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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Temperature Shifts

Here is something we see quite often these days, thanks to lighting designers' awareness of the color temperature from light sources.
For decades, even centuries, artists have been concerned with the color temperature of light in their studios.  North light is preferred because it is cooler and yields less dramatic shifts as the sun's position changes.  However, today's lighting options allow us to control the color and distribution of light in our work areas.  Most artists prefer 5500K+/- as ideal and most akin to natural light.
Regardless of our efforts, we cannot control the lighting under which our work will be seen once it goes to its new home.  But we can control the value and temperature relationships within the painting.  If we have those relationships right, the painting will read true under any kind of light.  To illustrate, here is a scene under four different temperatures of light.
Underneath each photo, I have sampled three areas:  the grass in shadow, the sky, and the grass in light.  When we visually compare these isolated samples, the effect of the color temperature of light is obvious.  The relationships does not change even though the color temperature does.  Seeing and translating that relationship is the task of the artist.  Mainly, it's seeing what's there as opposed to your left brain telling you what's there.  It's seeing, not knowing.

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