Having finished the underpainting for the background, I start giving it a bit more solidity and detail.
One good trick to getting tiny detail, that works really good on a road or sidewalk, is to flick wet, dark paint specks onto the foreground with a cheap bristle brush. Get these a Home Depot for 50 cents and not at an art supply store for 5 dollars.
I keep working the pavement to get texture.
Now that the background it dry, it's time to go over it again with another glaze to get it dark and solid.
The sky needs another layer too. This canvas is small enough that I can rotate it and now that the background is dry, it's easy to get to the edges to sharpen them up.
Time to start on the trench coat. I make a pallet out of Yellow Ocher, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Cadmium Yellow, and White. I don't bother to keep the colors isolated. There's going to be a spectrum of tones on there. I just eyeball the color I want and adjust constantly. I do keep the Raw Umber largely away from the white, though, so I can separate my darks and highlights.
The first thing I do is lay in the midtones. Having the detailed drawing is invaluable. The folds in the coat are incredibly complicated.
I follow this with the darkest darks. I want as much contrast as possible between the dark areas of the coat and the light areas of the light in the background.
Next comes about 6 hours of careful rendering, using the same pallet. This takes a lot of careful observation of the reference material.
Now I go back over the edge against the background to emphasize the contrast.
With the coat largely worked out, I go ahead and put in the darks of the hair and tights. I also go back into the background with more darks and white where it's dry.
Now it's time to start the figure. My pallet is White, Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Yellow Ocher, some cheap "Fleshtone" (just for yucks), Payne's Gray and Viridian Green. Always, always, use Payne's Gray and/or Viridian Green in the shadows of a figure. Go look at any classical painting and you'll see this is the oldest trick in the book and makes a world of difference in making a painting look competent and professional.
This particular figure has a strong light source and chiaroscuro, so I mark that out first with the Veridian, Payne's Gray, and a little Sienna.
Now it's time to lay out the midtones using a combination of pretty much the entire pallet of colors. I put a bit more Crimson in the model's cheeks. This model has a golden skin tone, so I need to try to capture with that.
Next comes some blending, paying close attention to the reference material.
My method for painting the figure is to lay out blocks of color and blend them in. Do it again, and again, and agian, a few hundred times before it really comes together and becomes pointless to continue.
The blending loses the contrast and flattens the image out, so these steps need to be repeated until you have the blending and contrast. Each time this is done, the painting looks a little better.
The highlights are blocked in thick and worked in, over and over. Back and forth, light and dark. Make sure you block in the same color combinations over the entire figure each time, so it stays uniform.
It doesn't matter about covering the straps for the shoes. It's more important to get a uniformity of tone. There will be a little bit of the drawing showing through for placement, but even if not, that's not critical.
Again with the chiaroscuro.
Again with the highlights.
The outstretched leg is one of the focal points of the image. I outline it to really emphasize the contrast.
Back and forth, dark and light. Over and over again. I go back into the background too. When the dark dries I put in more white. I've decided to blend some of the lights in the background a bit to make them more realistic.
She's getting close. Still need to tighten everything up. I've probably put about 200 hours into this painting so far.
To be continued...