This is a demo of a painting I started about a week ago. I am further along than the below pictures, so I will post Part 2 shortly. The painting is 24 x 36 stretched linen and I'm working from two photos combined in photoshop (foreground and background). For the best color, when painting from photos, I work off my computer screen -- the colors are truer because it is light producing the colors instead of pigments.
I started with a basic drawing, making sure everything was located in the right place and focusing on the details of the face. The drawing took about 3 hours. I then lightly sprayed it with some fixative and then toned the canvas using a mixture of Transparent Oxide Red and Ultramarine Deep.
Next, I did a block-in of the key features. Using mainly the local color of the area, I just wanted to get enough down so I can make the correct color judgments when I do the final strokes. I used a large hog bristle Signet brush for the block in, mixing the paint with some medium to keep it translucent -- this way I'm keeping some of the canvas and tone showing through the strokes.
I start right into the eyes, forehead and nose, slowly adding more detail and surrounding color. This is about 4 hours of work from toning the canvas to this point. Drawing accuracy and color is always in the front of my mind, if something is wrong, I scrap the whole area down and start over again (I did the eye twice and the nose three times)
More to come in the next day or two.