In open studio today, I really struggled to get a likeness of the model. I can't blame the lighting, my positioning, the paper or the pencils - I take full responsibility. She was young and beautiful with dark shiny hair but, for some reason, she just eluded my grasp. I tried two 3/4 views without success and then threw my hands up in desperation and did a quick 25 minute sketch of her entire figure.
Yesterday, I was in the mood for experimentation and spent the afternoon practicing the portrait in oil using only 4 colors - titanium white, light oxide red, cadmium yellow light and ivory black. It's almost magic how many colors you can mix from just those 4. That part went well, however, as it was just a practice piece, I flipped over an old piece of canvas to use the back entirely ignoring the fact that the canvas on the back is unprimed. Now I know why artists use primed canvas. The raw canvas just sucked up the paint no matter how thickly I tried to apply it - and the paint grabbed the surface so firmly that it was impossible to push the paint around. I continued with it as I was really happy with my likeness of this model but after struggling for about 3 hours, I finally gave up. Oh, well. Live and learn and tomorrow is another day!