My new painting isn't finished yet, but already I can feel the difference. What difference, David? Let me answer my own question from the third person. The last big painting I worked on, "The Dark Pearl" was, bluntly, a nightmare. I had a really quick color/value comp that I liked, and when I transferred her from 8x10 to 36x48, things got complicated quickly.
Mistake number one: I didn't pay enough attention to my initial sketch. The reason I liked the color study so much was the flow I had established. See how the helmet rests below her? The shift of their levels helps balance the piece and keep it from becoming stagnate. All of the angles in this quick little study play off of each other in a very kinetic way:
Mistake number two: I didn't check and double check the drawing. I drew a draft and got to painting, too excited to slow down and check my accuracy or the appearance. Look at this crap of a drawing. Yeah, I let that slide.
Mistake number three: I lost sight of my goal. Again, I didn't go back to the mini-blueprint that I loved. I got lost in the painting, trying to figure out little backgrounds and details everywhere. I couldn't see the paint for all of the brushstrokes. So I started painting in a submarine and a sunken ship and all the little things I could think of OTHER THAN the subject. This caused me to have to repaint over the entire painting at least twice.
What I should have done is make a plan and stick to it. Not only that, but have the patience to see every step out to the inth degree. This takes more time per step, but saves time in the long run. So that I don't have to take my painting from this:
Over the course of three paint overs and ninety angry hours. Look at the anger.
Compare the vast differences between progress shots to my newest project in my upcoming post. Planning is key. Sticking to that plan is key to keeping a key plan in play.