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What does CRI mean and why is it important?

Unless you are a seasoned artist, you might not truly understand or appreciate the art of lighting a room. Choosing lights for your space can be quite technical. If you have a certain look you are trying to achieve in a room, restaurant, business, art gallery, etc., it is important to understand the different aspects there are to lights, such as the color rendering index (CRI), and why it’s so important to achieving your goal for the space.

 

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For some, lighting can be an afterthought, or just simply misunderstood. If you are opening a restaurant, for example, you might want dim lighting which might work great for your space—but it might also create a different environment from what you intended. Or, if you are an artist and are hanging your work in a gallery, the lighting will affect the way your painting is seen by customers and visitors. These risks can easily be solved by understand CRI—here are some key things to know.

 

CRI essentially refers to how different types of illumination, or light, affected the color of objects as they are perceived when the light hit them. The index provides lighting manufacturers to create different lights with CRIs that are best for different situations, i.e. a restaurant and an art gallery. To do this, they manufacture lights on a scale of 1-100:

 

  • High pressure sodium light sources have a CRI around 24
  • Mercury vapor light sources have a CRI around 49
  • Fluorescent light sources have a CRI range between 50 and 85 depending on the phosphate coating of the bulb
  • Metal halide light sources have a CRI range between 75 and 95
  • Modern LEDs have a braod range of CRI up to 95

 

What do those CRI measurements mean? Simply put, the lower the CRI, the less accurate the true colors will be depicted. Therefore, if you are shining a light on a table where your food will be placed, you’d want a higher level CRI. The same goes for a piece of art—if the light shining on your painting or photo has a low CRI, the colors that you used or captured are not going to appear as you intended. The closer the CRI rating is to 100, the more the colors will appear as they would in perfect natural, true lighting.

 

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Close up of sushi served on black plate. Delicious japanese cuisine sushi prepared for one person. Fresh sushi served to eat at restaurant.

Close up of sushi served on black plate. Delicious japanese cuisine sushi prepared for one person. Fresh sushi served to eat at restaurant.

There might be some instances when a lower CRI is suitable, but never in the case of lighting artwork or any typw of craft or hobby lighting.For these applicatioins you should use a minimum of 90 CRI. Always think about the object or objects you are lighting before you buy a lighting fixture. It’s never a bad idea to consult a lighting specialist at the store where you are planning purchase your lights—they should be very knowledgeable and able to help you achieve the look for which you are hoping.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

How to Hang a Gallery Wall

Gallery walls aren’t just for art studios, but they are a great way to decorate your home with paintings and photos you love. That said, there’s more to making a gallery wall than just hanging up a bunch of pictures. Knowing how to design a gallery wall is important so that your wall doesn’t look messy and cluttered. Don’t worry, though, once you understand the steps your wall will look great.

First, decide on a style for your wall. Do you want it to be symmetrical and in a grid, or would you prefer the photos and pictures to be more random? Second, decide what photos and/or paintings you want to include in the gallery wall. Think about their sizes and frames and how they will fit together when determining the style you’d like.

Second, do a first draft of your wall on the floor. Once you have all of the pictures and/or paintings in their frames and ready to go, lay them out on the floor in the shape and order you want them to appear on the wall. Move them around and see which design you like best and make changes to frames, spacing and position at this point.

 

White blank photo frame wall gallery set. Vector picture frame m

 

Once you have your draft ready to go on the floor, make a second draft on the wall using kraft or tissue paper and cut it into the exact sized of all of your frames. Tape them on the wall and measure to ensure that everything is even, straight and spaced appropriately. This is also where you’ll want to make spacing and position changes, because once you start hanging you’ll get unnecessary holes in the wall. After all, making sure a painting or picture is straight and not crooked is a tedious task that’s much easier to accomplish this way.

Now it’s time to hang your pictures and paintings. Make sure you keep your paper on the wall and use the nail to create the hole so you can easily place and hammer the nail when the paper is removed. Once your nails are in, start hanging your pictures and paintings.

 

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Nice stylish pictures on wall above desk in office

Nice stylish pictures on wall above desk in office

 

Your last step is determining if you need to add lighting to your wall. Depending on where the wall is in relation to windows and lights, it might be a little dark. Picture lights could add great lighting but traditional picture light are bulky and might clutter up your gallery wall. The best type of lighting is from above which provides nice even coverage over the entire area.

