Build your own French Mistress...

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


I first posted this DIY onto my own blog early in April of 2013. I thought I'd re-post it here with a few edits to help better understand the dimensions and materials I used. I built this paint box for my studio to replace the way-too-small palette I was using before. How they got the name "French Mistress" I have no idea, other than maybe the folks at Richeson were feeling bawdy in the naming office one day. Anyways, I took some photos along the way so I could tell you how it was built. The box holds a 16x20 sheet of glass for a palette.

Materials:

Sheet of wood, at least 44"x18"
Glass panel, 16x20"
6 poplar square dowels, 36"x3/4"
Wood glue.
Wood finish
Shellac.
2 12" piano hinges
8 decorative corners(optional)
2 brass toggle catches
Enough acrylic paint to cover a 16x20" panel. Colors: white+black/umber/etc (your choice)
Silicone caulk

Step 1: I planned out what I needed. I took a sheet of birch plywood that I bought from OSH, but whatever sheet of wood that you prefer should work. The one I used was slightly less the 24x48, with a 7/32" thickness. I also got 6 each of the 36" poplar square dowels with a 3/4" thickness.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box

Step 2: I carefully measured where I needed to cut the square poplar dowels down to the size I needed to make the parts of the box. I cut them down to these sizes:
  • 2 each at 21-3/4" in length
  • 4 each at 10-13/16" in length
  • 6 each at 17-3/4" in length
I then cut opposing 45° at the ends of each of these newly-cut square poplar dowels.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 3:  I cut the sheet of birch plywood into 3 separate pieces:
  • 1 piece at 21-3/4" x 17-3/4"
  • 2 pieces at 10-13/16" x 17-3/4"

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 4: I then glued the square poplar dowels to the freshly cut birch panels. It helps to have C-clamps to make sure they adhere securely to the panels, if you have them handy.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box

*Sidenote: If you want to make these into cradle board canvas panels, simply stop here and glue canvas to the front side of the panel.

Step 5: I next applied several coats of wood finish to every exposed part of the wood with a bristle brush.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 6: Once the wood finish dried, I applied a couple of coats of shellac to each side of the panel. I then waited a few minutes for it to dry.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 7: I then screwed the piano hinges to the sides of the poplars so that the hinges fold inward. This will make sure the box closes shut. Be careful to line up the hinge with the edge so that the box closes straight.


DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 8 (optional): I screwed in 8 decorative corners to the box (4 on the bottom, 4 on top). Not only do they help protect the corners from getting banged up, but they add a touch of class to the box.


DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box



Step 9: I screwed one brass toggle catch on each side of the box lid. This will make sure the lid doesn't open if you move it.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


  Step 10: I like mixing on a toned palette, so what I did was take a mix of white/burnt umber/red oxide acrylic paint (well mixed, no streaks), covered one side of the glass, let it dry, flipped the pane over, then set it aside.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 11: I spread silicone caulk and applied it to the sides and corners of the box, and created an "X" in the center of the box.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 12: I set the glass painted-side-down into the box, let the caulk dry to seal the palette to the box, and then laid some paint down on it!

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Optional mods: I drilled a screw into the side of the right-hand box lid. When I slide my palette cup around the screw, it makes sure it doesn't slide everywhere when you're using it. I also cut 4 foam squares to glue to the corners of the lid. This will cushion the lid when you close the box, as well as help it the box top lay flat while closed.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Let me know if you have any improvements to the set-up! I'm all ears.

Bonus! Link to the Youtube video: http://youtu.be/D1YjqYtqbxg



Sergio Lopez
Sergio Lopez
Painter and Instructor, Sergio's passionate about painting the figure and blogging about his experiences as a plein air and studio painter.
You can also find him here: www.themainloop.com      CONTINUE READING MORE

Easy Clean-Up for Your Mineral Spirits

Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam



Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
1. Sealable "brush-washer" (turp can)

In my last post, I mentioned that one of my staple, travel supplies, is a small zip-loc bag. Here is a quick tip to make cleaning your turp can easy. I use this method both when I travel and in my studio. The small-sized zip-loc works equally well in my large, studio-sized container.


  Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam  
2. Dirty odorless mineral spirits



Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
3. Remove center brush washer

  Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
4. Remove old zip-loc bag








Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
5. Zip up the old mess

  Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
6. The can is clean and the
bag ready for proper disposal


Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
7. New zip-loc

  Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
8. Insert it into the can

Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
9. Press bag to the bottom of the can

Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
10. Fold the sides of the
bag out

 Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
11. Ready to replace the brush washer

Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
12. Place brush washer in before
adding spirits

Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
13. Press brush washer back into
place and fill with spirits.


Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
14. Seal the clean can


Tip: Easy Clean-Up for your Mineral Spirits, by Lori Putnam
15. Ready to go!



Lori PutnamLori Putnam
Artist and Instructor, Lori combines her passion for painting from life with her great love for travel. After spending six months each year on the road painting, she enjoys time spent working in her studio. Find Lori at: www.loriputnam.com or: www.loriputnampaints.blogspot.com    READ MORE

Social Networks For Artists, Part 1: Facebook

Tips: How to Make Your Art Go Viral by Sergio Lopez


A big part of being a professional artist these days is learning how to use online social networks for marketing your work. I put this guide together with the intention of helping other artists who are trying to build their fanbase online. I think I’ve learned enough tips and tricks that most of you who are navigating this new terrain can learn something useful.

Please note: Though I have been using social media to promote my art for years now, I make no claims about being an expert. I do feel like I know what works for me at this point. These are just how I like to use these sites, and would never say that these are the only ways to use them, or even the best.

As with any other way to put yourself out there, the best marketing tool you have is your own good art. Not only are you trying to get your work out there yourself, but you are also trying to get other people to share your work for you. The better your work is, the more people want to show your work to other people.


Choose the Networks that you Enjoy


In order to get the most out of your network, you are going to have to spend a lot of time building a following on it, so make sure you actually enjoy being on the network. It’s not supposed to feel like a chore. The creators and managers of these networks want you to have fun on them so that you stay on their sites. You don’t have to be on every single network. It’s way better to master a few of these rather than spreading yourself too thin, not to mention being bored. Spend that time becoming a better artist instead.


Have a Plan


What are you hoping to get out of this network? Do you want a lot of fans? Once you have those fans, what do you want them to do for you? Having the answers to these questions will give you a good idea for what you want to focus on for these networks.


Put in What You Put Out


Social networks rely on their users not only creating interesting content, but also sharing quality content. People like to be turned on to interesting links and pictures, but for every thing you think is awesome, there is probably someone who thinks its stupid, so you should be careful.There is a thin line between under-sharing and over-sharing.


Facebook


As much as people tend to gripe about it, Facebook is still by far the biggest social network and it’s going to be here to stay. It’s becoming as ubiquitous as Google. Most people, when they want to find artists to follow, they search for them on Facebook first. The more you know about the way it works, the more people see your work and comment on it.

How to Gain More Authentic Followers


Upload your Art to Facebook Instead of  Linking it from Elsewhere

This may sound a little obvious, but Facebook gives priority to things happening on their website (it keeps people on Facebook instead of going elsewhere). This means that your uploaded photos will stay in your friends’ news feed longer than photos linked from other sites.


Change It Up


Since Facebook broadcasts just about everything you do to your friends and followers, it’s to your advantage to make sure those things are about your art. For example, changing your cover photo, or profile picture will show up on your friend’s timeline so why not make it a picture of your art, or anything else you are trying to promote? A picture of your art with some info about an upcoming show is the perfect thing to make your cover photo.


Join a Popular Art Group


There are a lot of Facebook groups of just about any interest. Just look for anything in the search bar and something will come up. I think joining the ones with the most members are the most advantageous because your work will show up in the group feed regardless if they are your friends or not. You are hoping to pick up new friends and fans by posting where there are a lot of new eyes to look at your art. Remember to upload directly into the group instead of linking from your page onto the group. Things tend to stay at the top of the group feed if they are more popular in terms of likes or comments, and for some reason groups favor work directly uploaded to them. Some groups have thousands of members, so it’s a good opportunity to grab new fans.

Start A Fan Page


Besides all the extra tools, you get to promote your artwork. It’s just a good idea to have a separate page for business versus personal reasons. People who are only interested in your art, and don’t care about your political leanings or love of fluffy animals can follow you on there instead. So keep it about your BUSINESS!

Pages have insights, which tell you about how many people are looking at your page, how many people are looking at individual posts, and how far the posts are reaching virally. Viral reach on Facebook just means how many people are interacting with the post in some way. Are they liking it? Commenting on it? Sharing it? That is what you’re hoping to happen.

