) this is very bright.

To give you an idea, full daylight is 10,752 lux
Overcast day is 1,075 lux
Most homes are around 150 lux

So I’m working at a just above overcast day brightness. Which compared to most homes is super bright.

You’re space is around 15 metres square, so with 2 x 36 watt tubes. (72 watt total)
In my painting space (12.25 square metres) I have 12 x 4ft 36 watt tubes – total of (432 watt)

So I would be tempted to go for the 2 x twin fittings giving your 144 watt.
If you find it too bright (as you also have table lights) you can always take out a tube from each fitting.

Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

Hope this helps,

Will

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Sheila Etchingham March 31, 2014

Many thanks!
I will be taking your advice.
Sheila

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Will Kemp March 31, 2014

Your welcome Sheila, hope it helps.

Will

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David April 19, 2014

Hi,
I found your article very interesting. I am in the process of deciding what kind of light to use in my art studio. I used your link to go to Solux. At their site it says that most artists compose their works under 4700 K SoLux and display under 3500 K Solux. Also that most museums perform their touchup work under 4700 K SoLux and display paintings and artifacts under 3500 K Solux.
In both cases would not the work look different than the artist or retoucher intended when it is put on display?
You recommend even cooler light with the 5400 K CFL bulb.
I’m a bit confused.
Thanks,
David

Reply

Will Kemp April 24, 2014

Hi David,

The light temperature in most display environments are warmer to give a more warm/cosy feel. Most Halogens bulbs are around 2700 K, so the 3500 K Solux gives an extremely natural feeling for display environments.
Kevin McGuire (who invented the Solux bulbs) helped with some clarifications in the comments above so might be able to help out with a more technical answer if you contact them direct.

Cheers,
Will

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Peggy Marra April 21, 2014

Hi Will,
I am in the process of building an art studio. The dimensions are 10′ x 16′ with 10′ high ceilings. I have no windows. I have purchased the fluorescent bulbs you recommended but am having difficulty figuring out how many fixtures to install in the space. Can you advise?
Many Thanks
Peggy

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Will Kemp April 24, 2014

Hi Peggy,

This is an idea of the brightness I work in from the comments above, a word of warning, 1,500 lux is really bright and doesn’t suit every artist, I have each tube individually switched so I can control the overall wattage if its very bright in the summer.

‘In my previous space the ceiling was about 2.5m (around 8ft) high and I had:

1 x twin fitting with 2 x 5ft 58w tubes.

This was super bright on the canvas when I was painting directly underneath it.

However, with the Cat 2 diffusers the light is softer but more directional down below the fitting – so the surrounding walls didn’t receive any spill from the tubes.

Total wattage for the painting area – (58w each tube) = Total of 116 watt for an area of around 2m x 1.5m – 3 square metres painting area.

My current studio space has the lights at a height of around 3.5m, so the light drops off a lot more (The fittings aren’t as close to the easel)

In my main painting space (Area of around 3.5m x 3.5m – 12.25 square metres)

I currently have 12 x 4ft 36 watt tubes – total of 432 watt

First space with low ceiling, and painting standing at the easel was 29 watt per square metre.
Current space with high ceiling, painting standing at easel is 35.26 watt per square metre.

So anywhere between a 25 watt – 35 watt depending on the ceiling height and your painting height (if you stand or sit)

A square metre wattage of 25 watt is the equivalent of a 1,500 lux with Fluorescent tubes, ( an operating theatre is recommended 1,000 lux) this is very bright.

To give you an idea, full daylight is 10,752 lux
Overcast day is 1,075 lux
Most homes are around 150 lux

So I’m working at a just above overcast day brightness. Which compared to most homes is super bright.

Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Anissa May 12, 2014

Great article Will! I’m looking to have a studio built in the garden in the near future and didn’t know where to put it or how to design it! This article has plenty for me to think about and will help in my decision making. Also the other readers’ comments have been very useful :)
Many thanks!
Anissa

Reply

Will Kemp May 13, 2014

Great one Anissa, really pleased it helped.

