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Old 12-11-2006, 06:15 AM
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MChesleyJohnson MChesleyJohnson is offline
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Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting

I'm interested in artists who have recently built a truly "dream" studio. I'm specifically interested in your use of studio lighting, whether natural or artificial.

I'm also interested in artists who have lesser studios, and who have found inexpensive ways to cope with studio lighting on a tight budget.

If you fit either of these categories, I'd love to hear from you. I am in the process of researching an article on studio lighting for one of the magazines I write for. If you're interested, PM me with:

1) Which category you fit ("dream" or "making do");
2) A brief description of your studio and lighting situation; and
3) A snapshot of your studio.

This will give us a place to start a discussion. I can't guarantee, of course, that I'll use you in the article. If I do, I will want some high-resolution photos (slides or digital) of your studio with the lighting shown.

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from a few of you.

Michael Chesley Johnson
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Old 12-28-2006, 09:23 PM
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TWC44 TWC44 is offline
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting

Michael:

I am shocked that no one has stepped up to the plate on this one. I have been watching in anticipation so I can learn more about building a dream studio but still no takers.

I am just starting out when it comes to painting (less than a year) and the creation of my dream studio. I currently have a 22' x 24' heated and insulated dream workshop / soon to be art studio. Fully drywalled, tile floor, furnace.... It is currently home to my woodworking machinery and tools, my art supplies (studio easel and pallet table I made) etc... and my motorcycle. Relatively well organized with a couple of desks, many cabinets and machines against the walls. I currently have 12 - 4' double florescent lights controlled by 3 switches. When extra light is required I have a 500 watt halagen light I made plus 2 - 250 watt lights on a single tripod I purchased. I have 5 windows in the building. 2 - 36" x 40" windows facing east, 2 - 36" x 40" windows facing west and 1 - 36" x 36" window facing north. Also on the north wall there is a 7' x 9' insulated garage door and a 32" x 80 man door.
Hope this gets the ball rolling now and more people start replying to this post. Come on people I need some more idea's. What do you have?

Best regards, Tim
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Old 12-29-2006, 07:52 AM
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting

Thanks, Tim! Wow, that's a lot of light. Is it too much? Some artists say they actually have to put up shades to block the light. I did so in my last studio. The northern exposure was insignificant, but I had many BIG windows to the south and east. In the morning, I had to shutter most of the windows!
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Old 12-31-2006, 02:51 AM
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting

dining room at home, table and all, with chandelier hung high close to the ceiling, and a de- shaded floor arm-lamp. my favorite golf hat relieves the need for the shade.lol
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Old 12-31-2006, 05:49 PM
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting

Hello Michael!

For the moment, I'm in the "making do" category! I have a dance studio, and I took a little corner to get my painting things organised.
The lighting is a problem, as the walls are deep yellow and bright orange, and it is in my basement... I compensate with a lamp, directed on my easel.

Mondays, tuesdays, and wednesdays nights my painting stuff must remain quiet... and I can paint for the rest of the week nights, and the week-end!

My beloved just made me a wonderful gift: he crafts some large pine shelves, and a canvas older, in pine also, to store all my stuff, and my WIP'S! All of this is put over a little desk, where I can store so many things... and on the desk is my FEasel, folded! Here is a picture! The desk has some little wheels, and I just roll it over to paint, putting my easel next to it! There will be a curtain , for the days I teach dance! I was so happy!

Hope you get lots of pm's for the article!
Shadia

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Old 01-01-2007, 07:58 AM
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting

Pete - I like the golf hat idea.

Shadia -- so neat and compact! and such a cheerful colour, too!

Happy New Year to everyone.
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Old 01-06-2007, 09:24 PM
walden walden is offline
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting

I would consider my studio a big step above making do-- it's more like the best solution I can afford right now. We built a deck, and I ordered a greenhouse kit (aluminum frame with corrugated polycarbonate panels). I use half for gardening, and the other half for painting. Here are some pictures:





The greenhouse overall is 5' x 9', so the part I use for painting is about 4.5' deep by 5' wide. It is shaded by natural colored canvas panels mounted on the deck superstructure outside, and my painting area faces east, so I have excellent bright shade for painting every morning until around noon, and all day on cloudy days. Plus, as the polycarbonate panels are corrugated rather than flat clear, the light is diffused and refracted, so it seems to be coming from everywhere. The light is just the best I've ever had to paint under.

Of course, I only do small pieces in here. My large easel is out on the deck, on the portion shaded by translucent polycarbonate panels, which provides good, bright shade until late in the afternoon. So, I only paint large on nice days-- which is most of them, as I live on the Texas gulf coast.

My greenhouse cost just $800, which is certainly a bargain studio, especially considering that I didn't have to buy elaborate lights (I have just one, mostly for gardening in the evenings, although I did use it once to supplement the natural light while painting on a REALLY dark, cloudy winter day.) And, I have a little heater, for cold days, and a fan for warm ones, so I stay fairly comfortable-- just being out of the cold wind is a big plus in the winter.

Anyway, this is a good, affordable solution for artists with a limited budget. All sorts of greenhouse kits are available-- check out greenhouses.com for a great selection.
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Old 01-13-2007, 11:32 PM
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting

Hi Michael,
I took my master bedroom and made it into my studio. I have outside access so people don't have to come through the house and the walk in closet makes a fantastic storage room. It also has the bath, so that means that they don't have to leave the studio for anything...

