A continuation of a painting started here:
I started the opaque layer of the portrait with the face because it's the most important part of the portrait and the obvious center of interest. Beginning work here helps me set up the rest of the painting so that it doesn't distract.
I wasn't sure when I would get to the background, because I was dithering about the exact shading of the gray, so I left plenty of room around the edges to ensure that I could complete it with wet on wet paint.
The next day I set out to paint just a little more of the upper body, but things progressed better than I expected and I completed most of the remainder. I chose a neutral gray for the background which is a color I've used many times in the past: I couldn't get comfortable with a more colorful choice.
Grace. 20x16, oil on linen. 2014.
After a few touch ups the next day, this is the finished portrait of Grace.