Cheers,

Will

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Steven G. Thomas May 16, 2014

I am currently building an art studio in my basement. Unfortunately, the only available light in sufficient quantity in a corner of the room…with one wall facing southeast and the other southwest. The windows are from 2.5 feet from the floor to a maximum height of 6.5 feet.Width-wise the windows facing southeast run the entire length of the wall for 15 feet, the southwest wall for 10 feet. The floor is about 4 feet below the surface level so stone covered window wells somewhat mitigate the strong south light. Any suggestions about further softening the south light?

Upon your recommendation I plan on utilizing the Phillips TL 90 lights. But for painting a still life with dark backgrounds what kind of spot lamps would you suggest?

Thanks in advance,

Steven Thomas

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Will Kemp May 18, 2014

Hi Steven,

Hope you’re keeping well, to soften the strong south light you can add diffusion to the windows, so you still get the brightness of the light, without the glare.

Diffusion can vary depending on how permanent you want it to be and costs. It can vary from having semi opaque blinds, or a semi-opaque shower curtain, to having diffusion fabric (usually used in photography light boxes.) to help to soften the light.

To have a balance to the Phillips TL 90 bulbs you would ideally have a 5300K CFL, however, I’ve found you often get either a 5000k or a 5400K that is used for photography studio flash. So it’s a personal choice if you want to go slightly warmer (with the 5000K) or cooler with the 5400K relative to the 5300K of the Philips.

One bulb that I have found that gives an excellent light nice is a 5500K CFL with a 95CRI rating.

The CRI of the different bulbs from photography stores can vary, but I’ve found the Kino Flow CFL Bulb, to have an excellent CRI rating. It is slightly more expensive than other equivalents, but give an excellent light as it had been designed for professional cinema use.

Kino Flow True Match 26w 5500K CFL bulb

The 26W bulb is a good brightness for a medium to large size size set up.

So with the 5300K of the Philips and the 5500K of the Kinoflow you’ll be super, super close. (Kino flow also do fluorescents of 5500K but I found the fittings less adaptable for my personal setup)

Alternatively, you can use a bright LED, that you can more easily change the intensity (you often can’t dim CFL bulbs) if you will be varying the sizes of your setups and don’t mind loosing a little CRI.

Hope this helps Steven.

Cheers,

Will

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carolyn May 16, 2014

How about LED lamps/bulbs? Any suggestions?

Reply

Will Kemp May 21, 2014

Hi Carolyn, you can use LED’s but I’ve found the CRI rating is usually lower, unless you want to invest alot more, or you can achieve a high CRI but they are a warmer tone rather than the 5000K – 5500k range.

Cheers,
Will

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Susan May 22, 2014

Hi Will,
Your article was very helpful to me! I am in the process of renovating a barn into a studio space and the quality of light is important. I have been trying to locate the exact Philips TL-D 90 Graphica Pro Triphosphor 4′ T8 36 Watt Fluorescent Tube in New York and what I found on bulbs.com equivalent is – Philips F32 T8/TL950.
The CRI is 98, 5000K and 32 watt. The knowledgeable man who helped me said that he has not heard of a 36w in the states. The 4′ length only comes in 32 watt. Also the Kelvin is not quite the 5300 that yours is. They are $9.99 a tube. This is the closest I have found. What do you think?
Thank-you,
Susan

Reply

Will Kemp May 24, 2014

Sound great Susan, the 5000K is really perfect as it’s a good white light, you can then use other CFL bulbs for any still life setups etc you have in the studio that can be easily found at 5000K so you’ll be balanced with your colour temperature.

Good luck with your barn renovation!

Cheers,
Will

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Janon Dykes May 24, 2014

Thank you for the informative article- it’s been a big help in sorting out the technical details of light. I have a north facing studio and want to supplement with artificial light, and this has been a very good resource. Love seeing the artists studios!

