Overcast light for a complex subject

Robert F. Blum, The Ameya, 1893, The Metropolitan Museum
Quick tip: When painting a complex scene, especially one with color and pattern, use overcast or indirect light. This choice removes from the scene the complex pattern of cast shadows, and it keeps the color values more in their home ranges.

Indirect light is also very flattering for faces of women and children. Generally the more the planes face upward, the lighter they are.

This painting by Robert Blum (1857-1903) of Cincinnati was based on sketches and studies he did from life in Japan. Thanks to the Met's wonderful web interface and large files, you can get a close look at the painting even if you don't live near New York.

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