Rachelle (Oil on gessoed illustration board, 7x7").
This was a good learning experience. There were a dozen times I wanted to retire the painting, but I kept marching on. At various stages, it felt too "comic-booky," with strong outlines for the eyes and other features. I felt that the drawing and values were strong, which left only one thing: edges. So I went back and started to assess all of my edge work. With a long haired sable brush, I softened edges. I mixed transition colors and applied them between adjacent values that required an intermediate value step. And then I tried to notice the little things -- the small accents of color that informed shape. Generally speaking, I'm pleased with how it turned out. That last step -- taking a shape-and-value accurate painting and getting it to transcend into something nuanced, painterly, and emotional -- is difficult and something that can't be taught. You just have to fight with it. I'm still learning. This was a good step.
It was also my first time painting on gessoed illustration board (Crescent 100.3). I only applied one layer of gesso so I worried that the paint would soak in too quickly and I'd lose my wet-into-wet ability, but I never encountered that problem. The other concern was that the surface would become slippery and paint would easily lift off, but that didn't come to fruition either. I enjoyed the surface quite a bit -- more than Masonite. I added texture to the surface when I applied the gesso, and some of that texture can be seen in the painting.