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How best to eliminate glare...I would appreciate some feedback.

My studio is set up in the living room. Glare is a real problem. There are bright white kitchen cupboards all along the wall behind my chair. I thought about getting a couple of folding screens to put behind my chair and covering them with black fabric. That might eliminate most of the glare because Mark says that glare always comes from directly opposite the canvas. If I could paint with the curtains open, with the glare eliminated by the black screens, do you think this would work?

However, I thought Mark said that you don’t get glare from light-sources at the sides of the canvas, but I seem to experience quite a lot of glare when the curtains are open. 

The alternative might be to set things up so that I paint with artificial light only.  One problem is that I can’t see color as well with artificial light as I do with daylight. (It's only a subtle difference, but still important) I’m 71 now and my specialist said that the retina deteriorates with age and does not cope as well with lower light. (Maybe I could add an extra light bulb, but I don't quite know how I could do that) The advantage to using artificial lighting is, of course, that I can paint any time I feel like it. If I set the studio up so that it I am using overhead lights only, then I'm going to have to find a way of blocking all the light that pours in over the top of the curtains. I would need to do this so that the lighting is always consistent whether I'm painting at night or during the day.

Today I looked at Lucia in the daylight with the curtains wide open, and I was upset by how rough the painting looked compared to when the curtains are shut. Will the quality be even worse if I just use overhead lights I wonder?

I would appreciate some advice from you more experienced people out there.  Thanks.




  • Dianna

    I’m sure you have seen Mark’s free video on setting up your studio.
    You are doing an outstanding job considering you are painting inside a diffused glare box.
    Suggest a black screen behind where you are sitting and wear dark clothing as a minimum.
    Work progressively toward changing the table cloth and getting a bolt of dark fabric to hang over the curtains.


  • Thank you very much for answering, Denis  @dencal  I love your comment about it being a diffused glare box, because that's exactly what it feels like!  I can easily change the table cloth, and I can also get dark fabric to hang over the curtains, although I'll have to give that some more thought if I want to continue to open and close them. (Spotlight have a suitable black fabric for only $2 a metre!) Do you think I should I get a room divider and drape it with black cloth for behind my chair? There are white pantries directly behind where I sit - I've tried hanging black fabric over them but it makes them a bit hard to use!  And do you think I should try to eliminate the light pouring in at the top of the curtains? Most of all, thank you for the word "diffused" because it helps me to understand the nature of the problem! 
  • Sorry Denis, I just noticed you said the black screen is a good idea.  Thank you.
  • Dianna

    Another thought. Some black foam board to shield the overhead light from shining on the walls and curtains.

  • Dianna

    Better still ... a light shade that does this will control glare from the walls and ceiling.


  • Wear polarized sunglasses. Just kidding. Everything Denis suggested is the right thing to do. Before you buy a room divider that may be too short and too expensive, give a look at these options for the drape behind you and to put in front of curtains. This one is adjustable in width from 5' to 10' and 7' high. and won't get in your way when you go for the tea tin. 

    There are a lot of similar options but all work the same way $35.00 isn't a bad price. BTW those clamps that come with the kit to secure the cloth to the cross bar can be bought in any hardware store.
  • Thanks to @dencal and @BOB73     The Framework Contraption seems like a fabulous idea.  I could actually have two - one to go in front of the curtains and one to go behind my chair in front of the pantries.  I could put curtain rings on the black fabric so that when I don't need it I can push it to one side.  Denis, I'm not sure I can change the light fitting because it matches another light fitting in the room, but I don't see any reason why I can't get some black foam board and get the husband of a friend who's a builder to construct something simple but effective around the light.  In relation to the curtains, I thought I could simply stitch some black fabric lightly to the top of the curtains so that they are as one, and I can then open and close them normally. I will have to give it some more thought.  But thank you both for your ideas and support.
  • Try to identify exactly where the glare is coming from.. Whether it is your clothing or the back wall or maybe from the light not being at the right angle to reflect the glare to the ground instead of your eyes. Might be an easier fix than you think. My easel is in the middle of my apartment too and I didn't have to do any room treatments other than having my light at a good angle. I bought black cloth and everything and then realized I didn't need it.
  • Hi @CJD    Yes, I know what you mean, and thank you for sharing your opinion with me.  @dencal  Is there any of your work on the Forum?  I've wondered a few times but never thought to ask.  @BOB73 I think you mentioned some time previously that your work is at a relative's place, whatever that means!!!  However, if you have some available I'd love to see it.  Thanks to everyone.
  • Hi, I've been thinking about the glare problem all day.  I have a feeling that when I have done enough blacking-out of the environment around the easel, I might find that I can see well enough with just the artificial light after all, because this time there won't be any glare. This in turn would mean that (provided I block the light pouring in over the curtains) that I can paint either night or day, and it won't make any difference. That would be a bonus. I will make sure I post another photograph of the 'studio' when I have finished blacking it out.
  • Dianna

    Get a pelmet installed.

  • @dencal   That's a wonderful idea, and so simple.  I will see what I can do.  In the meantime I have decided to cover the doors of the pantries (must be careful witj that spelling) with the black fabric which will probably work quite well.  Thank you again.
  • Have you considered Sherwin-Williams?
  • @BOB73   What is Sherwin-Williams?   Also, @dencal   Do you happen to know what kind of tape I should get from Bunnings today that I can use to stick the black fabric onto both the walls and the back of the pantry doors?  Thank you.
  • Dianna

    Sherwin Williams is a paint brand available in the USA.