Don’t be afraid to spend a little bit of money to get more people to look at your page. The biggest bang for your buck is “Promote.” For as low as 5 dollars, you can get up to 3 times the amount of people who would normally see your post. Here’s how it works:


.Tips: How to Make Your Art Go Viral by Sergio Lopez

You can see how it scales. Personally I’ve never spent more than $15 to promote a post, but it always pays off residually because of how many new fans I end up picking up afterwards. It is the cheapest advertising and you know exactly how many people you are going to reach.

Remind People to Like/Comment/Share Your Art!


Having people like/comment/share your art on Facebook is what makes it spread. Sometimes you need to give people a reminder to do so. Think back to how much new art you’ve seen because a friend of yours shared someone else’s work. Don’t only encourage your friends and fans to do this, but do it for other artists as well!

Something I’ve noticed happening lately are pages that post a picture and ask people to solve some sort of riddle about it. These are extremely effective ways to get people to comment on your photos, therefore making them show up on their friends’ feeds. Perhaps there is a clever way to come up with something that will compel people to comment on your picture while still relating to your art?

Coming up next: Part II - Twitter, Instagram, and Vine.



Sergio Lopez
Sergio Lopez
Painter and Instructor, Sergio's passionate about painting the figure and blogging about his experiences as a plein air and studio painter.
You can also find him here: www.themainloop.com      CONTINUE READING MORE

7 Tips: Packing for a Painting Trip

Tips - 7 Tips: Packing for a Painting Trip by Lori Putnam

I am often asked how to travel by air to a painting event. I'm not sure what it is about packing for a flight that seems so much more daunting than packing your car. Like most of us, you probably over pack when you travel?

Here are some tips to help you get better at packing light. You will appreciate it even when you are driving to your local beach or mountain range.


(NOTE: You will find live links in this post to the brands of supplies I use. I hope you will try them.)


1. Pack less than you need.  You already know this one, yet still, you don't listen to yourself do you? Pack no more than 2 bags: One bag will hold most of your clothing and a small bag of paint. The other bag will hold most of your paint gear and a second small bag of paint. You may also pack an optional carry-on, just remember that now you have to be able to maneuver with 3 items. It helps if your carry-on tethers to your luggage easily or is a back-pack style.


2. Invest in a luggage scale. For $15 you can purchase a small luggage scale which could save you hundreds of hours of worry or hundreds of dollars.

3. Use your paint back pack as your carry-on. In addition to your make-up and jewels, items to be included in your carry on luggage (should you opt to have that added piece) are things that would be very difficult or expensive to replace such as your easel (needs to be a compact style for this. I will be posting soon on my latest equipment find); your brush roll with brushes (I like Grand Prix Super Brushes by Silver Brush be sure to remove palette knives), and 1 or 2 PanelPaks with clean panels (just enough to hold you over until they locate your checked luggage if it is stuck somewhere in transit).
Tips - 7 Tips: Packing for a Painting Trip by Lori Putnam
PanelPaks, labeled with size. 
Small stack goes in my carry-on.

Also pack business cards, event and travel contacts, schedule, maps, tickets, and other information in your carry on luggage for easy retrieval upon arrival.

Pack your voltage converter for whatever country you are visiting, camera, charger, memory cards, and other expensive electronics like computers and iPads in your carry-on (or do without them for a week... even better).


Remember to pack the luggage scale. You will need it when you return to weigh all of those wonderful souvenirs you bought.

4. Do not expand your luggage. Speaking of souvenirs, whether or not you are the typical souvenir-buying-tourist, likely you have experienced that things just don't fit right when you pack to come home. You always wish you had a little more room for some reason. If you flew to your destination without expanding the extra  expando-zipper on your suitcase, you will be able to do that now and have plenty of room for your stuff to fit. Just don't forget to weigh it!

In your checked luggage you will obviously need clothing (my list is shown below) and your remaining paint gear.  

5. Prepare supplies carefully.


Tips - 7 Tips: Packing for a Painting Trip by Lori Putnam
PAINT: (I like to use Blue Ridge Oil Colors) Carefully wrap each tube of paint with bubble wrap and label the outside with the color name. Tubes often punch holes in other tubes if you do not do this. What mess when you squeeze really hard and all the paint comes out of a tiny hole into the palm of your hand. 


The length of travel determines how many tubes of paint I will need. For a week-long trip, I will pack 1-large tube of each color PLUS an additional tube of white AND 2-small tubes of each color. Then I place the tubes in thick zip-lock bags; the large tubes in one and the additional large white and small tubes in the other. 

Next, I place a sheet of paper in each of the zip-lock bags that reads:

ARTISTS' PIGMENT ENCLOSED.
The US Department of Transportation defines "flammable liquids" as those with a flash point 140 degrees F or below. Artist grade oil colors are based on vegetable oil with a flash point at or above 450 degrees F. THEY ARE NOT HAZARDOUS.

