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             A Birch Grove by Isaac Levitan
          A Birch Grove           Isaac Levitan (1860-1900)

   We all learn from each other.
Discover what top artists like Albert Handell, Marc Hansen, Kathy Anderson, James Gurney, Howard Friedland, Peter Fiore and many more have to say about their work and lives as artists in our regular
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  Having spent a lifetime exploring and finding purpose and fulfillment through art, we decided to build this art and painting website to share what we have learned and to inspire others in their creative lives. Much of the important content (over 400 articles) you'll find here is instructional - the steps to making paintings in oil, pastel or watercolor -  often illustrated by videos, slide shows and Step-by-Step demonstrations. As a member, each month you'll receive a new in-depth educational or art travel article along with a new, illustrated Voices of Experience interview with a top-flight artist. Enjoy the free content. We believe that you will find value and inspiration in it. If you do, please consider joining as a member now to access all the members-only in-depth articles and to add your valuable support to this important effort. And don't forget, members receive discounts on all the useful products, downloads, books and live workshops in our Store.
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         New Member Content This Month
     Winter Landscape with Pink House, 1918, Lawren Harris   Spacious Skies Cody © Jeanne Mackenzie
                     The Canadian                              Voices of Experience:
                   Group of Seven                                Jeanne Mackenzie    

John Hulsey in Outdoor Painter
Page from the recent interview by Bob Bahr of The Artist's Road co-founder John Hulsey in Outdoor Painter (Plein Air Magazine). John shared with Bob his experiences this fall being filmed by PBS St. Louis while he demonstrated plein air paintiing high above the Mississippi River near Alton, Illinois.
Click HERE to watch the plein air video demonstration.

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Let There Be Light!

Perspectives No. 230

watercolor painting of artist's studio, by Carl Larsson
The Studio                      Watercolor  1895                   Carl Larsson

    Learning to see as an artist is perhaps a lifelong task, requiring countless hours of observation, comparison and reproduction of our real life subjects. This is a particularly critical process when it comes to analyzing and matching color, and the practice over time can’t be shortcut. If one is going to invest a great deal of time and energy in learning how to work with color and paint, it only makes sense to get the lighting in the studio correct right from the outset.

   Daylight is considered to be the best light, especially north light (in the northern hemisphere). However, north light doesn’t remain perfectly constant throughout the day, only more constant than light from any other direction. So, artists often augment their natural window light with artificial light, and this is where things get complicated. There are many types of light bulbs sold as “natural” or “balanced” (e.g. like daylight), but not all of them deliver the color rendition quality and brightness that artists need. In our studios, we have twin banks of incandescent track lights plus twin Velux skylights, plus twin Luxo type combination lamps which can be fitted with incandescent and fluorescent type bulbs. While this is enough “horsepower” to provide adequate brightness for painting at night, the color rendition from a night of painting has always been disappointing during the light of day and has required repainting. Thus began our search for a better lamp bulb. But first, we needed to educate ourselves and understand some of the technical terms used to describe and measure artificial light.

Color Temperature
   The color temperature of lamps is measured on the Kelvin (K) scale, which is based on heating up carbon to extremely high temperatures to produce different colors. For example, carbon heated to 2426.85 degrees Celsius equals a Kelvin rating of 2700 and is yellowish-white, while 5126.85 Celsius equals 5400 K, is bluish-white and approximates noon daylight. The higher the Kelvin, the cooler the light. Household incandescents are 2500-3000 K, regular fluorescents are 4000-5000 K, and north light (blue sky) is anywhere from 7500-10000 K.

   However, if one wants balanced color rendition, simply buying the right temperature bulb may not work, exactly. The reason for this is that different bulbs render the color spectrum in different amounts.

Color Rendering Index (CRI)
   CRI indicates a bulb’s ability to illuminate the full color spectrum accurately to our eyes. Natural daylight has a CRI of 100, so that is what we are trying to get near to in a lamp. Bulbs with a CRI over 90 and a 5000-5500 K temperature rating are ideal for an artist’s studio.

   Unlike wattage, which only describes how much power a bulb consumes, Lumens describe how bright a light actually is - its output - and are the best measure to use for brightness. The higher the Lumens, the brighter the light. Compact fluorescents and LEDs consume far fewer watts, but produce an equal or greater amount of Lumens as compared to standard incandescent bulbs. (A 9-watt LED produces 450 Lumens, the same as a 29-watt Halogen bulb).

Lux or Footcandles
   Lux is the level of brightness at a particular distance from the light source, and is what really matters where the level of light on our easel or subject is concerned. (One Lux is equal to one Lumen reflected off of a square meter of surface.) Of course, the further from the light source, the lower the Lux level, but more important, light intensity (Lux) decreases faster than the distance from the light does (the inverse square law). So it is important not to place your lights too high up in the ceiling or too far away.

   To read more about studio lighting and get our recommendations for which bulbs or fixtures are best for artist studios, be sure to check out our extended article coming in April for Members of The Artist’s Road: Seeing the Light, Professional Lighting Solutions for the Artist’s Studio.

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                                 Painting Workshops

                   John Hulsey Painting Workshop Provence, France. ©J. Hulsey
                                                        John Teaching in Provence, France
  Few educational experiences can beat watching a professional at work for quick learning. If you are a beginner, John will show you how to get started the right way. Or, if you are an experienced painter and want to take your skills up to a new level, then this is the learning experience for you. You will be able to soak up valuable technical advice and pointers while watching John create a demonstration painting each morning. In the afternoons, learn the secrets of the pros first-hand, as John gives you the kind of individual advice that not only can make your painting stronger, but cuts your learning curve in half. Consider enrolling in one of our painting workshops today.
Click here to see our current workshop schedule.

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book cover painting nocturnes the artist's road
New Release!
Our new eBook (also available in softcover edition), A Primer on Painting Nocturnes.
Get inspired and then get out there! Filled with examples of night paintings, technical tips, night palette colors and a step-by-step demonstration.

Quarter Past Purple -
It's Time to
Get lots of "complements"
with this fun and useful timepiece.
Check out the Leonardo DaVinci backward-moving watch, or the Salvador Dali rotating mustaches watch.

Also in our Store: check out our tips and guides for the artist/traveler, and some of the tools and other products that we use in our own art and travels.  We only offer things for sale in our Store that we enthusiastically believe in.
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About Us
Photograph of John Hulsey and Ann Trusty in Glacier National Park
We are artists, authors and teachers with over 35 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. We created The Artist's Road in order to share our knowledge and experiences with you, and create a community of like-minded individuals.  You can learn more about us and see our original paintings by clicking on the links below.
About Ann
     About John
 Hulsey Trusty Studios

We are also regular contributors to the Plein Air blog at Artist Daily.

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