After deciding on a subject matter, being a realist, an exacting sketch is necessary. If the anatomy is incorrect, no matter how well it is painted, it will appear incorrect. Like the old masters, to paint realistic values with rich colors requires several sittings. This dictates the amount of time the particular painting requires.
To begin a painting, we start with the background first, the foreground second, and finish with the actual subject matter, always painting from dark to light. This takes a white canvas and gives it the look of color, and a better idea of where the painting needs to go.
On the next sitting, we repaint the entire canvas again with brush and palette knife where required, while adjusting the color and any compositional changes, if necessary. This provides a good paint base for the next stage where more attention to detail, using glazes and stippling techniques to create textures and a deeper sense of realism and truer color values. The proper contrast between lights and darks is the essence of good realism. The reevaluation of values is paramount at every stage. Good contrast creates drama, which the old masters perfected.
All subsequent stages continue the process of over-painting and detail refinement. The last stage uses subtle glazes to further recede shadows into backgrounds and the adding of final brilliant highlights, which give pop and bring life to the completed painting.