Painting portraits is hard. What on earth possessed me to think that anything about painting a portrait would be something that came naturally? Why do I keep torturing myself? Perhaps it's a disadvantage to have not studied art. It seems like for every painting, I have to re-learn how to mix paints to get the right colors. Well, at least this way, nothing is formulaic.
Painting is always a little easier (for me) when I pose the subject, or take my own reference photo. The subject of this painting is a very lovely friend, and this painting really doesn't do her natural beauty justice. Her husband took the reference photo, which is a piece of art in it's own right. But for the purpose of the painting, I took a few liberties. In the photo, she's wearing a black winter coat, which made it very difficult to distinguish where her hair ended and her coat began. Painted with the colors in the reference photo, the portrait looked dull and boring. But then, after changing the color of her coat to red....voila, it worked.