The Care and Feeding of Acrylic Paintings Part II – Lighting

October 15, 2007 at 9:31 pm

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”.

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Entry filed under: Acrylic, Conservation.

The Care and Feeding of Acrylic Paintings Part I – Storage The Care and Feeding of Acrylic Paintings Part III – Hanging


Barbara J Carter

I'm an artist. I make paintings with dots.

I work in acrylic paint, in a couple of distinct styles: landscapes and abstracts.

Native to California, I've lived elsewhere and only recently returned to my home state. I now live in Los Angeles.

I mostly show my art in outdoor festivals in California. I also occasionally show my work in art galleries or open studio events. You can see an up-to-date list of upcoming shows on my website (click here).

I invite you to sign up to receive my free email newsletter, in which I list my upcoming shows and talk about my latest work. I send it irregularly, a few times a year.

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Follow me on Twitter: @barbarajcarter

Why I call my landscapes neo-Pointillist landscape paintings

A bunch of my abstract dot paintings

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