Recently, I received this question: " Hi, I ordered the floor light that you suggested in your newsletter. That lights is used for the room, correct? What kind of bulb do I need for clamp on light for still life setup? The more I read, the more confused I get."
I thought I would start to answer this question by reviewing the colors of light and the effects the color of light has on our painting (and our lives) (Plus, it might explain those cool lightbulb showcases at Lowes).
This is a screen shot image from the Let's Talk Color Art Chat with Linda Fisler featuring Carolyn Anderson (link). In this image, the Kelvin temperature of light is shown to the left and the description matched to a "color" of light is shown to the right (ah ha: the color of the light bulbs in the lightbulb display.)
The floor light that I suggested in my previous post cycles through the warm and cool colors of light . Therefore, your painting area or canvas can be lit in bluer or yellower light. Some of my teachers have suggested that when we light our studios that we put an equal number of yellow and blue light bulbs in our fixtures to "balance out" the light in the room.
Now, what to do about lighting a setup and why does it matter?
As new painters, one reads about "cool light = warm shadows" and vice versa: "warm light = cool shadows" . Hmmmm, aren't all shadows "grey"? We, new painters, feel really amazed when we start to see that shadows can be purple and blue or even filled with bounced light. colors. What on earth is this "cool and warm shadow stuff"? We watch u tube clips and teaching videos. David Leffel and Richard Schmid talk about using natural north light or overcast grey days (respectively) for illumination and talk about the "warm shadows"....they are painting (and seeing???) (Really?)
The first time I saw warm and cool light photographed on the same table leg in Richard Schmid's hardcover expanded edition of Alla Prima II (link) on page 203 AND the change in the shadow color, I was over the moon. Next, at a still life workshop given by Qiang-Huang (link) I was introduced to "gels" to alter the temperature/color of a light bulb. Qiang sells precut blue (north light) gels (link) and discusses how to set them up. He also discusses why he prefers a blue gel to a blue bulb at this link..
This is the light bulb that I use in my clip on hoods (hoods I get at Lowes). Mine came from 1000 lights. Here is a page of them (link). My light bulb delivers concentrated warm light that will cook an orange slice in a skinny minute if placed too close.....I change the color of light with a blue filter, if I want cooler light. I was teaching some kids about color, so I bought several gels from Amazon.
Let me know if this post helps.
My recent watercolor with copper leaf lit in the evening. The light on the copper changes over the course of the day. Evening is very ethereal.
Mom, Wife, Former Pediatrician, One who LOVES color, creativity, paint, and lifelong learning.