Please pardon the bad photography, but after a long day of painting, looking at a computer screen is the last thing my tired eyes want to do.
Here we see more layering. I laid out a new clean pallete and new paint. I glazed over the underpainting and will continue this until it is done. I push the darks and pull out the lights. I use a liquin medium to thin the color and in the darker areas, I do direct painting with thick brushstrokes.
You will see my confidence grow with each layer and I will get bolder with each layer. In my acting days, I saw an interview with Sir Lawrence Olivier. He said the day he did not get nervous before he went on stage was the day that he quit acting. I approach my paintings the same way...can I do it? How do I do it? As it starts to come together I get bolder with my approach. Don't get me wrong, a good dose of confidence goes a long way, but a bit of humility does too. It forces me to look hard at the subject, ask questions, adjust, and treat my subject with the respect that it deserves.
Give yourself freedom and don't get hung up in the details too much. Remember, you are doing a painting not a photo. Correct things, look closely at the things in the photo that need adjustments. DO NOT be a slave to your reference. Trust your eye, not the photo. A perfect example of this are bears. They have tiny eyes. It works in the photo but not in the painting. I always take a bit of artistic license and make them just a bit larger in my painting, this gives the face a balance and life. Portraits are no different, look at the reference and decide where you need to adjust tonal values, highlights, etc.
I was asked about leaving some construction lines, or pencil lines. Yes, I don't always cover all of them. It is not necessary to cover everything. I learned this from a wonderful artist, Mark Eberhard. It gives the painting a painterly effect but does not distract.
I will post more answers to questions (thank you guys, by the way) in the next post.