Once you have these steps covered, enjoy the new addition to your home![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

How to Light Artwork

How to Light Artwork

When purchasing a piece of art, you probably have an idea of where it will go in your home, office or business. What you might not have thought of, however, is whether or not the lighting in that place was appropriate for the painting. You wouldn’t want to get home and hang your beautiful new painting, only to see it a little differently than you did in the art gallery because of the lighting in your house. Glare from natural light, shadows and poor quality room lighting can very negatively affect the way your painting looks, and even how the painting ages. These concerns can be easily fixed with the consideration of some key factors and a little planning.

LEDs are the Way To Go

Think of the lighting that already exists in the room, first. Incandescent and halogen light bulbs are not only less energy-efficient, they also give off a heat that can be dangerous and harmful to artwork. . And generally speaking florescent bulbs produce very poor quality light for viewing art.  LED lights – unlike incandescent, florescent and halogen lights – don’t give off infrared or ultraviolet rays which can actually damage your painting over time. Make sure that the light on the paintings is from an LED-type of bulb for the best results, but make sure it’s a good quality light. LED lights that are lower-quality will make you feel like you are looking at artwork in a dressing room or dentist’s office. Try to get LED lights with a minimum color-rendering index of 90+ this is close to the sun’s CRI, which is 100. The color temperature of the light is also important, lower color temperature produce a warmer light and higher color temperature produces a cooler light. Selecting the right color temperature can make all the difference. Ideally the light will have an adjustable color temperature to insure the best possible lighting.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

While most people love looking at something in direct natural light, your painting should not be that something. Hanging your painting in direct sunlight can fade the colors over time. Also, try not to hang your painting next to the window when you are avoiding the direct natural light because you won’t see the painting’s colors as vibrantly during the day.

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Choosing the Painting’s Light

When choosing the light that will shine on your painting, you have two options: picture lights or spotlights. Understanding the differences between the two and what you need in your room is key to making sure your new piece of artwork is shown “in the best light.”

  • Spotlights create a sheet of light over the painting.
  • Picture lights can be placed so that they shine in specific areas, rather than evenly on the painting.
  • Spotlights can also be used in track lighting which makes the painting look more like it is still hanging in the gallery.

A lot of this decision depends on the client’s style and the style of their home—there is really no wrong decision.

Also, make sure whatever type of lighting you choose for your painting doesn’t take away from the painting itself. For example, ceiling mounted spotlights can be brightened and dimmed depending on the time of day and are incredible discrete.

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Deciding the correct lighting for your artwork can be simple and it can be a little more complicated depending on your goal. Always ask the salesperson at the story where you are purchasing your lights about the characteristics of the bulbs to ensure the light will not harm your painting over time. Consult the salesperson where you purchases the painting for their lighting recommendation, as well. They will be able to provide ideas and options that best meet your abilities in the room where the painting will hang.

How to Light Your Art Studio

Studio lighting is one of the key factors when setting up your art studio. There are different kinds of light to choose from—including all artificial lighting to all natural lighting. Most of the time, you will need to find a way to light your studio with a mixture of both depending on your type painting and the art studio space itself.

First, your art studio will not only be a place to work, but also a place to showcase the finished products. What looks good on your easel might not look as nice once it’s on the wall. This is also important if you are painting on commission—try to adjust your light in your studio to the light that is in the space where the painting will end up.

Art studio light

If you choose to light your studio with natural light only, there is the famous North Light approach. This means that your studio will mainly be lit by North light, which requires a window and space with the perfect view. If using all natural light isn’t an option, and a lot of the time it is not, you will need to use artificial lighting.

You will need to have adjustable lighting for different seasons and different times of the day, here are some things to think about when determining the ideal light for your space:

  • A combination of natural and artificial lighting is best to quire the right color temperature.
  • Different bulbs can give you different color temperatures, so you can balance the natural light and the artificial light to get exactly the right light for your painting. However, this can be costly and imprecise. The best solution is a light with an adjustable color temperature.
  • Temperature color is measured in Kelvin, and lights that are considered warm have red-yellow tints and cool lights have tints of light blue.
  • If you want to paint with warm or cool colors adjust that amount up and down. If you are aiming for an artificial light that mimics the North light, that would require a light with 7500K.
  • You will want to find the right amount of brightness, as well. So having a light that can dim is also important.

