I am trying to light an expensive oil painting that is installed above a fireplace in my study. I currently have an eyeball light that was installed by the builder that is horrible. The artist chose to seal the work with a varnish coat which reflects light. Since the art is installed above eye level, all I can see is glare when I view the art from my desk. Is there a light that won’t reflect or some words of wisdom that you can share with me? The painting is very dark and must be lit to see the detail.

Unfortunately, glare is a very common problem when lighting art if the surface is reflective. There is a simple solution if you understand what is really happening. You have to understand that light travels in a straight line, as does the reflection. So it’s not the light source, it the angle by which the light source is aimed. This is a phenomena called the angle of incidence, which is defined as the angle of incidence of a ray or beam is the angle measured from the ray to the surface normal. In other words, when light is pointed at a reflective surface the light or glare is reflected at the exact opposite angle. By moving the light source forward or back, left or right you can redirect the glare out of your normal viewing angle. So if your viewing angle at your desk is left of the art, mount the projector to the left of your painting. Likewise, if your viewing angle at the desk is right of the art, mount the projector to the right of your painting. If you want proof or to test the theory, have someone hold up a flashlight from several angles while you are sitting at your desk. When the glare is squarely in your eyes, you are sitting in the angle of incidence.

One of the main advantages of the Phantom Contour Projector is the ability to mount the light off center to deal with the angle of incidence. Since the Contour Projector produces a focused light source, it is still possible to mask the light to the exact contour of the object, even thought the light is off center. That means that you will not have unsightly shadows on the wall to contend with or reflective glare from the art. For more information about dealing with glare or mounting postions for the Phantom Contour Projector contact at Phantom Lighting System. We will respond to you in a timely manor and provide you the necessary information to illuminate your art. You can also contact us toll free at 800-863-1184 to discuss your project in detail.