If you need to confirm this, please contact TSA at 866-289-9673 or their Hazardous Materials Research Center at 800-467-4922
.
To contact this traveler, dial (insert your phone number here).


I used to always include the MSDS (Manufacturer's Safety Data Sheets) with the tubes, but have not done that in a long time. These can usually be found on the manufacturer's web site or on artist supply web sites. Th
ere's a copy of the full MSDS sheet on artist's oils on the Plein Air Liaison Social Network Blog here should you want it use it.

I put one bag of paint in EACH piece of checked luggage. This is a safe-guard just in case one gets lost or confiscated, I will at least have enough to get me by a few days until I can purchase more. By the way, knock on wood, I have NEVER had a single tube of paint taken from me. If asked, never refer to your paints as paints.  Refer to them as artists' pigments.

PANELS: I like RayMar Art Feather Lite Panels 4 or 5 for each day x 7 days = 28 to 30 panels. Put half of your panels in one bag and the other half in the other.

WET PANEL CARRIERS: (for carrying wet paintings) I have two PanelPaks (which you can purchase at www.panelpak.com) in each of the sizes I like to paint. These are thin and lightweight. Each PanelPak will accommodate 2, wet canvases that are the same size. Be sure to throw in some extra bands in case you lose or break one. When assembling PanelPaks with new, clean, panels, place the canvas side out. This will help you easily identify which ones have usable panels in them and which ones already have beautiful works of art safely tucked toward the inside.

OTHER GEAR: 

  • Back-pack (can double as your carry-on luggage, or used to provide extra padding in the top of your suitcase)
  • Plein air umbrella
  • Rain poncho or jacket
  • Flashlight and clip-on book lights (for painting nocturnes)
  • Utility tool and cork screw (seriously, cork screw is on my list)
  • Painting hat
  • Palette knives
  • Sketchpad and pencils
  • Empty, seal-able, OMS container* and small zip-lock bag
  • Small roll of wide, transparent tape
  • Mediums (I like Gamblin Galkyd Mediums) which are allowed by law (see manufacturer's specifications)*



Tips - 7 Tips: Packing for a Painting Trip by Lori Putnam
Collapsible cooler.

Collapsible cooler (makes great padding for potentially breakable toiletries) Use frozen bottles of water and have cold drinks and snacks all day.



*DO NOT take mineral spirits on flights. You can get them at your destination. Your first stop, after your glass of (readers, insert favorite beverage name here), should be (in order of preference) a local art store, hobby shop, or home restoration store to purchase Odorless Mineral Spirits, White Spirits, or Turpentine and other mediums. I prefer Gamblin Gamsol.  In a pinch, use the local olive oil instead of OMS. Just don't confuse which bottle is for your back pack and which is for your dinner!



When you get to your destination, buy paper towels, baby wipes, sunscreen, bug spray, snacks, and water and save your grocery sacks for trash.


6. Ship your frames. If you're participating in a plein air festival, you will also be required to frame your work. Here are two possible options: 1.) Pack a small box of framing gear which includes hanging wire, strap hangers and screws, point driver, wire cutters, and screw driver. Have frames drop shipped to the location from your supplier. 2.) Pre-wire frames for horizontal hanging (you can always change them if you paint vertically). Ship frames, point driver, wire cutters, and screw driver to your location.

Whatever method you choose, pack extra promotional materials (business cards, workshop brochures, copies of your bio, etc.) to have on hand or affix to the back of your painting.If I am teaching a workshop, I add Workshop Booklets, 1 per student,' to this list.

7. Pack 3-days' change of clothing and washing powder.

Here is a copy of my personal packing list:


  • Painting clothes (shorts, jeans, tees, layers) for 3 days. Check the weather reports for the region and pack accordingly. No matter what picture you have of a place in your mind, there is no reason to show up in Carmel in a bikini if it is only going to be 62ยบ for the high.
  • Under-garments (Okay... so my list actually says bras and panties... substitute boxers or briefs if appropriate.)
  • Head wear: barrettes and hair ties
  • Belts: formal and informal
  • Footwear: Hiking shoes, tennis shoes, or boots (as geography demands) and socks; sandals if appropriate
  • Sleepwear
  • Dress clothes, jewelry, and nice shoes if needed (for opening receptions, networking dinners).
  • Prescriptions and over-the-counter remedies such as Advil.
  • Personal Hygeine: Lotion, make-up, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, razor, hair products, and soap (assuming you are not staying in a luxury spa hotel that supplies these for you).
  • Laundry detergent (dry or dissoluble sheet type) and Murphy's Oil Soap (for removing oil paint from clothing).