To simplify, you want to the room to have full-spectrum lighting which will provide a light that mimics natural sunlight. So finding a light with adjustable color temperature and brightness is optimal. When you buy a light, make sure you know the properties of the light bulb and the color-rendering index you need to get the perfect light that won’t obstruct your view of the colors in your painting. For exactly the color-rendering index of the sun is 100, so if you want to mimic the outside light, find a light bulb that can give you an index of 80 to 100. (90 plus CRI is preferred)

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Remember, first decide how you want your paintings to look in the room when they are hanging and finished. It is highly recommended to supplement the natural light in your space with artificial lights to give you a high-quality working light. This will provide your painting with a perfect balance of color when it’s complete.

Also, keep in mind that studio art lights make great gifts so it you are looking for the perfect gift for an artist this is a good place to start.

Method Lights: Redefining the Way We See Art

The Challenge for Artists
There’s long been a void in art studio lighting, and the art lighting industry as a whole. For artists, the optimal scenario is usually natural light, but that can be problematic on cloudy days or when it’s dark outside.
Artists will often find themselves working on a piece, and as the light changes, as do the colors. When the lighting isn’t optimal, it becomes difficult to mix colors correctly, and it can also simply make painting a less pleasant experience when the light isn’t what you want or need it to be.
Regarding studio lighting, a simple incandescent bulb can have an adverse effect on colors and tones, but in the past, finding a studio lighting solution could also be incredibly expensive.
Lighting Art For Display
It’s not just in the studio where lighting options or lack thereof can be problematic. People tend to struggle when it comes to lighting their art in their homes or a display situation.
Many of the options available either require costly hard wiring and installation, they’re bulky and hang directly on the piece of art, or they require unsightly cords, bringing the focus to the light fixture itself, rather than the art.
The challenge for people as they light their art for display purposes is again, much like the studio issue, how to effectively light art in a way that’s aesthetically appealing, but also budget-friendly.
The Solution: Method Lights
Creating by a long-time art gallery owner, Method Lights is a line of studio and picture lights that specifically speak to the challenges above, and bring an exclusive set of features and capabilities not seen with other art lights.
The current collection features the ML200 and the MLDirect, both of which address problems commonly faced when it comes to lighting art, whether from the perspective of the artist or the art lover.
ML200: The Details
The ML200 is a modern, streamlined, ceiling-mounted, battery-operated picture light. Rather than being cumbersome or powered by plugging into an outlet, it’s instead rechargeable with a lithium ion battery featuring up to 250 hours of usage in Energy Saver Mode. It includes six high-efficiency 1W LEDs and a rechargeable battery pack, all of which comes together in an elegant design.
The light output ranges from 560 lumens when operated solely with the battery powered option, up to 870 lumens for users that opt for the AC adapter, included in the light kit.
Probably what’s most appealing to both artists and art collectors is the ability to control the color temperature of the light from 2700K to 7000K, effortlessly highlighting the warm and cool tones with the touch of a button on a compact remote control.
Other features that set the ML200 apart as compared to other studio and art light options include the adjustable beam size of 20” to 60” (at 6-feet from the artwork), dimmer and automatic shut-off, designed to conserve battery life effortlessly.
Within a few minutes this innovative light can be installed directly on the ceiling with all included hardware, or anywhere that’s optimal for your requirements.
ML-Direct: The Details
Also available from Method Lights is the ML-Direct, which is a programmable direct installation bulb that can either be used in existing recessed can light or any standard light fixture. It screws in just as any traditional bulb would, but with its custom LED technology it features a brightness level equal to a 75W bulb.
The ML-Direct, like the ML200, features a simple, sophisticated design that allows the art to take center stage while illuminating in a way that maximizes the impact of any piece.
With a light output of up to 1700 lumens and an adjustable beam diameter of 20” to 60” at six feet from the art and a lamp life of 50,000 hours, the ML-Direct is rich with features and functionality not seen with other lighting options.
Simply screw it into an existing fixture and operate it using the convenient, compact remote control to take advantage of the features that will change the way you see your art.
Applications and Use
What’s great about the advanced design of both the ML200 and ML-Direct is their versatility. They’re currently in use across a broad range of applications.
They’re used in galleries across the country, as well as in artists’ studios and private homes. Both lights excel in their flexibility of use, as well as their leading edge technology that sets them apart from other products in the studio and art lighting markets. They’re not exclusively for paintings either. They’ve been creatively used for everything from sculptures and art glass to stained glass displays.

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