Perhaps THE most important resource a visual artist has is light.
I’m lucky to have two windows in my office/studio. Neither one faces north, from which streams the best light for artists so they say, but I’ll take them. I also have overhead lights which came with our circa ’70s house, and which now have compact fluorescent bulbs in them, a few lamps with various types of bulbs, and a couple of those clip-on task lamps for my drawing table and big work desk.
My favorite one of those is my flexible Ott task lamp which hovers over my small drafting table. It offers a high quality of light which seems most like daylight to me. Even so, especially if I’m working with color, I prefer to produce art during the day than at night.
Does that have anything to do with my nearing-50-year-old eyes? Probably. Also, I have to wear reading glasses for close-up tasks now, and pay attention to small details. Case in point: One recent evening, I made a couple of illuminated letter “S’s” in an Ottonian style, in which gouache is used inside and around the gold leaf. I put them in vintage gold frames, whose double mats I painted gold, and sold one at an art show. The other I photographed to list on Etsy.
Now the letter, only 2 inches tall and 1 1/4 inches wide was not perfect, but it looked fine to me at a small distance. I don’t mind slight variations in hand-lettered art – that can add to its charm. But when I uploaded the photographs and my little letter was magnified dramatically on my computer screen, I saw a couple of areas I couldn’t live with. The red gouache had been thinned just a bit too much and left a drippy effect near the top of the letter (and I’d missed a wee spot elsewhere to boot!).
I carefully un-framed the letter and took it back to my drawing table. Daylight, and this time a magnifying glass, did the trick.
I touched up the areas, took new photos and reframed the piece, and now it’s up on Etsy.
I’ve also discovered that for fine work, I enjoy using a mini Ott flip light right beside whatever I’m working on. It can be clipped to the side of a small box or jar or piece of matboard to illuminate a project while I’m working. I like these so much, I bought one to share with you! Just leave a comment by midnight EST Monday night, Nov. 19, sharing what kind of light you like for your work or hobby, and you’ll be randomly entered to win.
A fun way to brighten your day!
In other news, I’m beyond honored to be featured today on Julie Hedlund’s terrific blog, talking about writing and artsyletters.