There are many elements to be considered when your goal is to feature a specific piece: the frame, the art itself, size of the piece, and the lighting fixture used. Through our countless interior projects, we've mastered a few tricks in the lighting department, and we thought we'd share!
For highlighting a specific piece there are usually four types of light: mantel light, spotlight, track light or recessed light. We always go with a broad-based fixture, as it covers the entire work, (especially perfect for medium to larger scale pieces.)
For every project, we always recommend using halogen lighting, as they cast the purest white light. Used by museum curators for decades, they are perfect for any work of art. The heat they exude can be intense, so always make sure the fixture is placed far enough away where it can't melt or distress the artwork.
"We recommend LED light sources, as it contains no heat or Ultraviolet or Infrared light which can be damaging to you artwork" exclaimed Elizabeth Levin of American Lighting Brands. She shares some of her insider tips below, we find her to be a wealth of knowledge.
House of Troy LED picture lights are also:
· line voltage, so may be plugged into a recessed outlet behind the artwork, thus eliminating the unsightly cords.
· dimmable-being able to control the light output on your art adds a whole new dimension to your art enjoyment.
· 2700K, 90+CRI so light color and clarity are good.
· Energy efficient
One thing to really remember - your electricity! "Consider your power source; plug, recessed outlet or junction box. Then choose your picture light style. Plug in style for outlet/direct wire style with backplate to cover j-box. Battery operated, only if you have no other options."
If the distance of the fixture is a problem, then go with incandescent lighting. Used with more colorful works, this type of lighting warms up most colors, causing the piece to come to life. "When sizing a picture light for a piece of art, we measure ½ to 2/3 of frame width as your picture light length suggestion. ½ for a bulkier classic style, and 2/3 for a slim linear style. When choosing a finish, consider and match the artwork style, frame finish or room décor."
We get asked a lot about fluorescent lighting, as a lighting method. While fluorescent lights give off an incredible effect on their own, we never recommend these for any framed piece. It distorts the colors, and can ultimately fade the piece, causing irreversible damage.
One of the more difficult projects? Properly lighting an oil painting! Any direct light can cause an unflattering glare, taking away from the piece, leaving it only partially visible from a distance. A broad-based light source is best, flattering the entire frame, no matter its width.
One of the easier projects? Acrylic paintings are great in that they don't contain any gloss, you don't need to worry about causing a glare with your choice of lighting, you can use whatever fixture you'd like!