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What is the Best Lighting for My Painting?

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What is the Best Lighting for My Painting?

Your painting will look different depending on what lighting you have for it. Natural ambient light will create a nice feel for your painting during the day, the colors subtly changing as the sun rises and sets during the day. At night, however, you will be fully reliant on artificial light. Have you ever noticed how great paintings look in a gallery setting? Art galleries will use warm or cool-toned spot lighting to bring out the colors in certain parts of the painting, intensifying the light on the painting's center of attention, for example. You can imitate this effect in your own home by installing halogen directional spot lighting in the ceiling above your painting. These lights are surprisingly inexpensive to install (an electrician can install them in a few hours), and if you wish you can purchase the fixtures yourself online. There are lots of options for low-wattage spot lights, as well.

Many houses are already fitted with some sort of recessed ceiling fixtures. These can be adapted to directional spot lighting with minor handyman work. Even without direct lighting on your painting, however, the artwork will still look good with nearby incandescent lighting. The one thing you want to avoid is hanging your painting behind a hanging chandelier, which will cast a direct glare spot in the middle of the painting, without highlighting the natural colors and texture of the painting. A light that is angled from above, or even from the side, will allow you to see the thick brushwork, see each subtle variation in color, and truly enjoy the painting in a whole new light.

A good website to look at directional spot lighting is Lighting Direct.