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Marks table pallet trouble with the light on it

My room is all black including the ceiling.  My source light is 5000 k 85 watt with 5000 lux (lumens).  My lux on Marks  painting pallet (position flat) is 250 , my light on my canvas is 15 lux and light on my shadow box setup is also 15 lux.  The light on my pallet is blinding to me at 250 lux compared 15 on canvas and my object being painted.

I tried Marks up right pallet, but paint will not stay on it I don't care how much I spread it out on the pallet, so that is out.  No light is coming from the front of pallet because of black wall on all sides and ceiling.

Any help would be appreciated


  • @bigal2 ; Would love to see a long-view shot of your studio.  Envy your all black room.  Summer
  • @bigal2 ; You've go an excellent setup there.  I had the same problem with palettes that were angled.  Now they are all flat.  Oil was separating from the paints and running onto the floor no matter how often I remixed. 

    Maybe I'm not seeing this correctly, but when you are seated in the chair, are your eyes focused on the center of the canvas?  Or, do you paint upwards?  If you are tall this is probably a non-issue. 

    Your lighting is correct with the 5000K mimicking daylight.  

    The only thing that comes to mind about the glare on your palette is the white paper so close to the canvas in that particular position.  Maybe it could be lower and closer to the palette.  Mark recommends wearing dark clothing.  And, I keep my overhead light further back at a 45-degree angle to the canvas.  My guess is that the lighting angle may be the culprit.  I hope other members will weigh in here.  Summer     
  • Concerning eye height it is 47 inches from floor and so is center of my canvas and portrait.

    Concerning paper hanger, I just hung a black cloth over it and did not change a thing.

    I wear black shirt and black cowboy hat.

    My 35 degree angle on my canvas is right as you can see in the photo.  So will not adjust my light for a pallet that is flat.  My pallet when vertical has 15 lux and that is where the problem is it is lying flat, showing a lux of 250.

     My shadow light box has 15 lux and that is why the color checker matches my 45 degree block with white paint on it setup in my shadow box be side my still life.

    So only thing not showing 15 lux is my flat pallet and that is 250 lux or lumens (brightness of light).  Making this very hard to see my colors because light is harsh.

  • Does your light fixture have a reflecting parabola? If so remove it and see if that helps
  • Light spiral type screwed into a socket, with no reflectors behind it, with black wall behind it.
  • My pallet is fine if it is vertical like my canvas is.  I can see colors, but soon as I lay it  flat and or slanted on my second pallet, I have to lean way to the left side in this case to see them and that isn't as good as vertical.  Really makes it hard to mix colors and lot of times never do get them right.
  • Love to see the paints thickened a bit so they will stay on vertical Pallet, since I made one like Marks and tried using it. Nothing I have tried so far has stopped them from creeping down or in some cases running fairly fast. 

    Tried thinning out the piles and that helped a little. 

    Now this is using Marks paint in tubes, have not tried mixing my own.  hope to find solution, so I don't have to mix my own paints.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited December 2017
    I remember Mark saying that when you are looking at a reflection, hold your hand out towards the reflection, and draw an imaginary line straight up towards the ceiling and you'll find that is the source of the reflection.  This theory has worked for me in the past several times and I was able to solve the glare problems.  I used a lux meter when I first set up my studio.

     What happens when you turn off all the lights in the studio?  Do you still see glare?  And one of the legs on the easel closest to your problem seems to be made of metal, or that could just be the photo. 
  • It is not glare, just much brighter light all over as 250 lumens proves.  Over ten times brighter than my still life and canvas.

    leg is wood.
    Line straight up to ceiling is covered with black. 

    No glare when turn out lights, all walls and ceiling are black.

    Lumens (Lux) is 250 on my light meter on flat pallet, while my canvas and still life and portrait in this case are all 15.  see my first comments it explains that.  Only difference is pallet is flat and they are upright.  Stand my pallet and light lumens is same 15. 

