The beginning... Starting my latest portrait painting...
 
A technique that I have recently started using involves picking the most fun part of the painting and diving right in, nearly completing it, before moving on to the next part. For a subject as demanding and exhausting as portraiture, this method really appeals to me.

Some of the benefits:
Instant gratification - Yes... I know, that's kinda frowned upon in our culture today. But when it comes to getting the most out of yourself, finding ways to keep you motivated and excited, eating dessert first by going right for the fun part is a great way to get, and stay, engaged in a painting. I cannot tell you how much fun it is to walk into the studio first thing in the morning and see a little bit of the painting on your easel looking pretty fab even though it's early in the game. It's like a big gold star and you've only just begun!

Learning - Sometimes this technique can really be a challenge. You can get over confident and commit to a value/hue without properly vetting it. Before you know it you have an incredibly realistic looking nose that doesn't fit light or color-wise with the rest of the painting. It only takes a couple times of that happening to really test your values and hues before diving in. That risk of being completely off may sound a little harsh and not worth a gamble, but it really helps me improve my sight and comparing skills. In stead of "hey let's throw that color in there for now and we can come back to it later if it's wrong." I should be saying "How does this hue/value work with what else is in the painting already? Is it even a little off? How close to perfect can I get?" And by spending so much time on these early efforts, every decision I make afterwards will be that much easier and hopefully more accurate as a direct result of this early investment.  Through this process I feel my mind straining to adapt and improve at a higher rate than with other techniques...it feels awesome, like after a good work out where the adrenaline lingers. Though I imagine time will come where my rate of learning plateaus and a different technique will be required to increase my ability to grasp new things. But for now, this is my jam!

Mahl Stick: OPTIONAL - By working so diligently only on one area of the painting, I have an entire swath of panel that I can rest my hand on while delicately inserting a glimmer of light on her eye without concern for smudging the painting below. This may sounds menial but it really is awesome. It  makes painting a little bit faster and easier now that I have a whole hand free to hold other brushes or paper towels.

Avoiding Scatter Brain - I have a rather short attention span and I have found that hyper focusing on a small section of the painting is wildly satisfying. It's like putting blinders on and not giving in to all the other things clamoring for my attention. So therapeutic.

Over all I am really enjoying it!
Thank you to my Patrons for the awesome support! Because of you I can take this time to dive in and elaborate on my process, share methods, techniques, and more. If there is a topic you would like me to touch on, let me know!

Thanks! More to come... :)