I’ve Seen the Light! (And the light is good)
September 17 2021 – Bart Watkins
As an amateur artist with big dreams of professionalism, I wonder sometimes if my opinions mean much of anything. If you want big words and lots of technical terms about art studio lighting, this is not the blog for you. However, if you are like me- starting out on your journey, leveling up your supplies, and trying to navigate a world of art that doesn’t have any specific rules to it, then stick around because this is a good one.
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let me introduce myself. My name is Janie Clark. I’ve always been artistic in nature but I recently made the decision to shift my priorities and push art right up to the top. I left an corporate job with incredible pay but little to no free time in exchange for this venture. I knew in taking that step, I was going to need to fully commit to this journey and one of the most daunting things that came with that was the looming need to really research and upgrade my tools. What is an artist without their brush, right? Well not quite. I probably own 70-100 paintbrushes but only use about 6 regularly if I’m being honest. I’ve seen finger paintings which demonstrate incredible talent and beauty. So what did I need to upgrade. Well if the title of this blog didn’t give it away, maybe this photo will…
What you’re looking at is various images of the same painting. I’ve tried to always paint by natural light. I prefer the feeling and it’s the closest I’ve found to consistent. Well until I realized it wasn’t. If you notice, each of these photos shows
a different version of the blue/green background. Let me be clear- this background was done in one sitting- it hasn’t changed throughout the entire process. So what did? The light. I was getting glare if the light was behind me and inaccurate vision of my colors if it wasn’t. The bottom middle photo is cringe worthy to me at this point because I started painting more at night and used *shudder* fluorescent lighting!
So what’s a starving artist wannabe to do? Welp. I don’t do anything small- go big or go home? Dress for the job you want? Fake it til you make it? That’s right friends- if I want to be a professional artist, I decided it’s time to try professional lighting- specifically the ML-Direct Art Studio Light made by Method Lights.
The opportunity admittedly fell into my lap so I did not have to try to navigate the waters of professional artists and their technical terms that often overwhelm me. Whether self-loathing or trying to own and learn my artistry, I read some of them anyway. Talk about amping up my ever present imposter syndrome! But fear not- I am here to give you the simple version of my experience- does the light actually make a difference? Did this one work well? Is it easy to use? I am pleased to say this amateur artist says yes, yes, and yes!
First off, let’s start with “does proper art studio lighting actually make a difference?” I’ll let you be the judge. I immediately tested this on the painting I showed you above.
Am I the only one who felt my painting had completely leveled up? I got giddy and felt like my art was hanging in some gallery and I was so in love with the colors! The light did not dull them and it didn’t alter their appearance or contrast as I was concerned it might. I could paint at night with confidence that I wouldn’t wake up to a different color scheme than I had intended. This is a huge bonus for someone who works nights and loves to paint to decompress after a shift.
I will say that the dimmer setting did not give me the same feeling. I would perhaps use this setting for artistic photography of my work, but for actual painting purposes, I preferred the brighter light. The light also has warm and cool settings which do seem to change the colors I see slightly. This could very well be a function I just don’t have the expertise to understand, but again, my aim here is to give you a comprehensive perspective of a starting artist trying to upgrade.
Next up- was it easy to use? Yes! Oh my gosh yes! When I received the package with the light, I was nervous because it was literally just a box with a light bulb and a remote. I was worried about not knowing what I was doing but this was not the case! The remote is extremely comprehensive. And SO useful for someone who never wants to get up when I’m in the artistic flow. I don’t have to- I just point my remote and adjust the light as needed. The one thing I wish I had known and maybe should have had I thought about it was that this bulb is heavy. It can be used in any place a normal lightbulb can but it does not weigh what a normal bulb does.
Exhibit A- my poor, sad lamp
Exhibit B- a creative mind
has a creative solution
If the only downsides to this product were my wimpy lamp needing some reinforcement and the light having capabilities I have yet to tap into, I would venture to say that’s a pretty good sign. As with any new art supply, there is sure to be a learning curve. While there may be experts reading this shaking their head at my lack of expertise, I love playing with a new toy and learning hands on. This art studio light has given me the opportunity to do just that. With its ease of use, the difference it makes in creating, and its affordability, I would certainly recommend this product to a friend. Especially one wanting to heighten their skills and professionalism on their art journey.