Tips - 7 Tips: Packing for a Painting Trip by Lori Putnam
Once I arrive at my destination, I squeeze
paint on my palette and pack my back.
I'm ready to paint at a moment's notice.




You will probably question a few of the items I use (like the transparent tape and small zip-lock listed).  I'll post more on that soon.

I'm certain there are lots of other great ideas out there. This is just what works for me. It's become routine now. Hopefully it will help you too.



Lori PutnamLori Putnam
Artist and Instructor, Lori combines her passion for painting from life with her great love for travel. After spending six months each year on the road painting, she enjoys time spent working in her studio. Find Lori at: www.loriputnam.com or: www.loriputnampaints.blogspot.com    READ MORE



The Secret of Successful Artists


Tips - The Secret of Successful Artists by Linda Rosso


It isn't just about talent, or production. It's about organization. 
Don't fall into the trap of fearing marketing. A marketing plan is simply a way to organize all the activities you do (or want to do) to connect you and your art to potential collectors.

Do you need one? Yes. It will help keep you focused.

Does it need to be more than a page? No. Well…maybe a few pages.

What should it include? 
Marketing textbooks outline four fundamentals: product, pricing, distribution and promotion. In plain English this means: what you are selling; at what price; where you will sell it and; how you will promote it.

Your product is you and your art – your reputation, your style – or in marketing terms, your brand. The essence of this should be in your Artist’s Statement, distilled to a short phrase. As in Monet, the Impressionist. Edgar Payne, painter of the American West. Or Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light. (You get the idea.)

Your pricing is based on factors including experience, size, competitive analysis and demand. Write down your prices. You can revise and update them on an annual basis.

The most detailed part of your marketing plan should focus primarily on distribution and promotion. Carefully identify your target audience, because the strategies for reaching them can be very different.  

Your distribution strategy is based upon where your potential collectors are likely to be looking for art. Typically, you will strive for a mix of channels: retail and/ or gallery representation and open studio/direct sales and perhaps licensing. Marketing channels can be physical bricks-and-mortar locations or online. 

Tips - The Secret of Successful Artists by Linda Rosso
Promotion is showing and telling your story to the audience you want to reach. Utilize marketing tactics such as: postcards to announce Open Studios to collectors; a blog about your process for students; a press release about an exhibit opening to reach local newspaper readers; a Facebook business page to share images of your art. 

The final part of your marketing plan should be measurable goals of what you hope to accomplish in each category. Use real numbers, and real dates. Last year, I set a goal to double the number of paintings sold and to double the income of my art business over the previous year. It was a huge stretch*, and the net effect was it kept me focused on making art. 

Here is a simple, sample marketing plan you can use as a basis to create your own.
   
Product:                     
- John Artist, Plein Air Watercolorist of Coastal Maine

Pricing:                       
- $2.00 per square inch, unframed           

Target Audience:     
- Second home-owners, boat-owners and vacationers in New England
- Primarily couples, aged 35-65

Distribution: 
- ABC Marine Art Gallery for large works
- XYZ Hotel and Resort for small works
- Area gift shops for notecards and prints
- Personal website for commissions
Summer’s End Open Studio Sale

Promotion:               
- Advertising in Coastal Maine visitors guide
- Free postcards in XYZ Hotel and Resort guest rooms
- Letters to home decorators specializing in vacation home market
- Display paintings at high-end home furnishing stores
- Exhibit at marina restaurant
- Exhibit at yacht club
- Social media: Facebook, Pinterest
- Thank you notes to all collectors

Goals:                        
- Increase e-mail/mailing list of potential collectors by 250 by October
- Get 5 commissions to work on during next winter
- Meet with 5 decorators to show portfolio
- Get commitments to exhibit at yacht club and marina restaurant
- Pinterest boards to follow decorators and pin my images weekly
- Create a Facebook Business Page by February
 -Sell 50 paintings by year-end
                                                           
Be realistic. Or stretch a little. Go big, and if it scares you, scale back your goals. The important thing is to make the commitment to write down your plan. You don't have to share it with anyone, and you will have a personal scorecard to measure how well you are doing in marketing your art. 

Good luck! If you have questions, leave them in the comments.

