by: STAFF PHOTO - LED artistsPortland artist Seth Tane had a problem. He creates large-scale oil paintings of industrial scenes in a realistic style. He can spend eight hours a day for months on one painting. But he needs consistent lighting that doesn't use 300 watts and scorch his head. He went to Eleek, a Portland company that makes and renovates commercial light fixtures and specializes in LEDs. (They did the chandeliers in Seattle's renovated Union Station.) 

He wanted it to be bright and clear as daylight. 

"I've seen people paint under fluorescent light, which has a greenish hue, and you can see in their work, they use a lot more red." He even noticed some of his older paintings didn't look quite right in gallery conditions.

Unbeknownst to the public, art galleries often change every bulb, blown or not, before a show because conditions must be perfect for viewers. Tane says many galleries are now switching to LEDs for convenience.

But after going up many blind alleys tracking down parts, Tane concluded that, for his needs, the LED industry isn't yet ready for prime time. In the end, he's content with the LED lights he rigged up. But setting them up was a big distraction from painting.

"I felt like I need decent lights for decent larger paintings, but my friends would say, 'Just shut the f--- up and paint, what's your problem, man?' " 

— Joseph Gallivan

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