From Hot to Cool
Back in the olden days art lighting was accomplished with incandescent bulbs because all other bulbs were inadequate for the task. Fluorescent lights, although long lasting, had a very limited spectrum, and they tended to dim and change color over their lifetime. Plasma discharge bulbs, such as neon, were monochromatic, so also completely useless.
So we worked with incandescent bulbs, creating the famous tube bulb, in lengths of six, eight, or 12 inches, so the filaments would provide a broad-sourced, more general lighting. Such long filaments ran at much lower temperatures and provided much less light, but lasted for a very long time.
Early bulbs would darken their insides as they threw off tungsten atoms that coated the inner surface. Eventually, this is how filaments became thin enough to fail. There was a solution for this though.
We made much smaller capsules to hold the filaments, and filled them with a halogen gas at slight pressure, rather than the hard vacuum of early light bulbs. Why? The halogen gas molecules were actually rather useful because when the filament threw off a tungsten atom, as it cooled the gas would escort it back to the hot filament and reattach it. This made the bulb last much longer and the insides didn’t darken with time.
These bulbs needed to burn much hotter for this effect to take place, but smaller filaments meant less power was needed for much more light. It seemed ideal except for one small problem. The greater light output meant that it was now producing a lot of infrared (heat) and Ultraviolet (UV).
Infrared heat damages many types of art (such as paintings) but UV is much more insidious, attacking pigments and materials at a molecular level. And UV is also bad for human eyes, so we had to add heavy glass shields to absorb the UV radiation to prevent damage.
Keeping your Cool
Finally LED bulbs were invented, which didn’t relay on channeling large amounts of electricity through elements to heat them up to a glowing temperature. Instead they just made the photons, the actual particles of light itself, through an electronic process that used about 1/10th of the power, creating practically no waste heat.
And the photons could be created at any normal light frequency, so could be any color you desired. Many modern LED bulbs have the capability to alter their output to change color. These can be controlled by Wi-Fi home automation systems.
If it is a dull gray, rainy day outside, the automation system can add more sunlight color, and keep the mood happy and bright inside.
LEDs for Art
Lighting a picture, for example, is best done by recreating the light in which it was painted. Paul Cézanne (post-impressionist, French) painted landscapes, portraits, interior still life, and so on, under all sorts of lighting conditions. Landscapes obviously need outdoor-like light.
His famous Pyramid of Skulls on the other hand, needs delicately balanced daylight from the left and deep shadow to create the drama of this still life. With silhouette lamps, such a picture can be perfectly illuminated, putting more of the right-colored light where it is needed, and less where it is not.
LEDs have revolutionized art lighting. They can provide as much or as little light as necessary, in virtually any tint, shade, or tone. They are also very versatile, able to light indoor or outdoor areas, so your topiary, fountain, pools, or trees don’t need to be limited to power-hungry incandescent or sodium vapor lights.
Everyone loves our Art Lighting
Olga Kramar wrote to us and said:
“The technician who did our work yesterday was excellent! The way we had planned to light our artwork using eyeball conversions would have given us mediocre results, because of the distance of the lights from the art. Pablo suggested a couple of alternatives and they were spot on. The dedicated, separately controlled art lights are nothing short of spectacular. I only wish we hadn’t waited so long.”
We feel the same way, but Pablo is just the person for that job, which is why we sent him! Of course we think all of our designers are geniuses!
That’s the huge difference between your people and other electricians; they don’t just connect wires, they create lighting.
Thank you for your kind words, Olga. It’s our customers who make this work worthwhile, after all!
If you want your art to look stunning, call the electrical experts you can trust at Illuminations Lighting Design. Of course we do your electrical work safely and legally, but we also do it beautifully!
We’re based in Houston, Texas, but in truth, ILD is the only “one-stop” destination for lighting design services, engineering, landscape lighting services, and installation in the whole state of Texas. And to top it off we are unrivaled by any lighting firm in the United States for lighting that is art.
We would love to hear from you, so pick up the phone and give us a call at 713-863-1133 or toll free at 800-863-1184, so you can learn more before we begin your journey towards perfect lighting.