Below are portraits by John Singer Sargent, Dean Cornwell, and Jeffrey Jones. I want you to study these and pay particular attention to how they simplify the shapes and values of these heads. Also, think about how their strokes are designed. On the Jeffrey Jones pieces I want you also to note his limited palettes.
Choosing from the photographic portraits below for your reference create two paintings:
1. Straight black and white painting, working the gray tones.
2. Full color, but limit your palette - Do not use more than three colors and white.
3. 11 x 14 or larger.
You can choose to use one shot for both paintings, or use two different images, one for each of the two paintings.
Work with a wet ground (Remember: True middle value — a good rule of thumb is that it should be basically where the light rolls into shadow. Err a little on the dark side).
Less is more. Try not to do a pile of blending on your edges. Let the strokes live on their own.
By painting the negative space you do a lot toward resolving the positive space. In other words — Don't just work on the face, work the background because that will tell you how far to go with aspects of the face relating to value — how high or low you want to push a value.