I always start with the face; It's the most inspiring and meaningful part of each piece, and if it's not happening, it's junk. This first sitting was about 5 or 6 hours, and I did my best to document as I went. this is the second time I've painted the model for this piece and I'm really enjoying it, she's got a great skin tone; much darker and warmer then most of the models I've worked with. I started with two shades of mid-tones, blocking in areas that have the least amount of detail and variation. this makes it easy to see where my defining features are, and really helps blending when I get into the darker and lighter colors. I'll then start adding some medium darks and medium lights, getting the flesh ironed out before I move onto the features. one of the most challenging aspects of painting faces is that before it's about %95 complete, it looks horrible (evidence below). It's really easy for me to get caught up on that and overwork things... but with every piece I have more confidence that it'll turn out ok, and try not to get distracted the first day.
once things are all in their place, I'll work on making everything sit right. then comes loose highlights and details. I used to be really uncomfortable working back into dry oil paint, so I always felt the need to get as close to finishing the face as I could in the first sitting. lately I've been able to rework and add to areas with no problem, so the process has become a lot more relaxing. there's a lot more work to be done to the face but i'll leave that until the body and background are laid down, that way I actually know how everything is looking.
I'm pretty happy with this first sitting, next i'll work my way down the torso. thanks for reading, and feel free to leaves comments with any questions or comments.