8x6 inches, oil on panel
This is an important thing I have learned during this stint with the Russian painters: get a base layer of paint down first and paint everything else into it. I have been fitting the pieces, the many thousands of pieces of tone and half tone, into the whole, like a puzzle. At the moment my opinion is that flesh is painted best (in oils) with this approach, because the nature of the oily fat paint is already so close to the look of skin. Not that you can't get some chop to it...some blocky bits which lay on top of each other and are not blended. I am anti-blend, don't know how this is going to work out.
I have been looking at Frank Duveneck's work this week, just below mine -- such confident brushwork. Just enough, almost underdone. You can see that every thing is worked into an average skin color, the brushwork is economical and direct. This photo of course doesn't do it justice, the paint is sumptuous.