This little painting is almost finished. I've put these photos in reverse order so you can see the process from the finish, backwards. Originally I went straight to canvas on this, but realised that there was a lot of investigation of shapes and tonal relationships, so stopped and went back to the drawing board (literally!), and spent some time drawing. In truth, if I miss this step I am always sorry. While colour is the big attraction, it is much harder to get everything right when you don't prepare. The word 'drawing' doesn't refer to the medium - we can draw in anything, including paint. But if we take it to mean 'investigating', 'studying', 'problem solving' and 'gathering information', it is a much larger task to do all of these things on the canvas.
After the drawing I did a colour study, then returned to my canvas. I have painted many layers, and managed not to be precious by painting over the whole face four times, to see what would happen. Lots 'happened'! The lighting on the head was from more than one source - a central room light, as well as a downlighter directly above, which created the stripes of light on the forehead and the nose. In order for these to be bright, everything else needed to be dark. I finished with the hair, a special challenge which I enjoy, even though I pretend not to!