Reply

Will Kemp May 26, 2014

Great to hear it helped Janon,

Cheers,
Will

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Cathy June 6, 2014

Thanks so much for the great lighting info! Where I am struggling though is what actual ceiling light fixture to use for the 4′ T8 fluorescent tubes (such as the Philips one mentioned by Susan on May 22nd). Am looking to have a four tube fixture, and am at a loss with what might be a recommended and reliable fixture to use. Any suggestions?

Reply

Will Kemp June 7, 2014

Hi Cathy, it depends on the level of illumination you want, you can get fittings with single, twin tubes or four tubes. In the UK the 4 tubes fittings are harder to fine, but in the US, these ones work well:

Cheers,
Will

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Marie June 8, 2014

Hi Will,

Thank you for the great information beats recreating that wheel :) Building a studio similar to yours, unfortunately not lucky enough at this stage to have the natural light component, all in good time, so I will be relying on artificial lighting unless I go outside to play. I would live to see a pic of your studio if completed?

Cheers
Marie :)

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Will Kemp June 9, 2014

Thanks Marie, pleased you’ve found it helpful, good luck with your studio.
Cheers,
Will

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Celeste June 10, 2014

Hello, I’m new at having a studio, and I’m also starting my graphic design business. I just bought some compact fluorescent bulbs that just screw into a regular lamp. They are daylight balanced, 1300 lumens, 5,000k, 75watt bulbs. Only thing that is bothering me, is after reading your blog, I’m not sure what the CRI is. Do I need to find a different bulb, are these too blue? I am willing to invest in some good bulbs, so I can output professional work. Thank you in advance for your reply.

Reply

Will Kemp June 12, 2014

Hi Celeste, the CRI is the ‘Colour rendering Index’ and describes the accuracy of the bulb at displaying a full spectrum range of colours. Natural daylight has a CRI of 100.

You can get CFL that specify CRI, but not all manufactures add the details on the bulb.

If you will be proofing prints in your graphic business then a high CRI bulb will give you the best results. The tubes I use are designed for the graphics industry.

Hope this helps,
Will

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Celeste June 13, 2014

Thank you for your reply, and the link to the bulbs that you use, this helped A LOT!! I am not really sure about getting the long fluorescent bulbs at this time, because this is a temporary home. While I was out shopping around for bulbs I came across CREE brand bulbs LED, if they have a CRI of 90+ and 5000k do you think they would be sufficient enough, till I have a more permanent home? Again, thank you in advance for the reply!! Lighting is my weakness at this point, everyone has to have one ;)

Celeste

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Will Kemp June 14, 2014

They look great Celeste, nice choice.

Will

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Celeste June 15, 2014

Well by their site the daylight bulbs only have a CRI of 80, but their soft white have a CRI of 93. I guess I’m still confused by all this. Thank you for the replies.

John carroll July 6, 2014

Heh Will, Just put down the deposit on a studio for the back yard. 3.6m x 2.7. Also just read that da Vinci suggest a small studio disciplines the mind! It will have Wooden outside cladding, pitched roof, two big windows either side of a glass door south facing. Will DIY the interior in ply cladding and get a sparky to power it up after that. It is a lot fun looking through pics of the interiors of studios online. Erected in four weeks time and should be fully functional before we leave for a 5 week European grand art/cultural tour in our summer. I imagine things will be quite fruitful after that!

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Will Kemp July 7, 2014

Exciting times John!

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John carroll July 7, 2014

The question that was formulating has maybe answered its self after re reading the “colour of studio wall article” in that ply wood walls in a small space is perhaps the best colour. Hang a painting or two up and shelves and that would pretty much cover it. Thus adding a wall colour might be moot. I would imagine that a small space should be easy to illuminate with a soft clear light with this articles advice as well.

Reply

Will Kemp July 7, 2014

Hi John, yes it depends on the mood and feel of the space and the type of paintings you’ll be creating. The wall colour can really change the feel of the studio quite dramatically.

