Most of this head is being painted with a new small angled flat brush. I can create an edge and a wedge of paint. Small details like the eyes are painted with a fine round brush.
A number of years ago, my husband watched as a struggled with an old brush which had frayed beyond easy use. He asked me how much a new brush cost. I said, "$3-$7." When he asked me how much extra time I was spending because I didn't have a new non-frayed brush, it was pretty clear I had been stingy with my brush purchases. Now if I feel I need a new brush I throw caution to the wind and part with $4.25 - all at once!
As I work on this piece, I am reminded why I like Jack Richeson toned gessoed hardboard panels. Paint can really slide around on them but they have enough tooth to hold the paint in place. For this piece I am using the umber toned board. While their gray is nice, it does lend a cool tone to a painting.
Before beginning the background, I mixed a number of greens with sap green as my base. Lemon yellow, Cadmium yellow, burnt sienna, and naples yellow all came into play for the brighter greens. The deep background is ultramarine blue, raw umber and sap green. The darkest color was not evenly mixed so I would have some variation and not a solid mass.
My go-to base color for whites is titanium white. For the brightest whites I add cadmium yellow deep, just a smidgen. Before I start with that color, I also mix some blue-whites (ultramarine blue and a little raw umber) and some warm whites (yellow ochre, raw umber). Seeing the range of "whites" on my palette helps me develop subtle consistent shadows.