Matthew has been working very closely with ERCO LIGHTING to help formulate his ideas and visions for using lighting not just to display the art but to enhance and become part of the art itself.

He starts with sourcing the subject which he uses for the painting, sculpting with a Profoto flash light to define the face and bone structure in the photography session.

Two types of lighting systems are used in the studio, although not simultaneously. There are fluorescent tube lights that are a specific combination of colour kelvins for painting under. The lumens of the light can be modified without changing the colour temperature of the fluorescents, preventing any changes that may affect the colours Matthew sees in both the painting and when mixing the oils to paint with. The studio’s walls, floor and ceiling are painted matte black so as not to reflect any distracting colour wavelengths of light.

The second lighting system is the tailored ERCO narrow beam LED spot lights that are used for the final display of the paintings to enhance the chiaroscuro effect and atmosphere of the painting. Two ERCO lights are directed at the same point on the painting; one brings out the skin tones and the other enhances the highlights. Each light has a different colour temperature and the lumens of each are also adjustable to tailor to the desired effect on that particular section of the painting. Up to five pairs of lights can be directed at a portrait, with varying strength of lumen ensuring the particular feature exposed is done so with perfect definition. Care is taken to make sure no light hits any shadowed or black section of the painting, giving these areas an even greater depth of darkness.

This way of sculpting and manipulating the light on the painting enhances it to complete the piece, and is crucial to the final display. The combination of lighting and finished hyper-realistic painting takes the work into a mesmerising and engaging darker atmosphere where the viewer is transported and immersed within the portrait.