Will

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Alex July 9, 2014

Thank you, Will, for a very useful summary about studio lighting. I would like to use LEDs in my studio–I will let you know what I find in my research.

Best wishes!

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Will Kemp July 12, 2014

You’re welcome Alex, pleased you found it helpful.
Will

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Aisling Kearney Burke July 9, 2014

Hi Will,

I just came across your amazing and informative website. Thank you so much for explaining the lighting in such detail. I was losing hope. I’m hoping to chat to my electrician husband about all this when he gets home!

We’re just in the process of fitting out my brand new teaching studio, here in the west of Ireland and I needed to decide on my lighting tomorrow. I’m planning on getting the Phillips T8′s you recommended and wiring them separately so I can control the amount of light.
My studio space is 5x8metres with 3m square windows on the south and west facing sides. No veluxes unfortunately or north facing light but It’ll have to do for now!
It does have high apex ceilings going from 8ft to 12ft at the top.
My question for you is would I put the bank of lights on the horizontal beams exposed or on the angle of the ceiling?

And also, diffuser or no diffuser?

Your input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for the great info so far!

Reply

Will Kemp July 12, 2014

Hi Aisling,

In depends on the layout of the rest of the teaching studio and main layout for the space. If you’re going to be painting with oils at an easel and have students around the edges of the space having a angled light on the ceiling if preferable because it will help to stop glare from the shine of the oil paint and/or a glass palette if used.

If you’re going for more of a ambient glow then having an even spaced on the horizontal will work.

The Diffuser helps to prevent a glare if the lamps are hanging lower in the space, but will prevent the light spreading onto the walls (it directs the light down more) if you are using them for display.

Hope this helps, good luck with the build!

Cheers,
Will

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katrina July 25, 2014

hello,
I love to paint portraits (abstract) I am not a professional but would love to learn more.
I work in a 9×9 foot steel shed. It has no windows or lights so I wait until the middle of the day @ 2-3hrs worth of good light to do my painting as I take the outside.
Can you recomend a lighting system which would suit the above conditions. I would love to have more time to work on my pieces and learn more as i go.
I am on an extremly tight budget which doesnt help.I appreciate any information you can help me with. regards. katrina

Reply

Will Kemp July 27, 2014

Hi Katrina, the most cost effective solution would be a 85w CFL pendant bulb.

Cheers,
Will

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katrina July 28, 2014

Thank yoy for the information.I appreciate it.
Now I just have to find it.
Beinging in a remote area, in Australia doesnt help sometimes.
Thanks again for your help

Reply

Will Kemp July 28, 2014

You’re welcome Katrina, hope you manage to track one down.
Cheers,
Will

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Anita Mevers August 12, 2014

Will,
Thank you for this very helpful article. I just moved and had to give up my art studio and start over again. The space I have is smaller, pitiful lighting and only one north facing double window. I will take your advice on the T8 fluorescent 4ft fixture. So far have only been able to find 32 watt tubes with the tri-phosphor coating. If you think I should not get the lower wattage, please advise. Once again, thank you and happy painting.
Anita Mevers
Cumming, Georgia (by way of Arkansas and Mississippi)

Reply

Will Kemp August 13, 2014

Hi Anita, pleased the article helped. It’s not necessarily a case of individual wattage, more the combined wattage output for the space you’re working within. Do you can just add more tubes to achieve the light levels that suit your space.
Hope this helps,
Will

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Isabelle Camilleri September 11, 2014

I was looking for lighting information before I purchase the right daylight light source for my small art studio (which is in a basement). I’ve taken note of all the important info…now I’m off to the light shop to purchase my triphosphor flourescent tubes. Thanks so much for such an informative article.

Reply

Will Kemp September 18, 2014

You’re welcome Isabelle, hope it helped.
Will

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Gizem September 22, 2014

I am a turk architecture student,I couldnot find any clear thing about lighting -I’ve been working on my art studio project- thank u so much for these writing,it worked on my project much!