    Mark must see this or he would not prefer to paint with a vertical pallet.  I made one just like his and wow what a difference.
  • edited December 2017
    I don’t know what information I could possibly ad to help... and this may not apply for your set up... when I had trouble with lights and glare I had to literally move my light to the side and much farther back.... so I have an over head light where I need it and another light on a tripod that is very tall back and to the side..... I purchased photography lights tripods and umbrellas prior to all this and they came with the right bulbs so when I was having a problem I got that stuff out and moved it all around till I found what worked.... I have a big basement to paint in though so not sure if that info will help.
  • bigal2

    The physics problem you are suffering is described as - the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection.

    The proof will be measuring the lux value of the seat.

    Mark discusses this issue in one of his Q&A sessions. His metaphor was ping pong balls.

    So the angle of incidence to your palette equals the angle of reflection to your eyes. Changing this relationship by tilting the palette will substantially reduce the glare.


  • What's a Lumen?

    Quote from a web page:  Lumens measure how much light you are getting from a bulb. More lumens means it's a brighter light; fewer lumens means it's a dimmer light.

    To your statement above concerning the ping pong ball, my flat pallet is the brightest spot on the ball.

    So I took a white plastic grocery bag and mounted on sticks and defused the light and reduced my lux from 180 to 40.  It seems darker to me, but that can't be, the meter doesn't lie.

    So I than placed my meter on the canvas on same angle as canvas which is normally 18 lux and it remained at 18.  go figure.  Didn't change the lux at all. 

    Some where I read in one of these blogs  that really new lux and he said we need it around 15.

    My canvas is perfect with the way it is set up, because the canvas controls the whole setup and the pallet is put where it is because of convenience of use. 

    So will place this defuser in place and see how my color mixing goes.  Can't do this now, because I just cleaned my pallet. 

    Some thing inside me tells me that this may not be the panacea, but will not know until I try it.

    I have to plan another composition to paint. 

    Will look up Marks question and answer and listen to that before I do anything.



  • Tried to find Marks question and answer video on my situtation, but didn't find it.  Would appreciate the # of it if you remember.   thanks
  • bigal2

    Anyway, here's the new episode!


  • Came to me, the white plastic grocery bag I used to defused the light from 180 lux to 40 will give my paints a bluish tint, so that won't. work.

    Concerning Marks setups, it looks  like his ceiling are 9 or10 feet high in his videos, 

    My ceiling is 8 ft, my light is around 7' & 3"high.  My angle 35 degrees is what Mark recommended and okay for canvases under 20 inches high. 

    My canvas is centered on my eye level of 47 inches, so that makes the top of my canvas is 57 inches off the floor.  With my ceiling 7ft I have a little glare at the top, but doen't seem to bother me if not to technical at the top.  Will lower it to work on it if it does.

    But my problem with the pallet lighting 180 lux which is 10 times bright than my canvas which is 18 lux and that is major problem.
  • Tried to post comment on my painting, but would not let me do it with the picture.

    I could not see my pallet because of brightness and which is not glare, they are to separate condition, I painted this portrait in black and white to see if I could get my values right.  This cheap canvas is very course texture so it is showing lot of glare.

     You are getting glare and brightness confused, you can have a very bright room and low right room, neither create glare.  Glare comes from the front like Mark says and I have a black wall in front of my pallet.  All my walls and ceiling are black so it is not glare.
  • This is my 3rd portrait painting and actually this is my 3rd painting over all using the Carder method. 

    I attempted paint before with not good results.  I was one of these people that actually failed at drawing stick people in grade school compared lot of the other kids.

    Worse yet, my brother is and excellent artist and this really in time. 

  • bigal2

    Ok, if you can’t Resolve the problem with the palette by adjusting the lighting or surface angle of the palette (can you locate the palette on your right?) then suggest you use a vertical palette.
    use some wax or oleopasto to thicken the paint. Or you could set it out on absorbent paper fo a time so it sets up a bit.

  • Just watched Q & A #2 done by Mark and that ping pong ball story is about the color checker and glare. 

    No glare on my color checker since my walls are black all around it. 

    My situation is the brightness of my paints on my pallets 10 (180 lux) times greater than on my canvas and still life (18 lux), thus making it hard to mix paints on my flat and slanted pallets. 
  • Pallet right or left of me does not change the brightness of my pallet laying flat. 

