Wednesday, February 12, 2014

High Lumens

Self Portrait in Winter
16 x 12
I've been researching lights lately, trying to find something that has really high "lumens" to shine on my still life set ups and mimic sunlight - my favourite light.  This should be easy but it's excruciating.

Lumens are a measure of the total amount of visible light emitted by a source (thank you Wikipedia).  Some bulbs will have this measure on the package and a typical 100W bulb is 1500 lumens.  But 100 W is not nearly enough to create the effect of the sun.

I've been using an LED light panel of 500 tiny bulbs made by Lumahawk.  It seemed bright when I bought it but doesn't actually throw light a great distance so my still life is brightly lit right next to the lamp but dims across the length of the set up.

Another bulb that I tried was a 600W photo bulb.  It was terrific - except that it blew up spectacularly after 6 hours of use.

Currently, I'm using another short-lived bulb by Sylvania: Osram BCA 250 W.  It's gorgeous at a staggering 8900 lumens; lighting up most of the set up and showing great colour.  It has a colour temperature that I really like: 4800 Kelvin; not as bluish as most "daylight" bulbs which are around 5600 K but not yellow either - just right!   But it blows every 6 hours, too so it's not a long-term solution.

Which brings me to the self portrait above.  After a day spent researching and moving my lighting around in the studio, next to windows, inches from the still life and so on, I decided to bag the whole thing and take my paints outside where the lumens were superb and the temperature was unusually gentle for February.  I set up a mirror on my portable easel, put my pochade box on my lap and sat on the deck against the glaring white of my house.  And I saw the light. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

2 Workshops in Vancouver, BC in April

A Still Life Laboratory 
Painting the Portrait from Life
I'll be teaching 2 workshops in Vancouver in April through the Federation of Canadian Artists.
The first is a 3-day "Still Life Laboratory"; an intensive workshop that focuses on setting up dramatic still life subjects and painting them in both a structured, logical way, and in a more intuitive, free manner. Held in North Vancouver, this promises to be an exciting and challenging workshop for both oil and acrylic painters. You'll learn a lot and work hard.  What could be better?

The second is a 1-day portrait workshop held in the FCA gallery on Granville Island. Working from a model, I'll show you how to capture the essence of a face without getting stuck in picky detail and overworking.  Portraits should be painted with big brushes, big marks, and aplomb.  You'll learn how to do just that!

Still Life Laboratory: April 4, 5 and 6

Painting the Portrait from Life: April 7

For more information and to register: Federation of Canadian Artists