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Old 06-05-2005, 10:55 AM   #1
Anthony Emmolo Anthony Emmolo is offline
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Question about North light.




Hello all,

I wonder if anyone has thoughts on this topic. Any help would be appreciated. I'm thinking about moving to a different apartment. I saw a beautiful place eighteen stories above street level without another tall building near it. Although I saw it at night, and will have to visit again if I am interested in the place, I wonder if any of you have thoughts about South East or West light at eighteen stories above ground. With so much light and no shadows at all up there, would North light still be the only light source that would work? It is a nice place in a convenient location for a reasonable rent, but with windows on the South, East and West sides. I could consider moving there if I couldn't paint there.

Thank you in advance for your replies.
Yours,
Anthony
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Old 06-05-2005, 11:55 AM   #2
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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I woulds say that it depends on what time of the day you prefer to work.

If you don
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Old 06-05-2005, 03:29 PM   #3
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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My studio windows face south and west, probably the worst direction possible. In the morning the light is fine and by mid day I just block the windows with black foam core. I turn on my color balanced artificial lights and all is well again.
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Old 06-06-2005, 07:15 PM   #4
Anthony Emmolo Anthony Emmolo is offline
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Thank you both

I will consider your thoughts. However, for fear of regretting a decision that would be hard to change, I'll probably opt to go for a North lit studio. Your efforts are appreciated.

Anthony
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Old 06-06-2005, 09:22 PM   #5
Thomas Nash Thomas Nash is offline
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North Light etc.

Allan is right. Your working habits (time of day) are a big factor. The whole idea is for the sun to not be shining directly through the window, for the light to be more ambient, from the sky. Once the sun has passed the point that it shines into the east facing window, that is very similar to a north facing window. The reverse is true about the west window. You can work with it until that time of day that the sun starts coming in from the west.

Many artists would schedule a sitter for no more than a few hours at a time anyway so you can have a "morning" sitter and an "afternoon" sitter with different set ups. I'm sure that Sargent just scheduled his sitters so that the light was consistent at the times they arrived.

I have a south window as well as a north one. The north is very cool, very very blue on some days. It's nice to open the south drapes and let some sunlight reflect around the studio, not for working on the painting, but to see how it will look in a more neutral light situation. So the south light that you would also have available in the place you describe could be a nice thing, once in a while for variety.

Depending on how you work I wouldn't be too quick to rule out the place you are looking at if it has other good qualities, like location and price. Having a lot of light to begin with, like this one seems to have (three sides) is a a good thing. You can always cover it up and shape it to suit your needs. Even if you find a north lit studio you will still have to work with it a bit to get the light effect you want for each project. Even facing due north, the light changes from morning to evening because the sky changes.

Good luck.
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Old 06-06-2005, 09:37 PM   #6
Anthony Emmolo Anthony Emmolo is offline
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Thank you Thomas,

Your thoughts are appreciated.
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Old 06-06-2005, 09:49 PM   #7
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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I think that Allan and Tom are on the money. North light is only relevant in the context of your painting hours.

For example, I only paint from 7:00 am to about 2:00pm. A western exposure would do just fine - the point is that you dont' want the directly moving sunlight to wreak havok with your studio light.

If my working time was late afternoon, an eastern exposure would be most suitable. In short, consider your individual easel time, your most productive time, and then make the judgement.
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Old 06-21-2005, 04:07 PM   #8
Sharon Knettell Sharon Knettell is offline
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My studio has a south east exposure. I paint from life so the lighting is critical. I also live in the North Eastern USA, so the more light the better.

The light on an overcast day on a southern exposure is exquisite, my favorite. I can almost achieve this effect on a sunny day by filtering the light through a cheap gauze curtain which I velcro to the window frame for quick removal. It really helps to have all the light you need to compensate for all those dark New England days, especially the rainy ones. I use a reflector outside to bounce a little more light in on the really dark ones. I like to paint from 10:30 to 2:30.
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Old 06-21-2005, 09:06 PM   #9
Anthony Emmolo Anthony Emmolo is offline
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Thank you Sharon,
About five years ago I had a south light studio. The shadows seemed to be constantly changing on my objects. I don't think it was my imagination, but I also remember the light varying in intensity at different times in the day.The studio I have now, which has north light gives me a consistancy in the light. I paint from 7am to 1pm. So I do feel more at home with traditional north light.

Anthony
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Old 12-24-2005, 10:13 AM   #10
Albert Loewy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Emmolo
Hello all,

I wonder if anyone has thoughts on this topic. Any help would be appreciated. I'm thinking about moving to a different apartment. I saw a beautiful place eighteen stories above street level without another tall building near it. Although I saw it at night, and will have to visit again if I am interested in the place, I wonder if any of you have thoughts about South East or West light at eighteen stories above ground. With so much light and no shadows at all up there, would North light still be the only light source that would work? It is a nice place in a convenient location for a reasonable rent, but with windows on the South, East and West sides. I could consider moving there if I couldn't paint there.

Thank you in advance for your replies.
Yours,
Anthony
Dear Anthony,
As one whose had windows facing in most directions, if you prefer natural light, I can strongly recomend sticking with northern light. The important thing, the sun is NEVER in the northern sky, so it never moves. You can work with it all day, if you're so inclined. Windows facing other directions, the sun is always moving across the sky, so you generally cannot work for longer than three hours at a time.
If you do stilllife work, the N. light enables one to work all day long.
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