Let There Be Light

"Light" was my first soft pastel drawing.
“Light” was my first soft pastel drawing.

On the first day of creation, light came into the world.

Nothing is more important for an artist than light. Without it, we’re not able to see.

A post from the Physics Classroom website, explains it like this:

The bottom line is: without light, there would be no sight. The visual ability of humans and other animals is the result of the complex interaction of light, eyes and brain. We are able to see because light from an object can move through space and reach our eyes. Once light reaches our eyes, signals are sent to our brain, and our brain deciphers the information in order to detect the appearance, location and movement of the objects we are sighting at. The whole process, as complex as it is, would not be possible if it were not for the presence of light. Without light, there would be no sight.

Light enables us to do more than merely “see” objects. It gives them color, as well. A technical definition for how our brain “sees” color comes from Color Logic:

“Color is the visual effect that is caused by the spectral composition of the light emitted, transmitted, or reflected by objects.”

When I first began learning to draw last summer, I gave little thought to light. I would usually grab my sketchbook in mid-morning and sit down at the table to draw between breakfast and lunch. There is a window there with “north light”, but at the time, I knew nothing about light or why the light from one direction could be better than another.

I did soon buy a little table lamp to brighten the area. Sometimes I took my sketchbook outside so I could sit on the porch and draw. Eventually, as I began spending more time on art I moved into what I now call my “art room”. My computer is here, so it was easy for me to sit in my comfy chair, drawing board on my lap, pencil in hand, and watch online lessons and tutorials.

It wasn’t until I began working with color last January that I really noticed problems with the lighting in my art room. I realized that sometimes when I reached for a particular color of pencil, I came up with something a bit different than I thought. More than once, I’ve reached for a green and have grabbed a blue instead. What was going on?

The answer to that question was quite simple, although I didn’t really figure it out until I got up one afternoon and carried a colored pencil drawing into another room. I was astonished by how different the colors appeared.

The truth hit me. The lighting here in my art room…well, to put it bluntly, it sucks.

Earlier this month, I questioned the need to do all those things “real” artists do — stretching watercolor paper, carefully arranging still life set-ups, having the perfect studio — and I knew the answer would depend on me. How far do I want to go in this journey? How much am I willing to invest in myself as an artist?

Without a doubt, I want to invest in better lighting here in my art room. I’m spending a lot of time here each day. I need good lighting. I’m going to go back and re-read a lot of the articles I only skimmed over before.

In hopes of helping other aspiring artists who might be dealing with the same questions, I’m sharing here a few of the links I’ve found:

Art Studio Lighting Design

Choosing a Light Bulb for Your Studio

Choosing Lighting for Your Art Studio

How to Choose Art Studio Lighting

How to Set Up a Painting Studio

Studio Lighting

I’m learning a lot, and with my husband’s help, I hope I make the right decisions and choose the right lighting for my little art room. It’s truly an important step on my journey, and I’m open to any ideas or suggestions.





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