Creating a portrait of a living person is different from creating a still life or a landscape - there's much less room for error. We know what a person looks like. For this painting I chose the subject I know best - me - but deliberately chose to avoid getting lost in the details. At the risk of making a painting that doesn't quite look like me, I wanted to do my best to just put the paint on the canvas, focusing on getting the overall forms and colors where they belong.
I took a photograph of myself (my Sony camera can be remotely controlled by an app on my phone!), printed it on one standard 8½ x 11"(22x28cm) sheet of photo paper and then drew the image onto a 20x24"(51x61cm) stretched linen canvas. The resulting image is almost life-sized.
Most of the paint was applied in one layer - I just put it where I think it goes and try to leave it at that. Once everything is in place, I do go back and make some adjustments, adding a shadow here or there, making some bits smaller or larger, tinkering with the color a little bit, but not too much. The whole point of painting this way is to break my habit of being too detail oriented, so even though the painting looks unfinished, that's OK with me. It's all about learning how to manipulate the materials, to find a way to say something visually in a way that feels honest to me.