One of the most key essentials you need as a visual artist is a good lighting setup in your studio. It can be tricky knowing what the right bulbs to use are, and deciding how/where to place the lights, but it is very important to get it right. Using proper lighting will help you see the correct value tones in your painting.
The best way to see your true color tones in your painting is by looking at it in direct sunlight at noon. The sun brings out the perfect warm/cool balance in every painting. Since we cannot have the afternoon sun 24/7, the goal is to try replicating this type of lighting in your home studio.
To start, you’ll want to assess your studio and make sure you have the space/capability to set up your lights. If you work while standing in front of your easel, you should have your lighting right above you on the ceiling. This makes it so you don’t have any shadows from your hand while you’re drawing or painting. If your ceiling is too tall, you can use tripods to put your lights on, or have them hang higher over your easel.
When you’re considering how many lights to buy, remember; you need to illuminate the entire surface of your easel evenly. We suggest having a minimum of one light on each side of your easel, so the tones are balanced. If the light bulbs are too small and your entire easel isn’t lit evenly, you’ll probably want to have more lights. It is very important that you have warm light bulbs. Some stores carry natural lighting or sun lighting and a lot of people say they are warm, but they aren’t. Warm lighting brings out the true colors of oil paintings and so it is better than neutral or cool lighting.
Especially if you are learning how to draw or paint, you want to make sure the lighting isn’t causing any issues that would hinder your learning. Now, you can create in an environment where you can see the natural true tones of your artwork.