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How to Light Artwork


How to Light Artwork

When you find a painting that you love, and especially when you spend money to get it custom made, you want to really show your new piece of work off! One easy way to elicit ooohs and ahhhs is through putting the proper lighting on your artwork.

Here are 10 tips to get your piece looking gallery-perfect:

  1. Oil paintings are often more difficult to light than water color or acrylics works. This is because of the texture of the work and the glossy coat. Don't put a light directly on the painting. Instead use a broad based light source.

  2. Don't rely on natural light. UV rays can actually damage paintings.

  3. Beware of heat damage! Make sure the light source is not so close to the painting that it is heating it, which could cause the work to warp. You can easily check this by feeling with your hand if the painting or light source feels too warm.

  4. Halogen lights, while hot, are a recommend choice for lighting artwork. They are a bright source of light and as a bright white light source, won't case their own colorings.

  5. Incandescent lights will cast their own coloring, which is warm and yellow. This actually works with many palettes like blue greens and yellows and reds

  6. But a mix of both Halogen and Incandescent often produce the best effect

  7. Avoid colored lights. Unless the artist has recommended it, this will change what the art is supposed to look like.

  8. Floor lights, recessed lights, mantel lights. All of these work, really it's about what you prefer, aesthetically.

  9. But picture lights should really only be used on heavy frames, which can hold them both aesthetically and physically!

  10. A 30 degree angle on the light will help with glare.

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