About 15 years ago I went through a phase where I painted people at the beach in very tight compositions. I think it was an important exercise because I was still learning how to understand natural color and the effects of light in the real world.
Illustrators often take liberties with color and light for the purpose of telling a story – that is how I had approached by books years ago as a writer and artist. Realistic light was not as important in dreamy narratives.
But painters who wish to achieve a natural look need to spend time outdoors with nature. This inevitably affects the way one sees and paints.