Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Apple Plated" --- SOLD

I am a member of Plein Air Austin and we currently have a discussion going about the best wall color for a studio. I've always assumed white, but everyone else is saying warm gray. Any thoughts on this? Also, what's the best position for windows besides being on a north wall? Up high? Skylights? Low? Big? Small? Lots? A few? Someday (in about 5 years) I'll have the chance to build my own studio and I appreciate any info I can get on this subject. Thank you in advance!


Dik said...

Warm gray as a wall color will flatter the paintings. It will make the paintings' lights look lighter and the darks look darker, and all the colors more intense. This is why I do not consider gray the best wall color, as the painter will lose objectivity of judging his paintings. Instead of seeing the paintings under an artificial best circumstance, see them for what they are, as they should be seen.

Use white as a wall color. Most people have white walls. If the painting is good, it will look good in any wall. If it doesn't, it is the painting that is at fault, not the wall.

Dik Liu

Katherine said...

I'm currently reading a book about the impressionists and a favourite colour for a toned canvas was a warm grey - it apparently made it easier to read both values and colours and looked great in the background if not covered!

....and I came over to comment because I just about to say how much I liked the colour of the background and how well it brought out the colour of the apples! :)

Ambera said...

My studio has warm grey walls, a skylight, and and two south-facing windows. About an arm's length across from the south window is another house that shields the sunlight from coming in directly. Never have I had a more perfect place to paint!

Ambera said...

I should add that the warm grey is only on the main wall, and is a very very light grey. The other walls are cream.

Catherine Jeffrey said...

Hi Carol
I check into your site regularly and love your paintings. We all go through stages of uncertainty and frustration with our work, but you are right in saying that it is about the process,not the result. Just pick up that brush and go. About studios, one can't assume that you will always paint by daylight. So, white walls that will reflect "daylight" style florescent bulbs will give more light for those late night painting sessions.

christine mercer-vernon said...

Hi Carol, Wonderful colors in this painting! Very Rich!

My studio is a warm grey, a very light putty color, even the ceiling and i love it, white was too stark for me, reflected light too much. Unfortunately, I only have one window of average size but it is up high, it's north facing, but it's too high and it creates too many reflections. There are also a lot of trees around my house and it creates a lot of shade so I get a lot of blue light in through the window, keep that in mind. I usually close the curtains and paint with a combination of daylight, flourescent, and regular light bulbs. Hope that helps.

Tara Wheeler said...

Leonardo da Vinci is the one who started advocating North facing windows.

Here's the quote I'm thinking of:

"The light for drawing from nature should come from the North in order that it may not vary. And if you have it from the South, keep the window screened with cloth, so that with the sun shining the whole day the light will not vary. The height of the light be so arranged as that every object shall cast a shadow on the ground of the same length as itself."

I haven't seen anything from him on what color the walls should be. . .

And he claims that a small studio was better than a big studio.

Frank Gardner said...

Heh, I'm glad da Vinci thinks a small studio is better than a big one because that is what I have.
My walls are white and the floor and ceiling are gray, Cement. I have a wall of north facing windows from about waist high up. One east facing, but I am never up there painting early enough for that to affect my painting.
I like to SHOW my work on gray or red or other colors that are not white, but I dont think it matters that much when painting. I'd rather make it look good in a bad situation, so it will look even better when properly displayed. My painting is usually on an easel anyway, so the wall colors do not matter that much to me.
When I am painting outside I don't have walls to worry about.
I think that with your still life set up ,Carol, that it would not matter what color the walls were.

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Carol. North light studios are great but since the work is most often seen under artificial light I find it helpful to have both. Traditionally large north light windows starting at about head height are used. You do have to think about reflection from trees and other things that can change the color of the light. Building a good storage unit/counter space underneath the windows can also be a good use of space, particularly in a smaller studio.I started out with white studio walls now I prefer something a bit more mellow- I think warm gray works fine. I like to paint one wall a gallery sort of color (I like medium value green grey because landscapes look great on it) which serves as a display wall to show work to studio visitors/collectors.

Kellie Hill said...

Well, I don't have much of a studio, but I can say you have to think about all the surfaces- skylights with hardwood floors, for instance, create lots of lovely, warm light bouncing around everywhere, which is absolutely impossible to control! My dream studio has windows with a nice view and a sliding glass door, with blackout curtains standing by every one in case I need them. And four walls that are all different, commonly found house-wall colors so I can see how a painting would react with any of them.

Jennifer Bellinger said...

Hi Carol,
Thought I'd through my 2 cents in here. I used to have perfect North light...until a huge condo project went up across the I have glare from the reflection of that building. I hang sheer panels to cut glare when working on large paintings during the day. But with the daily paintings I am using artifical light, shades down. I am using a still life box similar to your set up. I think what is most important is to have the same temperature light on the set up that you have on your painting and palette. I recently purchased The Carder Method of Painting DVD just to learn how he sets up his studio lighting. It's the most specific help I've seen to date. 85 watt 5,000K florescent spriral or tubes set at 45 degrees to the surface of your painting. He says black or dark walls are best (at least dark drapery behind the lighting and behind the set-up and easel area,so there isn't stray light bouncing all over. I can see his logic as I am constantly fighting control of light sources. So far I have the lights set up and like it, now to get dark curtains to hang when I need them (trade show suppliers have cheap drapery). I don't want to paint my walls dark because I have a beautiful studio and have open studio shows. I'll post more when I am totally set up to let you know how it works.