I have a tv attached to a bracket in the corner of the room so I can play a media portfolio while people are here, I have recorded music with them so I have a little bit of ambience going on while they are here... I usually have a small fountain going and candles for fragrance and I have light snacks (chocolate or fruit). I try to hit all of the senses... that is when I have people in for a viewing.
I have tract lighting in the studio... there are nine lights up at this time... I can add or subtract lights as I want and place them to accent paintings as I want... when I rehang paintings I adjust the lighting as needed.

When I am painting I like to play music or watch (or rather listen) to the tv. I have a pretty good size window and a door wall in the room, so natural lighting is pretty good. I can also turn on the tract lighting... I have 3 different switches for that, so I can turn on some of it or all of it. The tract lighting makes the room a little warm some times and I live in Florida...so I use it sparingly, each halogen bulb is 25 watts. I don't have the lights on in the thumbnails below. But if you notice I do have a small ceiling fan in the storage room (closet), I work in there on the table to frame or finish off my prints and it get stuffy or warm in the closet with no windows, so I put the fan in.

I love my studio, but some times it is to small... I keep getting more "stuff".
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Last edited by kcm : 01-13-2007 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 01-15-2007, 11:49 AM
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting

I have a nice studio right out the back door, if I would only make it so. A few years ago I built myself a very nice little woodshop, but I’ve had to give up woodworking for health reasons I have just about every kind of woodworking tool out there and I hate to sell them off. If I make myself to clean it out, it would make a very nice studio.


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Old 01-15-2007, 09:59 PM
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting

Gee pa-paw the floor is so clean for a wood working shop. I use to do wood working in my basement when I lived in Michigan and I put up a plastic room to keep the dust off my painting stuff but everything still was full of saw dust. I had to cover everything. You have a very nice shop.
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Old 01-15-2007, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcm
Gee pa-paw the floor is so clean for a wood working shop. I use to do wood working in my basement when I lived in Michigan and I put up a plastic room to keep the dust off my painting stuff but everything still was full of saw dust. I had to cover everything. You have a very nice shop.

Thanks for the compliment, Kathy. I had to work out of our garage for more than twenty years until finally building the shop, so I take very good care of it. It gets pretty messy from time to time.
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:54 PM
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting



My wife - she designs beaded jewelry - and I share this studio, a converted carport. The studio is 11x22 feet and we have a storage room approximately 5x7 feet. We have all sorts of lights, both fixtures and portable, but never seem to have enough. I think we have it pretty well organized.

Photos: Top Row - looking to storage room; one wall in storage; 11 foot wide work counter with cabinets, drawers, and vertical shelves.
Bottom Row - Brick wall with paintings, bookshelves & computer; looking to work counter and my painting area.
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Old 01-31-2007, 12:41 AM
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting

Well, I work in watercolor exclusively, and have currently set up my studio in the bedroom (because that's the only room I heat in winter & cool in summer). To light my work, I bought the tabletop Ott-lite, a 13-watt 'daylight' fluorescent bulb, equivalent to about 60 watts of lighting.

I consider lighting so important that it was my 3rd purchase, right after the 'lot' of tubes of W/N artists' quality paint on Ebay, and a couple Escoda brushes from a shop in Florida that did mail order. Later, I purchased some balanced swirly fluorescent daylight bulbs from Home Depot, also 13 watts, and use one in an "architect's lamp" (the swing-arm, spring-tension type) to light a setup if I'm painting a still life. I find, looking at my hand under each lamp, there is practically no discernible difference in the lighting of these two bulbs, but the swirly fluorescents were only about 3/$12, and a lamp to put it in isn't much at a place like Target. (Friends bought me the lamp as birthday gift last year.)

Unfortunately, I don't have a camera, so you can't use photos of my studio, but perhaps some of this information would be a good sidebar. One other thing I might mention... I have a number of very old slides I took decades ago, and a slide projector. I rigged a 'rear-projection' system from some 1/2" PVC piping with frosted mylar (rolled up around one pipe when I'm not using it), and just bought a couple replacement projector lamps on Ebay -- with shipping, I paid $28 for the two bulbs, and they only last about 30 hours (each). But it is quite wonderful to paint in front of the screen from a projected slide.

Very few people use slide projectors these days, and apparently slide projector lamps aren't manufactured much any more. Ebay is a good source for old, but unused, stock.
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Old 01-31-2007, 01:05 AM
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting


This is my back yard with a few friend over for a cook out a few years ago. The little house in the back will be the studio as soon as I finish fixing it up. Right now it is storage but I am setting up shelved for supplies working from the back to the front. There is a window a/c but no heat as yet. Someday soon it will be heated and ready for moving all my "stuff" out there. Cross fingers for me. LOL
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Old 02-05-2007, 02:09 PM
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Re: Have You Built A Dream Studio? - Lighting

I have one word on this, SKYLIGHTS!!!!!
I can comment on the 4 studios spaces I've worked out of over the past 20 years. The best for me is any space with skylights. I use a lot of track lighting for nighttime work. I spent some time at as artist in resident at Morris Graves Studio a few years a go. He had a huge skylight in the middle of his studio right over the center work table. I work in a small studio these days, but there is a skylight and stove, so it's good. Next studio we build will have a skylight right down the middle. Light, heat, sink, the 3 basics. I can live without a sink or heat, but must have good light!!!! Annie
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