Here's the finished portrait...
Portrait of Joanna
20" x 24" Oil on Linen
You might notice that I did not get a likeness above (to the photo below) but I did get a likeness to the sitter, Joanna. There's a story here - read on.
This is the original reference photo I used. I took this photo in my studio without attempting to block any natural (indirect) daylight coming in the windows.
I used a Nikon D2X digital camera on a tripod and a Nikon Speedlight bounced into a white umbrella as my single light source.
This is a closeup of Lola the Pet Rat. When something in a photo doesn't "explain itself" - either force it to make sense - or just don't paint it.
There are "too many fingers" in this shot. I eliminated the unnecessary "extras."
I did not paint Lola's tail - it didn't make any sense in the photo and she looks OK in the painting without it.
You can see the "extra fingertips" eliminated in the final (detail) above. I think it makes more sense now.
Also, you can see that I turned the Antique snake bracelet around so it would "explain itself" and look like what it was in the final painting.
Also in the original reference photo, I did not like the skirt. It didn't drape nicely and wasn't interesting enough to paint.
So I took a white bed sheet and rearranged it with a similar light source. Then I photographed and "drew" it into the painting.
Now here's a glitch (and what portrait isn't without glitches?). In the final painting I had the "likeness" ....from the photo. But the photo "fibbed."
Joanna's face in my original reference photo looked uncharacteristically "fat." (I did not know this when I began the portrait.)
I had to "tweak the painting" until it finally looked more like the real person, Joanna, than the photo did. I used a combination of removing highlights and rearranging hair. I couldn't rearrange the anatomy (move ear, jawline, etc.) - that would invite disaster bigtime.
Aaaaaaargh! Too bad we didn't see that in the beginning - groan - we could have easily chosen another photo to work with.