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.
I had never heard of an Ott light. Very nifty. I’m passing this on to my friends who also have eyes that might not see as well as they used to. 🙂
Thanks so much, Susan! For some reason this post was not attracting
mothscommenters until you shared the link! I’m glad the little light will go to someone’s good home. :0)
I do needlepoint and embroidery and an Ott flip light like this would be BRILLIANT help for that! Thanks for the chance 🙂 🙂
Hi, Emilie! Oh, it would be great for those fine little stitches. Thanks for visiting!
That’s really cool– I never saw one of those before. Love your illuminations!
Thank you, Liz!
Those Ott lights come in all shapes and sizes. Great for all kinds of tasks.
I’ll have to get one of these lights for my painter daughter. And I love your capital S!
Hi, Robin – Thanks so much for coming by! (And for your kind comment.) :0)
Thanks for showing us the “before” and “after” — very interesting what you miss if you don’t look carefully! I guess a magnifying glass can be a good artists’ tool.
Great to see you, Tabatha – thanks! And I’m finding reading glasses and a magnifying glass coming in handier and handier…. ;0)
Daylight works best for me, which means my available art time shrinks in the winter–I could use one of these lights!
Thanks for visiting, Deborah! I know what you mean about the rapidly vanishing light this time of year.