Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jefferson Memorial at Night, Lights in the Studio

Jefferson Memorial at Night (DSFDF challenge)
original oil on canvas board, 8 x 10 inch
This was the challenge for two week period for the Different Strokes from Different Folks setup by Karin Jurick. To see everyone's interpretation be sure to take a look. This scene was a night one and I did a quick study of it. Typically, I tend to overdo things so I am trying to stop before I overwork it. I did rearrange the photo somewhat to make a more pleasing composition...at least, hopefully. I also wanted something done simply with an impressionistic look. I also tried to not only make the Memorial the center of interest, but the yellow light the focal point.

Lights in My Studio

Lights for the Studio

These lights are relatively inexpensive to install and add the much needed lighting that painting late into the evening requires. I bought the fixtures at the local Menards for under $20 each. They come with a chain and are easily plugged into an outlet. They do not come with the lights and the S-hooks or eye screws for hanging them. It took me under ten minutes to put each one up. The fluorecent lights that I use for the fixtures have a high CRI rating.

The CRI rating is the color refractive index. Natural daylight has a rating of 100. It is best to buy bulbs that are as high as possible. However, the higher the rating the higher the cost for the bulb. Many times the two bulbs needed for this light fixture will end up costing more than the fixture. I use a mixture of bulbs - one has a CRI of 95 and the other 90.

Here are some tips for hanging them. First, measure off the length of the light and the distance where the chain is on the light. Next, make marks on the ceiling where the light will go. Make sure that there is a wooden stud where you mark off beneath the drywall or use an alternate method of hanging the eye hooks. The eye hooks that I used were long enough to go through the dry wall and into wooden studs that the drywall is attached to. It is important to make sure that they are secured into either wood or that one uses those little blue expansion screws made for securing to drywall. You don't want the light to fall down onto your head.

Once the eye screws are in place it is a matter of putting the s-hooks in them and hanging the chain with the light onto the s-hook. TIP: put the lights into the fixtures prior to hanging them and make sure the lamps are secure in the fixture! With my first attempt, I put the fixture up and then put the lamps into the fixture. I thought everything was peachy, stood back to take a look at my new lights and "CRASH", one of the lights fell out and onto the floor and broke into a million tiny pieces all over the entire studio. I am still picking up pieces of glass. Unfortunately, it was a bulb that was a pricey one. It wasn't one of my better moments.

Also, I used to have just one fixture over my easel, but I opted to add another one for more light. Another benefit is that I can easily photograph my paintings right at the easel without worrying about glare. The overhead lights typically do not glare onto the painting and the photograph is typically the right color with only slight adjustment needed.

If you are looking for more light in your studio, this is an easy and inexpensive way to get it. I also mounted one of those extension plug-in strips onto my wall. It makes it easy for plugging in a variety of accessories, including the lights. By the way, the lights are easily turned off and on with a pull-chain.


r garriott said...

Lovely! Very nice subtle shades, pleasing composition.

Vern Schwarz said...

Maryann, this has a really nice feel to it. I really like the composition and looseness of this painting. Your painting Three is Company is beautiful as well.