Strong, consistent lighting is necessary when working. Natural sunlight, or the North Light, is the best light source for color accuracy, but natural sunlight is not consistent; it will change throughout the day depending on time and weather.
Monet painted the same subject several times to capture the changing effects of light.
A light that simulates natural light is what is needed in the workspace. Halogen bulbs can provide the correct lighting, but are very expensive. Incandescent bulbs are inexpensive but give off a yellow light that might distort colors. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) are relatively inexpensive and can give the necessary light.
But don't go running to the store too quickly...there are a couple of other things to factor in.
The Correlated Color Temperature (CCT), or color temperature, will be important. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin. 6500K is considered the purest white light, but a lot of artists use bulbs of 5000K. It is less blue and closer to the color bulb that galleries use.
The Color-Rendering Index (CRI) is a light's ability to illuminate color accurately. The sun has a CRI of 100, so a bulb with a CRI of 80 to 100 are good.
The lumen is the brightness of the bulb. This is how much the room will be lit. For working in a medium-size room, 7000 to 8000 lumens is enough. Watts measure the energy use. Higher wattage equals more energy use which equals higher electric bills. In order to run a bulb with high lumens, it requires more energy so a higher wattage bulb is needed. 7000 lumens is about 110 to 125 Watts. You can buy a few bulbs that equal 7000 lumens and spread them around.
An important thing to remember - not all light fixtures are created equal. Some can only handle a certain type of bulb, others should only be used within a certain wattage. Check before you make any purchases.
- CFL bulb is recommended
- 5000 Kelvin
- 80-100 CRI
- 7000-8000 lumens total