The Care and Feeding of Acrylic Paintings Part II – Lighting
What’s the right way to light a painting?
Too much light is not only unpleasant, causing glare and reflections, but it can actually damage the painting over time. And of course too little light means you can’t see your art!
Sunlight is always too much light. It will fade all art over time (not to mention rugs, curtains, and upholstery). If you have walls that receive direct sunlight (through a window or skylight, for example) those are not the best places to hang fine art paintings.
What about those cute little lamps that hook right onto the painting’s frame? They look so professional, so museum-like, but actually they’re not a good idea. Even though these lights are not terribly bright, the fact that they’re so close to the surface of the painting means that they do cause fading over time. So, no frame lights.
The best lighting for art is recessed ceiling lights. Placed about 2 or 3 feet from a wall, they wash light down across the wall. They can appear quite bright, but being much farther away from the painting means they are much safer for the artwork’s longevity.
It is not necessary to install specialty lighting to illuminate your art collection. As long as you can see the art, it’s lit well enough! But if you do have the opportunity to install recessed ceiling lights, track lights, or other specialty lighting, you will be amazed how good your art looks. Good lighting makes art “pop”.