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Will Kemp September 22, 2014

Good one Gizem, pleased you found it helpful.
Will

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Martien van de Griendt September 25, 2014

Hi Will,

I have been following you for some time on Youtube. Only recently i started to read your articles on your website. Both the videos and the site are a great source of information.It covers all the relevant subjects an aspiring hobby painter like me needs. You even share your knowledge about studio lighting, wow.
I recently started painting classes and will definitely recommend your site and videos to my fellow students.
Keep up the good work!

Reply

Will Kemp September 25, 2014

Thanks Martien, really pleased you have been finding the articles and videos helpful in your paintings.
Cheers,
Will

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Jan October 1, 2014

I am new to your site, and love what I have seen so far! Did you finish your studio? I would love to hear how you finished it.
Thanks, Jan

Reply

Will Kemp October 1, 2014

Hi Jan, nice to hear form you, yes I did finish the studio but haven’t put pictures up yet, pleased you’ve been enjoying the site.
Cheers,
Will

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nury vicens October 14, 2014

Dear Will; your article on lighting for your studio is very “enlighting”. i would appreciate if you could give me your opinion on certain facts about converting my one car garage into my studio: i will have to heat it insulate it and put natural and artificial lighting. i thought of putting skylights on the south facing very slanted roof. in order to have even light i can place some kind of sheer shade on it. i understand it will be a good heating source in the winter. i paint on the wall and i chose to do it on the western wall, the light coming from my left, as i am right handed. i live in philly, usa. please let me know.
xxoo, thank you!

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Will Kemp October 17, 2014

Hi Nury, it’s hard to give specifics on your studio setup as each space can vary so much. I’ve got underfloor heating in my studio which I find to be very efficient at keeping it nice and toasty in the cold.
Cheers,
Will

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Andy October 16, 2014

Hi
Thank you for taking the time to create such a comprehensive article.
I am creating an art studio in a 6 x 8 timber shed with windows facing south and north.
Would it be best to have 4 ft fluorescent tubes on the ceiling and if so do you think 1 tube would be enough or would a pair be better.
Are 4ft tube ceiling fitments universal or do they have to be matched to the tubes
Thanks for your help

Reply

Will Kemp October 17, 2014

Hi Andy,
Iif you have a read of the other comments there are more detailed specs on the type of light level that I work in. The best thing to do is to try and find a lux level that you feel comfortable working in (either using a phone ‘lux meter app’ or a lux meter (about £20), and then you can match the amount of tubes to the lighting illumination level that you are most comfortable painting within.

The ceiling fittings do vary, the tubes that I link to the article fit the larger, older ‘T8′ fittings. Currently the newer more slimline fittings (T12) don’t have the same CRI levels in the tubes.
Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Andy October 18, 2014

Hi Will
Thank you for your reply — it is most helpful

Regards Andy

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Will Kemp October 18, 2014

You’re welcome Andy.

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Clyde October 19, 2014

Hello, Dear Will.

I’m looking for the simplest way as a professional to be enlightened enough to my room for a painting. If I would have your recommended lamps (Philips TL-D 90 Graphica Pro Triphosphor 4′ T8 36 Watt Fluorescent Tube 36W), where can I find the stand in which compliance with Bulb Diameter and make good use of lamp options as well? Could you share a link, please, that will help me? Floor lamp type would be the best option for me. I think it would be more convenient when traveling. Thank you so much!

Kind regards,
Clyde

Reply

Will Kemp October 20, 2014

Hi Clyde, most of the fluorescent fittings are designed for ceiling mounting, not stand mounting. The best thing to look for if you are looking for a movable light is a construction ‘site light’ that uses a T8 fitting.
Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Will Kemp June 15, 2014

Ahh, yes, often you’ll find that the warmer the bulb in colour temperature the higher the CRI. But with the warmer colour temperature it makes it harder to balance with natural northlight. So it is trade off between colour temperature and colour rendering.

Will

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