The illustrator Dean Cornwell was so damn good that when he painted a moonlit scene, he didn't need to show the moon, or the night sky, or any sky at all.
Instead, he was able to convey moonlight using his exquisite control over the hue of skin:
And the reflections on those bracelets:
and even his treatment of shadow:
|Photos courtesy of the Kelly Collection of American Illustration|
Cornwell wasn't following any formula. You'll never find a tube of paint labeled "moonlight." For a different approach, look at Frederick Remington's palette for moonlight:
Another painter, William Metcalf, offers a third treatment:
But perhaps the most luminous painting I've ever seen is this illustration by N.C. Wyeth, at the Brandywine Museum in Pennsylvania:
Contrast Wyeth's close, careful observation of the properties of light with the rough violence of that long horizontal scrape of a palette knife through thickly applied white paint:
There's a lot of magic in that moonlight.