In addition to putting together my recent show and going to Penland, I've also continued going to life drawing sessions at the fabulous local studio, Atwood Atelier.
Here's a look at my process for painting/drawing a portrait from life. I worked on this portrait for about 3.5 hours from start to finish.
Like most of my recent work, I did this on UArt 800-grit sanded paper. I LOVE sanded paper for pastels, and UArt is my go-to because it works well and is reasonably priced.
I do the initial drawing in graphite. I spend a good amount of time at this stage, measuring distances, checking and proportions, and making corrections. I want to get as much of the structure of the face in place as I can, so that I don't have to make as many corrections later.
Then, I lay in the main areas of color, focusing on the broad values--the darks, highlights, and mid-tones.
Next, I basically work on refining things, adding in more details, modulating the values...and fixing anything I messed up in the laying-in stage.
Then I focus on the hair, adding more layers of black to smooth it out, plus highlights to suggest texture.
Finally, I add in her shirt to ground her, so she's not just a floating head. There's a bit more work to do on this before I call it finished, but I'm pretty happy the skin tones and facial features. So often, I try to get to the whole figure when I'm working from life (even for "portrait" models who are clothed, rather than just with nude figure models). I especially like including the hands whenever I can. However, it's always rewarding to work on a true portrait--it gives me the time (not to mention space on the paper) to really focus on facial features and the expression, which I enjoyed with this pose.