After I realised the nose was too narrow my next step was to widen it slightly and add some more definition to her jawline.I also 'deepened' some of her laugh lines by going over them with a watery mix of burnt umber and titanium white, then whilst they were still wet I softened them with a dry brush. I didn't want the wrinkles in her skin to look harsh, they needed to look soft and subtle but still remain realistic.
I was happy with her nose and even though her skin tones needed some more work, I started work on the clothes and hair and went back to the face a couple of days later. When you are working with oil paint you have to wait for the under layers to dry sufficiently before adding more paint or you just end up removing the under layer. Look what happened when I was too impatient to follow the rules. There is a light spot on her cheek on the left. OOPS! I had to wait for it to dry out again before I could fix it.
In the reference photo the lady was wearing a bright, colourful shirt. Sometimes artists will take some 'artistic license' and change clothing etc to add harmony and balance etc. I wanted to keep the blouse the way it appeared in the photo though because it is in keeping with her happy, sunny personality and says a lot about her as a person.
The blouse actually has a lot of detail in it though, and when I started painting all the little details in I realised that the busyness of the blouse was competing for attention with her lovely face. And as the 'star element' of a portrait should be the person, and not their clothing, I decided to tone down the colours and remove some of the busyness from the blouse.
I initially planned to add a light coloured background, but later changed my mind and started to add the darker background you see below. The darker background makes her skin tones pop out (hard to see on a computer monitor, but in real life it does make a big difference!).
I added some warm reds to the background and added the finishing touches to her hair and blouse. And TA-DA!!! We have a finished portrait.
I apologise for the poor quality of the photos, but I had to borrow my daughter's camera as the battery was flat on mine. Hopefully you get the idea though:)
It is a surprise gift, so I hope she likes it!