Welcome to my Studio
There are many sources available that describe and teach art techniques in all of the artistic medias. Rather than repeat information that is readily available, it is my intention to present topics that I feel are equal to or more important than the ability to develop good painting techniques. Instead, I would like to discuss other aspects important to a developing painter such as composition principles, painting from nature toward abstraction, painting from abstraction toward nature, and I may throw in some mixed media technique discussions. I hope you will participate in the discussions by posting your comments. Thanks for dropping by.
Visit my website www.davidreeves.ca for a complete view of my work. (All Content Copyright © David Reeves.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Studio Lighting

Well it has been way too long since my last posting.  A faithful viewer sent me an e-mail wondering if I was still walking the earth so I suddenly realized there were readers out there and I have not held up my end.  The only excuse I have is that it has been a very busy year and so posting has taken the back seat - no more!  Thanks Mitchell for your encouraging words and interesting discussions!

I see in the last post I had intended to talk about studio lighting next.  Not perhaps a very exciting topic but important for those that spend much time painting in a studio situation.  And I do love my studio - it is a place of sanctuary away from the rest of the world where I do what I want to do.

Most writing on the topic of studio lighting will say that north facing window light is ideal as it gives a good source of natural light during the day without the effects of direct sunlight on your work.  Obviously this is not always available depending on your studio circumstances.  In my case we built a double car garage attached to our house about 10 years ago and chose a design that included an upstairs room with dormers built into the roof that I could use as a studio.   Since our house faces south, I have one main wall in the studio with the dormers facing south and the other wall with built in skylights facing north.  One of these skylights is the opening type with a screen so it also helps to provide cross-ventialtion in the summer months.  So I get a mixture of south and north light which provides for a good source of diffuse lighting during most days.

It is still necessary to supplement the natural lighting most days (we get fog sometimes here on the east coast) and so I have multiple sources of electric lighting.  My main source for watercolour work on the drafting table or the rolling cart is a "daylight" lamp.  This can been seen sitting on my drafting table at the right side edge in the picture in my previous posting and also in the third photo below.  This is about all I need for close-up work like watercolour painting.  It uses a 20W daylight spiral bulb which is equivalent to a 100W incandescent bulb but produces a very natural light.  I have noticed that similar bulbs are now available at hardware stores as well as for fluorescent lights.  These day light bulbs are a great improvement over the cool white fluorescents or the yellow incandescents as they do not bias the colours you are painting.

Aside from the daylight lamp I have 2 overhead fluorescent fixtures each controlled by separate switches and also in the centre of the room an overhead fan/light combination which admittedly produces an incandescent yellow tone but it mostly gets washed out by all the other light sources.  Overall this lighting set up gives me enough flexibility that I can adapt to most conditions through the year.

Here's a few photos to accompany the descriptions.  If you have any other lighting solutions I'd be interested in hearing about them.  Thanks for viewing.

One of the studio dormers looking south
An opening skylight facing north

My Daylight lamp with storage in the base

The view from the other studio skylight looking north across the Kennebecasis River.


  1. David,
    I am so glad that you posted a new post!! I to have enjoyed our discussions and you have given great food for thought about water color painting. Your work is so spontaneous and creative it just speaks to me. Have you thought of putting the twisty bulbs in the ceiling fan light sockets? I do that here, you goose neck lamp on your desk looks just like the one I use for chair caning. (with the twisty bulb in)
    I will tell you that I would love the south and north light that your room has, as I could grow plants and flowers inside.
    Again I am so happy that you are posting again, I am so glad that we met and corresponded, you are a really nice person David.

  2. This is what I like about having a daylight bulb: it makes colors more true and vibrant than other types of artificial lighting. Also, it causes less glare and eye strain. Did you know that energy-efficient versions of daylight bulbs last up to 10,000 hours? How environmentally friendly, right?

    Cody Stephens