Painting at night and using daylight bulbs

Some times it’s just not possible to paint during the daytime. You may be working during the day or you may paint in a dark room. Here in Ireland during the Winter, even in a bright room, the light might only be good for a few hours and then what?

The lights we use to light up our homes are generally very warm on the spectrum of light.  If we paint with this light, the colours on our paintings will be too warm. The solution is to paint using a daylight bulb.

How to know which bulb/lamp to buy?

You need the packaging to say either ‘daylight bulb’ or ‘Bright Full Spectrum  Natural Cool Daylight’.

There should be a listing on the packaging for the KELVIN COLOUR TEMPERATURE RATING and you want 6500 or as close to that as you can get.

Where do I need to illuminate?


The Subject.

If you are painting flowers or a still life etc and you use a tungsten or warm white led blub they will add a yellow cast to your still life.

Your palette

This is where you will be mixing your paints so you need to be able to see the true colours

Your painting

Again, it’s just as important to see the true colours here.


Your Palette

You will need a lamp that has a flexible arm, and has a daylight bulb. A lamp on a stand is fine but I find one with a clamp very useful so you can move it around in different ways and vary the shadow and highlights on your subject. If you can get one that allows you to replace the bulb once it goes, all the better. Here’s one I found.  If you already have a lamp then try fitting a daylight bulb. Here is a 30W one with a bayonet head, a 60w one with a screw in head  and 30w with a screw in head.

Your palette and your painting

My advice is to get one standard lamp that will light both your palette and your painting. A flexible head is good, as you can aim the light just where it’s needed. You can also use a daylight bulb in one you already have or try this smaller one with a usb plug.

I have a private facebook group for the lovely folks who been to my painting workshops and recently there’s been some buzz around the LED Lamps you can get in Lydl and Aldi.

Some of these lamps are fitted with ‘warm white’ led bulbs. These are really no better than the other household bulbs but if the bulb in the lamp says the Kelvin temp rating is 5500 or ideally 6500, you are good to go!

Happy Painting

Win a signed print

and get some news (& beauty) in your inbox.
Enter to win a signed special edition print value €75
Winner notified by email
Best of luck my friend
Email address
First Name
Last Name
This form also adds you to my newsletter list.