Congratulations on your purchase of a fine art print! Now that you have it hanging on your wall, you may be wondering how to properly highlight its beauty through lighting. While holding a flashlight may be a temporary solution, it can quickly become tiresome, and relying on someone else to hold it is not ideal.
Instead, a more permanent and effective solution is to install track or recessed lighting. This will not only provide adequate lighting for your artwork but will also enhance the overall ambiance of the room. With track lighting, you can adjust the light direction to focus on different parts of the artwork, highlighting specific details and creating a dynamic display. Recessed lighting, on the other hand, will provide a subtle yet elegant glow that will complement the print without overwhelming it.
Investing in proper lighting for your fine art print not only showcases its beauty but also protects it from fading or damage caused by harsh lighting. So, take the time to carefully consider your lighting options and choose the one that best suits your artwork and personal style.
In a previous career, I worked as an autobody technician where I was responsible for paint, body, and frame repairs. In that industry, it was crucial to have a brightly lit paint booth, especially when it came to the paint aspect of the job. The inside of the booth was painted white to reflect as much light as possible, and the walls and ceiling were fitted with bright fluorescent lights that had a slight blue tint. The reason for this was that the midday sun had a color temperature of around 5000 Kelvin, which was slightly blue. This made it easier to match colors accurately.
However, if you were to use similar bright fluorescent lights with a blue tint to light your fine art prints, especially those in galleries, the results would be disastrous. The colors in the artwork would appear distorted, and the reflections would be terrible. Moreover, there would be a high risk of the image fading quickly due to the intensity of the light.
Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the type of lighting you use to showcase your fine art prints. Opting for softer lighting, such as track or recessed lighting, can create a warm and inviting atmosphere that enhances the beauty of the artwork without compromising its integrity.
When it comes to properly illuminating your fine art prints, track lighting is an excellent option. This lighting system allows for the lights to be angled and moved along the track to provide illumination in the most appropriate direction. The track itself can be mounted onto either the wall or the ceiling, and individual light fixtures are placed onto it. The track provides power to the lights, making for an efficient and easy-to-use system.
With track lighting, you have the freedom to adjust the lighting according to your preference, making it an ideal choice for those who want to showcase their artwork in the best possible light. The ability to angle and move the lights means you can highlight specific details or areas of the artwork, adding depth and dimension to the overall display.
Wash lights are designed to cast a broad and even "wash" of light onto the wall or ceiling. However, the reach of these lights is limited, and they may not travel very far from their source. The even distribution of light created by wash lights is excellent for creating a general ambiance in a room, but it may not be enough to highlight specific areas or objects on the wall.
If you want to accentuate a premium fine art print from one of my galleries, you can move the wash lights closer to the wall to create a more concentrated beam of light. This will help bring out the details and colors of the artwork, making it the centerpiece of the room. Conversely, if you prefer a more subtle and soft ambiance, moving the wash lights farther away from the wall can create a smooth and gentle wash of light.
Choosing the right light bulbs is crucial for effectively showcasing your fine art prints. LED bulbs are a popular choice as they do not emit UV or infrared light that can cause damage to your prints. However, it is important to consider the temperature of the bulb as well. The Kelvin scale ranges from yellow (1000) to blue (10,000), with the optimal temperature for displaying artwork being around 3500 Kelvin. This temperature provides a neutral white light that is neither too yellow nor too blue, allowing the true colors of the artwork to shine through.
Aside from the Kelvin scale, the Color Rendering Index (CRI) is also an important factor to consider. The CRI measures the ability of a bulb to render colors accurately, with a higher CRI number indicating a better ability to display natural colors in your premium fine art prints. If possible, aim for a bulb with a CRI index of 100 to ensure the best possible color representation. A bulb with a lower CRI, such as 70, may not accurately showcase the true colors of your artwork.
What About Light Angle?
Proper angling of your lights is crucial to effectively showcase your fine art prints. Direct light can cause a lot of glare, which can make the image look unappealing. You want to ensure that your prints look their best on display, so it's important to consider the correct angle for your lighting.
The optimal angle for lighting your prints is around 30 degrees. This angle allows for the best illumination of the print without causing too much glare or reflection. If you have a high ceiling, the lights may need to be positioned further from the wall to achieve the proper angle. It's important to ensure that the center of the cone of light is centered on the fine art print, as this will help to showcase the image in the best possible way.
In conclusion, it's crucial to light your premium fine art prints properly after hanging them on the wall. You've invested in a great piece of art, so why not show it off to its full potential? Make sure you have a high-quality lighting system in place, such as track lighting, and use LED bulbs with a high CRI index to ensure natural colors and no damage to your prints. Additionally, be mindful of the angle of the lights and aim for around 30 degrees for optimal illumination. With the right lighting, your fine art prints will not only look stunning but will also last for years to come.