Lighting Your First Art Studio

Lighting is important, but we are not all endowed with custom built studios flooded with natural light, so let’s learn to improvise. I’ve seen artists create masterful works of art under a variety of lighting conditions. All you need is a relatively balanced set of lights and enough of it.

By balanced I mean two things:

  1. Lighting is evenly distributed
  2. The Lights are not too cool or too warm (color temperature)

Now you know not to attempt to create artwork under a giant, red, blinking Budweiser sign or your colors may be wildly off when you showcase your artwork to the rest of the world.


Any regular fluorescent, incandescent, halogen, or led arrangement designed for normal home or office use will suffice. I actually opt for using a variety of lights and have learned to improvise. Right now I have both fluorescent shop lights (cool color temperature) and incandescent track lighting (warm color temperature) illuminated my studio space.

The warm and cool lights balance each other out and give an overall whiter light than each kind individually. The track lighting is nice because I can adjust the position of each light individually or turn off individual bulbs. Sometimes I do this when I’m trying to limit my lighting while working on a still life.

Whatever lights you choose, just be aware of how your lighting affects the colors in your artwork.

Assess Your Lighting

If you hang your artwork in a well lit room and find yourself saying, “It looked better when I was working on it.” then it’s time to make some adjustments to your studio lighting.

What kind of lights do you prefer to work under?

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