Art Studio Lighting

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In an art studio lighting is key, but finding the right lights can be tricky, as I’ve found out in this process. My favorite lights so far are linked in this post. Lots of trial and error over the last 18 years of freelancing has definitely made me aware of what works best.

What is the best lighting for an art studio?

When I opened the boxes for the lights, I was both impressed and intimidated with the quality and size of the lights I picked out. I literally laughed and said there’s no way that will work when I opened the light for over my main painting desk because I thought it was WAY too big for the space, but in reality it’s the perfect scale. Anything smaller would have looked silly.  Somehow I missed the “18 inches in diameter” part of the description and thought it was more like 12 inches.  It’s a gorgeous light.  BUT IT’S NOT 12 INCHES.

It’s also a soft, barely creamy white on the exterior.  Mixing cream and white does not bother me, and I loved the powder coated finish so I didn’t repaint it.  This light would be gorgeous in an office or entry, and also over a kitchen island.  It also comes with a chain, and three different lengths of bars to help you get the right length.  I will be adding the 4 inch bar to my light one of these days I think so drop it just a tad more.  And honestly now that I’m looking at the photo below, I might add the chain too because I love the detail the little circle attachment pieces give.  So pretty.  It’s a very well made light and I’m thrilled about it.  Not sponsored, I bought it with my own hard earned money.

You can find all of the lights I was considering on my Art Studio Pinterest Board, as well as a few other gems. And be sure to give me a follow there while you’re taking a peek! I pin lots of fun art and gardening things to several boards constantly.

What light is best for art?

When we built our house we picked a layout/lot with as much natural lighting as possible. North lighting is ideal for artists because of its consistency throughout the day; it’s not too bright, or too warm. It’s also beloved because the coolness of the light helps see nuances in the shading and color changes of items being painted. 

Our house faces south west (ish) and my main studio window faces north east which is pretty close to ideal.  I did have to add cellular shades because the afternoon sun reflecting off the house next door can be too bright if I’m not filming or photographing something.  I will have to post more on those later because I’m also very opinionated on the two types of shades I tried.  Love one, can’t stand the other.

If you’re wondering what the little silver mount is next to my light, be sure to check out this post on overhead camera set ups for more info.  Since the light was larger than I expected I need to move this little guy 3 inches to the left.  As soon as I find the stud finder again.

How do you light a painting studio?

I wanted a cozy place for to work and to wind down in the evenings, and thought picture lights would add a little warmth to the space.  Our electrician is an absolute gem, and wired this room to the hilt for me with all kinds of outlets, and cans, and light boxes.   Apparently I plug in a million printers, Cricut machines, drawing tablets, pencil sharpeners, chargers, etc to get any work done.


The picture lights I chose are from Lamps Plus, and they actually come wired to plug in.  My husband cut off the cords and hardwired them in upside down so that the hole from the cord doesn’t show.  I was nervous about how the hole would work out, but it worked perfectly.  And as far as picture lights go, these were a very affordable option.  I was surprised once again at the quality for the price I paid.  They are nice and heavy, and substantial lights.  The name of the picture light is “Upton 10 inch wide plug in Antique Brass Picture Light” in case you have trouble finding them.  

I’m not entirely sure why on the website they photoshopped out the cords in every picture except for these two.  And it’s odd that they took it out in the bottom of this pic with the painting but not the top.  But they definitely come with a cord.  And your electrician can install them either way.

Best Lights for an Illustration Studio

Here are both links once again for you just in case you had trouble finding them in the post.  Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out my Instagram and Facebook pages too!  Don’t forget to pin this image to pinterest so you can easily find this post again when you’re ready to get your lights!

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