The documentation is a bit crude, but here is a basic break-down of the steps I go through on a typical painting (I will promise to do this again when the subject matter is larger). From Bottom to Top: 1) If the subject is somewhat complicated (like this one), I will sometimes do a quick sketch into the wet background tone. 2) This is usually where I start on less complicated subject matter (Blocking in basic shapes). 3-5) In this painting, I already had the "shadows"established because of the dark background color, so I started with midtones and moved to highlights- redefining shadows last.
Nothing revolutionary here- I think the only other sidenotes that I have on how I paint are: I start with a limited palette (and add special colors that cannot be mixed- if it calls for it) Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Orange, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Sap Green, Titanium White (Other additions: Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Teal). I feel like I spend a lot of time mixing colors- not just for hue, but for value also. Maybe the speed factor is due to my relative level of inexperience- or maybe this is just the way it is supposed to be?! For me- every painting presents a challenge- even with a system to approaching painting and a limited palette, there is nothing formulaic about painting. Each one evokes an emotion from me while Im painting, has thousands of subtle nuances to accentuate or ignore. It's an energizing & exhaustive experience- You draw inspiration from your peers and the masters, you try to learn something every time you paint.
There were so many hurdles on this painting that had nothing to do with painting! As some of you know- I lost my computer a couple of weeks ago, which had all of my reference photos. I had to put this painting in the freezer until I could get a new one, and retrieve all of my files. Also- I lost all of my applications, so until I can afford to replace them, I am forced to use iPhoto to make color corrections and Preview to save the files down (it doesn't have a Web Safe JPEG option).
Is this helpful? Is this how you work?