Choosing color for art studio walls

Picture of table with brushes, pens, pencils, and other art suppliesChoosing to paint the walls in my new art studio Bher Gallery White (L260-15) was hard. While doing my research, the most helpful article on this topic was Will Kemp’s blog post on the perfect wall color for your art studio. Contemporary painters have much to gain from following these time-tested rules.

How I chose the color for my art studio walls

The picture shows my art supplies and easel with the Duron Light Topaz (7731W) the previous owner painted in the room several years ago. A lovely color before I converted the room into my art studio. Now, it’s distracting me and biasing my color choices while painting.

While searching for primer, I found a can of Sherwin Williams Biscuit (SW6112) in my garage that I never used. After putting two coats on the walls, I now had beige. Biscuit is a mid-tone white that works equally well with reds, blues, and yellows and came highly recommended as a neutral.

As much as I appreciate the color outside my studio, I quickly learned that beige and tan does not inspire me. Plus, natural light for the walk out basement-type room consists of one wall with sliding glass doors that cover 75% of it.

Having now convinced myself of the need for white walls, I headed over to Home Depot and discovered the gallery white color. It’s a white that isn’t stark, cold, uninviting in-your-face white. I held the swatch under all 4 types of light sources in the display and could not see any blue, red, or yellow undertone to the paint.

Why wall color matters and recommended colors for an art studio

The colors of your walls will prejudice your eye when it comes to mixing colors and viewing colors on the canvas. This is one of the main reasons why a painting will look brilliant in a brightly lit classroom, so-so against the cream color of one house, and absolutely hideous against the pale bluish-grey color of another house.

According to Will Kemp, the recommended paint colors for artist studios are mid-tones colors that are not too strongly biased toward warm/cool. The recommended color varies according to what you are doing in the studio:

  • Classical still life painter? Chose a very dark grey or black to avoid unnecessary shadows around the still life setup.
  • Painting portraits? Chose a green/grey to highlight skin tones.
  • Contemporary artist and/or painting from photos? Go with white, but even galleries and museums have difficulty choosing the right white as pointed out by ARTnews.

So I’m going with the Bher Gallery White. I’m repainting alone this time as few people can see the value of helping me repaint a room the next day. This would be the value of using paint swatches on the wall before purchasing the color and inviting friends over to paint.

2 thoughts on “Choosing color for art studio walls

  1. Pingback: How my garden inspires my art | Karen L. Thomas

  2. Pingback: Choosing Lights for Art Studio | Karen L. Thomas

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