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Modern Art Lighting for Paintings

Finding the ideal light source for Modern Art and optimum lighting for paintings increases the appreciation of art work from artists and aids your Modern Art Investment

One attribute that creates life in a modern painting is the artist's use of light and shade. This introduces depth and interest to each modern painting. British modern artist David Farren is a good example of an artist whose modern art paintings are characterised by careful use of light and shade.

Modern Art: 'Old Bond Street, Bath' by David Farren

It is important to have good external light to appreciate the light and shade of modern paintings. Good lighting enhances and illuminates the modern art and can make a great difference to viewing a modern painting. Minor changes in the direction or type of such as fluorescent or halogen can make major differences when viewing modern art.

Correct lighting of Modern Art highlights nuances and special effects in Modern paintings that you might not have seen before. Art lighting can also be installed to create dramatic effect for a piece of modern art with in a room to complete the design. Too often modern art and paintings are placed in a space without sufficient thought to lighting each art work.

Good art lighting not only shows the light and shade in modern paintings. It also highlights the texture of modern paintings ' this is particularly evident where an artist has used mixed media or course canvas in creating their paintings. This is very noticeable when looking at a modern painting in reproduction against the 'real-life' painting. Well lit original modern paintings allow the viewer to see brushstrokes and marks made by the artist in creating the painting. It is this 'real-life' texture and connection to each painting by modern artists that makes owning original paintings so special. British modern artist Jeremy Barlow, for example, undertakes his paintings out of doors and this immediacy and strength is reflected in the way the artist applies paint and uses strong brushstrokes.

Modern Art: 'Sea Mist, Thornham' by Rex Preston

Often there is sufficient natural light to present a modern painting well but natural light varies enormously and can be damaging to art works and Limited Edition Prints. Damage is caused by infrared and ultraviolet (UV) rays. Over time strong light can fade modern art pieces on paper especially pastels, prints, photographs, and watercolours. Modern paints are more resistant to fading but care should still be taken if you wish to guard each art investment against deterioration.

Modern Art and paintings need protection if they are not to be damaged by light. It is advisable not to light your paintings and limited edition prints all and every day. For maximum protection light modern art only when viewing and turn lighting off at other times.

Most British household light bulbs (incandescent lights) enhance warm colours within the spectrum. Therefore red, brown, orange, and yellow tones in modern paintings will be heightened. Incandescent lights may flatten the blues, greens, and violets within art works. These lights tend to be well suited for modern art pieces and paintings, rather than natural or fluorescence, but are not the entire solution to the lighting problem. Fluorescent lights do not emit light across the entire spectrum of colours and produce a harsh glare and are therefore usually unsuitable for illuminating Modern art pieces.

The strong white light of halogen makes it among the best lighting solutions for illuminating modern art and modern paintings if installed properly. This is what Red Rag use in the Bath Art Gallery. A low watt halogen light may work well. Halogen light allows the subtleties of colour to come through in modern paintings. A low watt halogen-based bulb has been recently introduced which redirects damaging UV and infrared rays of light. Once again, the use of a halogen light at low wattage may prove best for most modern paintings and art works.

Modern Art: 'The Ogwen Valley' by David Barnes

Whichever lights you choose for your modern art remember not to keep modern paintings on display for long periods of time since all light (natural and artificial) is damaging to works of art and will devalue your art investment over time.

A compromise is necessary when lighting Modern art. This doesn't mean go out and purchase all different types of art lighting, just light your paintings wisely. Try to avoid the UV and infrared rays from directly hanging works of Modern art in sunlight. Don't shine a bright light of any kind directly onto artwork, especially works on paper. Remember, photographs and art works on paper are most fragile.

In the same way that a frame and mount are chosen to enhance a modern painting, so the same applies to art lighting. Ensure picture lights are always smaller than the artwork.

In summary finding the ideal light source for your Modern Art and optimum lighting can be challenging but if you want to see the work of modern artists at their best following Red Rag Gallery art care advice should maximise your Art Investment

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