04 November 2014

New Art Studio Lighting System

For the last few years my easel has been lit by 2 19W BlueMax CFL bulbs.  I liked the quality of the light, but there were two problems with this set up.  First, the spot lights created glare and hot spots on the canvas.  Second, they weren't bright enough on their own, I needed some daylight, too.  That meant I could only paint at certain times of the day.  Very frustrating.

My old easel lighting...2 spots with 19W Blue Max cfl's.

Last week I finally solved my studio lighting problems by replacing the spots with 2 ceiling-mounted T8 fluorescent fixtures, pictured below.  This is more than enough light for my 11'x16' studio.  I'm using 4 Phillips 20905 T8 32W bulbs per fixture.  The bulbs have a light temperature of 5000K, which is a crisp white, with a CRI of 98.

Even though the fixtures include diffusers, it was important to mount the lights on the ceiling in the right spot to avoid any canvas glare.  Mine are mounted directly above and slightly behind my head when I'm standing at the easel.  The light hits the canvas at about a 10 degree angle, which produces no glare at eye level.

My new studio lighting system...2 4-tube T8 fluorescent fixtures

I can paint exclusively under these lights, so no need for additional daylight, which means I can paint at night.  Added bonus...I can photograph my work on the easel with good results.  I just set my camera custom AWB to 5000K and colors are accurate.

Cost for the system was around $300 USD.  That's a good deal considering how essential good lighting is in the artist's studio.