I started off with Crescent watercolor Illustration board 30"by40". Dipped my brush in Gamsol mineral spirits and created the line drawing. In my experience if the drawing that I do first is not right then I will spend three times longer fixing it later on. Not to mention that I spend several hours noodling a bad drawing that is later erased off. Once I am happy with the simple but accurate drawing, I move on to filling in the local value and color of her skin. In this case I did a very saturated violet straight out of the tube (Permanent Magenta). (When I first started oil painting my professors told me to unsaturated my colors more, and after so many years of painting in neutrals I have been wanting to go back to super vibrant saturated colors. So with this painting I begin a new venture of growth as an artist.) Once I have the local value filled in I begin to put the lightest light on the figure to know my range of values on the figure from the darks to the lights. What I wanted to accomplish with the figure was to capture the fall out light.
What I learned about my process of painting is that I work the whole figure and build it up to a certain point, then I begin to work on one thing at a time to a certain level of finish. For example I started with the face, then to the hands, finishing up with the hair. A mistake I have made before is when beginning to render the face when the drawing and value structure haven't been established.
Above you see me figuring out the structure of the face and the direction of the brush strokes. I tried to keep the values between the mid tone and dark tones.
After the face I moved on to the hand. Getting the structure and highlights on it but keep the highlights darker then the highlights on the breast so that the hand contrast against something lighter.
I begin the hair rendering by making it a flat dark shape. Then the highlights are put in. Noticing that the highlights should be darker I just brush them off and Put more darks in the hair. I didn't like the hair until I put in the background and simplified the shape of the hair. The background was all done with a palette knife.
Happy New Years! Enjoy.