*I met my goal for the last year and my current goals include: create more art (product), diversify my distribution (add Open Studios to the mix) and create a regular schedule of promotions.



Linda Rosso
Linda Rosso
Artist and Marketer, Linda has found the sweet spot between stuff she loves to do, stuff she’s good at and stuff someone will pay her to do. You can find her marketing help here: www.artistmarketingguide.com and her art here: www.lindarossostudio.com         READ MORE


How to Light Your Space


Tutorial: How to Light your Space, by Carole Gray-Weihman

The winters are a common time for us plein air painters to head indoors and work on studio pieces based on sketches we’ve created during the warmer months. But many of us have had a difficult time creating the perfect lighting environment in which to work in our studios. Painting indoors may seem easy in comparison to weathering the elements en plein air. But, we’re so used to painting in natural daylight conditions that when we come inside, we have a whole new set of issues to work with.
The most ideal studio lighting is a condition where the light is not too warm and not too cool in color temperature. Creating that can be done in a number of ways and sometimes it takes trial and error. Suppose we have a working studio space where we want to create an even distribution of light without the aid of ambient light from north facing widows or other light sources—lighting that would particularly come in handy during evening painting sessions.
It makes common sense that the color of your light will influence the colors on your palette and your painting. The hues will shift warm or cool directly proportional to how warm or cool the lighting is. The quality of the light even effects how intense or how light or dark your pigments appear.
How do we choose the right color temperature of our source light?
Below is a Kelvin chart that illustrates that lower color temperatures are warm colors and high color temperatures are cool colors. Ideally, I’d shoot for 5000-6000 K for color temperature as it best represents daylight conditions. Generally, professional galleries will use 6000K to light the artwork.


Tutorial: How to Light your Space, by Carole Gray-Weihman

A standard incandescent light bulb illuminates objects with a warm light. So, if you are using this type of a light bulb, you can place a bluer light (IE. 7000 K) next to it to compensate. But, incandescent lighting isn’t really ideal. The bulbs are more expensive and not very energy efficient.
Compact florescent bulbs (CFLs) come in many different color ranges, so you can pick and choose depending on what other lighting influence you have in the room. CFLs are more energy efficient and illuminate objects more brightly than incandescent bulbs.
When purchasing CFLs, check the Color rendering Index (CRI). The CRI indicates how much an object’s color is effected by the light. You’ll want to select a CRI within the 80-100 range for an ideal brightness. Higher CRI numbers are important where true color is important .
Next, you’ll want to judge how much lighting you’ll need. This is a little trickier to estimate. The size of your room, the height of your ceiling, and the colors of the floors and walls will all influence the color and the quality of the light.
To get a pretty good estimate, we need to figure out what Lumen output to shoot for. A Lumen is the measurement of light that’s emitted from a source. With LED lights, Lumens are directed forward. With incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, Lumens emit in all directions. Note: Lumen output can be reduced as much as 30% when bulbs are placed behind a glass fixture. 
Let’s do some math!
A 32 Watt Compact Fluorescent bulb emits 2000 Lumens
First, determine your square footage. My studio is huge, but the area where my studio mates and I hold our classes is only about 600 sq ft. Having a set up where you can adjust the lighting for the work area versus the gallery area of your studio will not only lower your utility bill, but it will create a more functional environment for everyone.
Determine the foot-candle needed. A foot-candle is the measurement of how bright the light is one foot away from the source. For a studio situation, I recommend a foot-candle of 70-80. This range is also the equivalent to what many home builders use to create the ideal lighting for a bathroom or a kitchen area.
To determine the amount of Lumens, multiply your square footage by your foot-candle requirement. IE. A 600 sq ft working studio space which needs a foot-candle of 70-80, will require a 42,000-48,000 Lumen output total. That sounds like a lot of Lumens! But, when you think about spacing lighting across a ceiling hanging over a 600 sq ft work area where you want an even distribution of light, it makes sense. You may need to make an adjustment on your Lumen output if your ceilings are low. I recommend shooting for the lower Lumen output of the range you determined, just to try it out, and then add more lighting if you need it.
To completely control the light in the room, use blackout drapes on any windows.
Here is a link to a website that has great prices for CFLs: http://www.warehouse-lighting.com


Carole Gray-Weihman
Carole Gray-Weihman
Painter, Instructor and Founder-CEO of Plein Air Liaison, Carole loves engaging with other plein air painters, teaching and painting the landscape. She also enjoys web design and social media. You can also find her here: www.gray-weihman.com       READ MORE
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