  • Sorry D, I was sort of suggesting painting the walls and ceiling. That's what I'm going to do.
  • @BOB73 Please don't say sorry, I know what your sense of humour is like.  Interesting that you are going to paint everything black. What a good idea.  However, it's not something I can do here, Sherwin-Williams or not.       @dencal   The Hook & Loop system looks very interesting. I'll see if they have it in Bunnings and if not, I'll order them online. Thank you for your help.
  • I thought Sherwin Williams was a singer.
    Didn't he cover Paint It Black.

  • Actually I was going to paint the wall behind me black and the rest a neutral but dark grey. I have a window issue too but a "room-darkening" roll-up shade will take care of that. I've used them before and they work well for day-sleepers like me. I'll have to get one for the door too, it's mostly glass.
  • Well, it looks as though both are right, although I don't think Sherwin Williams the singer had anything to do with Paint it Black.  Both I had a good laugh, though.  Anyway, getting back to the black-out problem, I've been busy devising ways of doing it all day and I'm hoping within a day or so I will have it all sorted out. Will post a picture when it's done.  Good night everyone.

  • Don’t overdo it,..I spent weeks with black drapes and lights trying to get it like marks studio, but my bedroom is not marks studio and thus could never achieve the levels he has, drapes work a little and lighting helps but maybe only 15% better than not having done it at all in my point of view 
  • I suggest purchasing a light to attach to your easel and turning off the overhead light in the room. I bought this one from Amazon for around $39 and it even comes with the bulb! ToJane Swing Arm Desk Lamp,Architect Table Clamp Mounted Light,…

    This essentially solved my glare problem.

  • @tgarney Nice set-up. Does the light fall on your palette well?  I have a door like that and it's behind me so I'll have to cover it. I see you've received training from TEEX. About a half of my fire training came from them. 
  • @tgarney  Wow, that's interesting.  I will definitely check that out.  Are you able to use the bulbs that Mark recommends?  5000K or should it be something less because it's closer?

    I have worked hard all afternoon covering everything in my 'studio' with black fabric. I used bulldog clips to attach black fabric to the curtains. I moved two tall lamps from elsewhere and used a piece of dowling to stretch between them and draped some black fabric over them for the other side. (Thanks for the idea @BOB73)

    I stuffed some towel into the top of the curtains (pelmets would definitely be better but this might do in the meantime) and it keeps out most of the daylight. My best job was to cover all the doors of the pantry individually in black fabric.  I think they look quite cute.

    I will have to drape some more fabric over the back wall behind the easels because there's too much light reflecting off the wall and the black painting I have there.  I will also need to put some carpet down over my lovely bright white tiles.  Probably anything dark would do.

    Last but not least the overhead light.  I notice that there is still a horrible amount of glare on the painting from the overhead light and I can't understand it because I think my easel is at a 35 degree angle.  I would appreciate an opinion.  Thank you @tgarney for that tip about the light, it looks fabulous. But if I stay with the overhead light, then I need to deal with it.  @Dencal mentioned and that I might get a box thing made up for it to channel the light to the canvas and not let it bounce all over the ceiling and walls.  I will check this out.  Sorry this is such a long posting. Don't really expect people to read it, it's just that I'm so excited about my new studio.....

  • Dianna

    Wow! You have been busy. Looking good.
  • @dencal   Yes, VERY busy. Thanks.
  • Dianna

    Have a look around dollar stores for a light shade - big, opaque, black outside, white inside, made of plastic or metal.  A conical pool table light. About $38 on Amazon.


  • @dencal   I will check it out on Amazon tomorrow. Thank you.  I can't quite envisage what you mean but I'm sure it will make sense when I go online with that description.
  • I've just had a quick look online and I see what you mean. The problem is that the light fitting which is there presently has a wide round base attached to the ceiling and I would have to have the whole thing removed and re-fitted to get that shape of light shade to work.  I don't really want to do this because there's another matching light in the same room.......  so just not sure what to do.....
  • @dencal  I think I will talk to an electrician and see what they have to say.  The issue might become a lot simpler once I've done that. Thank you. 
  • Dianna said:
    5000K or should it be something less because it's closer?
    @Dianna, the 5000K refers to the color, not the power.  So 5000K, regardless of the setup.
  • @PaulB   Thank you.  I had no idea!   I was thinking about this Forum the other day.  Over the years I have been in the pattern of painting and then giving up.  I would become frustrated at not knowing how to deal with whatever problems I was encountering and eventually, sooner or later, I would just give up. It might be many years before I would go back to painting again.  Considering I believe it is my true nature to draw and paint - I have been doing it since I was old enough to pick up a pen and brush - and I'm sure many of you are the same - this has been a terrible waste.  Thanks to the Forum, I now have the help I need to resolve these problems instead of just giving up, so I can continue to develop my art.  I don't think I have the words to explain what a gift this is. 

  • I think I would turn off the over head light and buy or build a free standing support 7-8 feet tall and clamp an inexpensive lamp to it. A support even more simple than your easel but taller.
  • Hi BOB73   --  Another very good idea. If I used a free standing support/light then I could actually re-position the working area if I wanted to. I need to give this more thought. Thank you for your input.  

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