Studio wall color

Hi everyone!

I’m getting ready to paint my new studio space and the contractor is driving me insane! He is trying to talk me out of painting my studio black. No matter how many times I explain Mark’s method, he keeps trying to talk me out of it. It’s a beautiful new space and he’s feeling very deflated with my color choice.

I have to admit that he’s making me think twice. I know the space would be more pleasing to the eye in a color other than black. I’m considering making a compromise to a very dark gray.

I’m a beginner painter and I’m trying to follow Mark’s guidance closely. I’ve searched this forum and reviewed the discussions on this topic. I came across a post from Mark where he says it’s not critical that the room be entirely black but it can be a deep neutral tone. I’ve read a post where someone painted their studio dark but not black and they sometimes will still put a piece of dark fabric behind them to paint, but they don’t do that all the time.

I’d so appreciate hearing back from anyone who also is closely following Marks guidance whether they have black walls or a dark color and what they feel about their choice. If black is the best, than that’s the way I’ll go.

I took a 2 week class with Mark in Austin and I absolutely loved my painting result for a first attempt. I do notice, however, that  my painting is very dark on my home wall. I like the results achieved but I may not always want to paint such dark paintings. I am trying to create a painting space that will work for whatever style of painting I gravitate to in the future. I have watched a billion painting videos where instructors are painting in light/medium toned walls and have beautiful results. That confuses me a bit. After I learn to mix and really see color, will I always want to work in such a dark space?

if anyone who has an opinion can share with me, I’d be very grateful.


  • edited May 2022
    Hi, @CarolAnn. I follow Mark's method closely. My studio is a really dark grey that is almost neutral but leans slightly towards green.  It is flat (non-glossy) and reflects almost no light. It fits in with the neutral grey-green colour scheme of the rest of my house.  This works well for me. I don't think pure black is essential. I think I'd get depressed in a totally black space and I can understand your painter's reluctance to go with pure black. The photo below gives a rough idea of the colour. You can see I have black-out blinds so even on sunny days I can keep it very dark if I want to.  :)

  • dencaldencal -
    edited May 2022

    Welcome to the Forum.

    Yes. Black is best if you want to eliminate glare and reflection.

    However, as you suggest a dark neutral will also achieve this result. Grey, Green, Red, Brown are all good.

    As a minimum Black fabric draped behind your standing/sitting position. Wear dark clothing.
    Black fabric behind the easel and a nicely toned canvas and palette are good practices.


  • Thank you for commenting! I appreciate it. 
  • I agree with @tassieguy.

    If it helps I don't have a studio but instead have a lounge painted with a white ceiling, and bright yellow (yes yellow) walls. It's still doable! ;)
  • I like the neutral gray-green, but my wife would kill me! :D
  • @tassieguy… what are the things near the ceiling covered with foil?
  • Listen to your contractor 
  • @GTO, they are baffles I made to stop the light from my 5300k lights spreading all over the studio - the are covered in shiny foil and reflect all the light onto my easel and pallet where I want it. With the side lights I'm very happy with the light I have for painting but it's hard to take decent shots of paintings in that light because I get glare on the painting from the lights.  
  • TedBTedB -
    edited May 2022
    I like the neutral gray-green, but my wife would kill me! 

    I'm partial to a gray-green studio, with a dark gray felt cloth wall-drape directly behind me. The black cavern studio just doesn't work for me. Cool LED floods and off I go.  I do have a good, balanced shadow box for studies....that helps.  It takes more light than you might think. Several people who have been in Mark's studio have commented that it's deceptively bright, contrary to how it looks on video.  "Like the dairy aisle" was one description. 
  • I would love to have an official, prepared studio... As for right now I paint outside under the patio, and just found a spot that puts the least glare onto my canvas.  Maybe that's why my paintings turn out the way they do  ;)
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