Hi all,

hope this works, my third try to post this, lol.

It seems no matter how I position my easel, with my lighting/where my lighting is, I get either glare or shadow on my painting.  I found an older thread discussing lighting, and from that I understand I need new bulbs (5000 kev..?) at least. I don't usually have the blinds open, and when I do, only slightly, and facing up. Since this room is in the basement, the window is slightly below ground level. It faces south east. 

What is the best easel - lighting configuration? Would using a light clamped onto the top of me easel be the best solution? I cannot change the ceiling lighting (2 globe fixtures in the room).

advice and suggestions appreciated, thanks, Marion

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Lighting is always fun!  How high is the ceiling and what colour is it?  

Easel-based lighting is not usually a good option; it is too local, and the intensity drops off quickly, so lighting is not even.  Ideally, you want the same light quality and intensity on the canvas and on the palette.  Otherwise it is hard to mix paint to match or complement what is already on the canvas.

Direct lighting (source shining directly on the canvas) produces a lot of glare and also leaves shadows wherever there is texture.  I prefer indirect lighting, having the light reflected off another surface onto my work area.  This gives more even lighting and should eliminate shadows from your hand or brush while working.  It also means a stronger light source, as you lose intensity with distance.  That is why I asked about ceiling height and colour.

You can set up lighting from over the shoulder and bounce it off the ceiling, you can even bounce it off a wall if convenient.  Professional studios of any size typically use multiple ceiling lights to get diffused lighting, but the rest of us don't have that luxury!  If the wall or ceiling is other than white, using it to bounce the light will alter the colour you get at the canvas.  A good coat of satin (not gloss!) or flat white ceiling paint will ensure minimal colour shift.  

I have a couple 80W 5000K CFL tubes that I bounce off the ceiling from behind where I am standing.  That gives a fairly good intensity and keeps the area free of glare and hot spots.  The term CFL here is a bit of a misnomer, as the coils are about 12" long and 5" in diameter.  Consequently they need a sturdy stand for support.  They each give off about as much light as a 400W tungsten bulb, but with none of the heat, and a balanced colour temperature.  I found them online -  you are not likely to see them at retail stores due to the relatively small demand (primarily artists and photographers).

A lot of photography books have extensive chapters on lighting theory, layouts, and setups.  Just remember that one does not get in front of the lights in that scenario!  Principles are the same, but the practice is much different.

Thanks Charles!

The ceiling is white (stippled) and "3 stairs" higher than an average ceiling.

After reading what you wrote, I think the first thing I might try are my daughter's photograpy lights, they angle and they have a cover so the light is diffused (and she has an extra set).

The walls in the room are a light grey, so as you mentioned, that would affect the colour the light reflects, unless I hang a non-reflective/flat cloth behind me.  Printing off this advice and taking it to my "studio corner" to see what I can come up with.

thanks so much, much appreciated!

The ceiling height is great - too low and it is hard to bounce the lighting.  Did not see the photo first time around . . 

Your grey is a bit on the warm side, but probably not enough to worry about, especially with the light grey carpet.  Most of us need a bit of warmth to feel comfortable, anyhow - it's not as though you had bright red or green on the walls.

Photo lights are normally high wattage, and regardless of the stated output, typically become warmer (more yellow) with use.  You may still want to look at the high-output CFL tubes for long-term use.  The photo stands would work with either lamps.

Don't see your coffee maker, though .  .     .     

Thanks Charles!

and no, no coffee maker...no more "counter space", lol.....so I have to really really want one to go allll the way upstairs for a refill.  Going to look for those bulbs...

What a lovely cozy studio you have Marion!

Excellent advice from Charles.

In my studio space I switched out my 2 globe type ceiling lights for long, daylight fluorescent fixtures with covers on them. Nothing fancy, just from Home Depot. They can be mounted in the same electrical box the globe lights were in. But then, if you are renting your home, that won't work! :)

Overall diffuse light from above is key. So yes, aiming your photography lights at the white ceiling would probably work nicely!

Hi Karen, unfortunately cannot change ceiling lights so will work around with other options.  Will try aiming lights at ceiling, and buying some other bulbs.  One thing leads to another...



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