Classical Atelier at Home

For the self taught realist artist

Daylight for your atelier – LEDs with high CRI >90 for best lighting

Artist working at daylight
Georg Friedrich Kersting – Caspar David Friedrich in his Studio – 1811

The ideal light source in a traditional atelier is daylight coming from a high north facing window. But this comes with several downsides: not everyone has a north facing window high enough and working at daylight limits you to just a few hours at the easel. If you have a full-day job and can only get to the easel in winter when it is already dark, you are dependent on an artificial light source.

Why daylight coming from high above?

The human brain is still as it was before the invention of artificial light. For a human brain, the sun is the most natural source of light and it recognizes nature best with the natural sunlight. This is the best way to recognize faces.

Form is represented by light and a light source that comes from above like the sun has the most natural effect on our brain.

Everyone knows the problem with flash photography: the face looks like a moon face and you don’t recognize yourself so easily. You are shocked that you seem to have gained 10 pounds.

The reason is quite simple: with the photo flash the light comes directly from the front and there are hardly any shadows. Only strong midtones and highlights show the face. But the shadows are needed to depict the unique structure of a person’s face.

Why northern light?

We all love beautiful sunsets and the reddish colours warm our hearts. But when the sun is low in the evening, all things are influenced by this strong red light and we cannot see the true colour of an object. It is similar in the morning. This is because the sun’s light has such an angle of incidence into the atmosphere that only long-wave light rays hit the earth.
Between morning and evening the light spectrum of the sun is most evenly distributed among the spectral colours and we recognize the colours of objects best.

Warm light has a low light temperature which is measured in Kelvin. An ordinary light bulb with warm light has around 2000-3000 Kelvin. From your own experience, you will know that warm light is not suitable for correctly representing colours. How can one mix the right color in such a light? Any mixed color will have too little yellow-red and look too cool in neutral daylight.
Daylight has a colour temperature of over 4000 Kelvin. When buying such lamps for your studio, pay at least attention to the colour temperature.

Color Rendering Index (CRI)

Now comes the CRI into play. The CRI is the Color Rendering Index and does not describe the temperature, but the characteristic of a lamp to represent the spectrum of daylight as much as possible. When buying a daylight lamp, pay attention to a high CRI. Generally speaking, the higher the CRI, the more expensive the lamp. However, it does not necessarily have to be the most expensive lamp for your atelier. CRI values of over 90 are completely sufficient for your purposes.

In this video you will learn more about how a high CRI can improve color perception.

If you have regular T8 Light Tube fixtures the Hyperikon Daylight LED tubes * might be the right thing for you. Please watch the video below to learn more on how they work and what you need to do, to make these work in your fixtures. The guy who made this review mentions flickering which is normal but this only occurs while filming. You do not perceive this with your eyes. This has to do with the camera’s shutter speed and the current frequency of the lamp. Switching from mercury containing light tubes to LED technology is always best.

If you don’t have a light tube fixture but ordinary screwable lamps, the following LED bulbs are just right for you.

TORCHSTAR A21 Light Bulbs, Dimmable 17W(100W Equialent), 5000K Daylight LED Bulb, CRI 90+ UL & Energy Star Listed, E26 Medium Base, Pack of 6*
  • High CRI LED bulbs light up the arts of living
  • CRI90+, which means this LED Dimmable A21 light bulb can show the true colors of food, makeup and artwork truly and vividly, suitable for kitchen, bathroom, sudio
  • Smooth Dimming: This LED light bulb can smoothly dim from 100% to 10% without flickering and buzzing, fully satisfies your different lighting demands, this makes it perfect for living room, bedroom, etc
  • Energy Saving: Perfect substitute for traditional incandescent lamp, this 17W LED bulb reduces your electricity bill up to 83%, saving a total of $1369 with this 6-pack set during its lifespan
  • Long Lifespan: The 17W daylight led bulb is excellent choice for your home. It is rated over 25,000+ hours. Perfect replacement for traditional incandescent bulbs. 25 times longer product lifespan ensure a lasting and consistent.

* Last update on 2022-08-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

! ! ! Electrical work should always be carried out by experienced personnel. If you are not sure how to set up electrical installations, have a trained electrician do the work.

Keep in mind that fluorescent bulbs contain toxic elements. You should prefer LED bulbs over the fluorescent ones.

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