    I already address the situation the vertical pallet using Marks Genva paints in comments above. 

    I know vertical pallet is the answer, but will have to stop using Genva paints, because I will not use additives which I have no idea what affect on they will have on his paints.
  • On the same side of the light bulb as the palett, hang a sheet of cloth, screen or paper that is translucent to filter the direct light on the palette but not interfere with direct light on canvas, color checker, source picture or shadow box. For this you will have to think like an engineer as well as an artist. Worst case you might have to have two light bulbs equal in power/color temp and partially enclose them and mount/position them to illuminate separate work surfaces (palette, canvas etc.).  Another possible solution may be to get a less powerful light bulb. Good Luck. 
  • Well  covered most of this above , so won't comment on yours.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited December 2017
    A little late but here is the graphic of what Denis was talking about for those of you who are following along closely.  The angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection.


  • Flatty said:
    This seems so overly complicated? Call me simple
    I have to agree.. I have a white ceiling, a yellow wall next to me and 3 yellow LED bulbs in a household ceiling light. Proper lighting and a better setup would help but I still manage to mix and colour match. Even when I use a daylight saving bulb in a lamp directly over the palette.

    So I can't visualise the problem really?
  • This has brought out a lot of peoples views and appreciate that, and now because of the length of it people area asking question that have already been talked about, and can't blame them, for not reading the whole thing,but I think you will find it really good over all.

    Sun light the number one painter has caused us to try to replicate this with such passion and that is what I am trying to do. 

    I want to see my pallet in the best light I can and than load my brush and put that sunlight on my canvas, and when you put each patch of light where it belongs on that canvas and do not blend it,, it is magic ,quoting Mark Carder. 

    It is amazing to see you canvas compared to what you replicated in close comparison.

    So back to my situation:::  I know it is the vertical pallet that is the key to getting the light best over all, why because my canvas is vertical and there for same light as my canvas.  We correct the light in our shadow box with color checker and that takes care of that. 

    Not sure how I am going to do that, not interested in adding other additives along with which is already in the paint.  I am not a chemist, so will leave that alone. 

    Since this lumens is a brightness problem and not a glare problem, moving around my flat pallet does not change anything unless I move it out of my black room walls and ceiling,  My lumens on my canvas is around 18, which is called for, so can not change my main light.  But lay the pallet flat lumens is 180, ten times brighter than my canvas.  There in lies the problem.  Oh well if these was easy every buddy would be doing this.

    Al Schryvers
  • I understood your problem and that is what my earlier response is aimed at.
  • edited December 2017
    I would say if you have everything else perfect everywhere else in the entire room and your only problem is your actual palette is brighter then mix paint as close as you can on it .... then check the color to what is in your still life or on your photo that you have said is in the right light, adjust accordingly, (either lighten or darken the value to match) wouldn’t that be the key to just getting on with painting.

  • The value is what I see, see my painting above, like I said you would answer your answer by reading above comments. 
  •   You are explaining Carder method and I know that.  I have been painting out doors with his color checker and it works well out there to a point, the sun keeps changing position.  Moved inside to try to improve on it using a dark room, with a consistent controlled light.  Oh well love the challenge.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited December 2017
    @bigal2 ; I really admire how much work and effort you have put into your studio and art thus far.  Merry Christmas Al.  Let's see, other possibilities, the whites of your eyes, your muse playing tricks on you, some obscure scientific phenomenon.  Hmm.   ;)   Summer
  • Well my light represents the sun and it is at 11 oclock on my pallet giving the same flat colors of outdoors and the light on my canvas is at 35 degree angle of morning and night bringing out the colors, so guess science still in play in the world of light in nature and it is not some obscure scientific phenomenon as you say.
  • I'm having the same problem as noted in this discussion above of colors looking very different on my horizontal palette compared to the vertical canvas. Lighting on both is fairly similar with the pallet perhaps the smidge darker. It is not clear to this point what the resolution is.  What do others do to account for the difference?  Do you add things to the paint to thicken it and then use a palette in a vertical position or just learn to accommodate for the difference when mixing?
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