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I've heard that some painters favored "north light". I suppose that this is light coming from the north, but what is so special about it? If I live somewhere where the literal north light is blocked for some reason, can I simulate it artificially, and if so, how?

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"North light" basically means you have a window that the sun isn't coming through -- because that's what you get with a north-facing window in the northern hemisphere outside the tropics.

North light is daylight, but indirect. This means you get the daylight color-temperature, without the light actually casting really intense beams of light through the window. Any window on the outdoors with indirect enough sunlight will probably do, as will diffuse lighting sources that have a "daylight" color temperature.

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    You're also getting a pretty consistent colour temperature throughout the day. To a photographer, no big deal, but a painter who has to deal with metamerism and dry-down (a problem with just about every medium except oils and pastels, where you need to be able to predict the final colour since it will be different from the working colour), that constant, reliable 6500K or so is a real blessing. – user2719 Jan 28 '14 at 4:17

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