Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lighting a Studio Still Life

A few days ago I was asked how I do my lighting for still life painting. The question was whether the lighting on "Berries in Blue Pitcher" was one or two lamps. I thought I would share my answer here and show you a couple of pics of what my lighting setup looks like (not elegant in the least!).

"It is actually one incandescent lightbulb (100 watt) in a silver metal cone that is about 10" across. A shop light basically.

I have a 1 x 2 piece of lumber from floor to ceiling that I can attach the lamp to. It's off to the left of the setup.

I do have a wall of black foam core on the left so the shop light peaks over the top and gives the lighting on the background and since it is wide it also peaks around the front edge of the foam core wall (and an extension...whatever was handy) giving the light falling on the front of the objects. This type of side lighting is important for light and shadow (chiaroscuro) painting, it gives you a structure of light and dark, and moves your eye from left to right.

You know, I have never had anyone teach me how to light a setup until I started studying with Deb. I have learned about cool lights, day lights, incandescent lights and what effects the light has on color.

I am using an incandescent light bulb like you would use in a living room lamp which gives off a very warm light. That means my shadow areas will be cooler than my light areas in color temperature. When people talk about painting in north light (which is very cool) their shadows are warm and their lights are cooler in relationship."

Thanks James for asking!!!!

Close up of "Berries in Blue Pitcher" (Work in Progress)

"Berries in Blue Pitcher" 16 x 20" Pastel on Wallis (Work in Progress)

Spent some time in the studio today working on the background mostly, and a little work on the pitchers adjusting color, shape and value. Will be working on it in class on Thursday night, and will post my progress.

1 comment:

Carolina said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, Cindy :)