"Paint for Fun! I don't care whether it succeeds or not. Let success come along afterwards." William Morris Hunt

Throw Some Light On the Subject
© 1998 Nita Leland

Full-spectrum light in your studio is a must if you want consistent color in your painting. It's easier on your eyes and is said to be better for your health than other lighting, too. Even oft-revered north light isn't as great as you might think. Coming in through windows and skylights, north light is more consistent than other light, but it still changes throughout the day and is virtually useless on extremely dark, stormy days and, of course, at night. Incandescent light is too warm and regular fluorescent light is too cool. Even combining warm and cool fluorescent and/or incandescent bulbs doesn't give you optimum lighting.

The best solution is full-spectrum light, which is now available in both incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. My experience over the past 15 years has been with full spectrum fluorescent light, so I'll tell you a little about that. As I understand it, anything measured over 5500K (degrees Kelvin) and 91CRI (Color Rendering Index) is considered full spectrum, meaning that it is closely matched to sunlight, which is around 7500K and 100CRI. The lights I use, Vita-Light Plus by Duro-test, are rated at 2750 lumens, which indicates the brightness of the illumination. So I enjoy bright, non-glare light that blends with daylight and gives me good color rendition for my exploring color studies. These bulbs are also long lasting. Many other bulbs are also available. I did a quick search of the Internet on the key words "full spectrum" and found many sites, including Ott-lites, Verilux, Spectralite and Chromalux.

You never know what kind of light will ultimately shine on your art, but if you create it under full-spectrum light, it should look good in any kind of light.

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