When you’re deciding on a palette, try to keep the model’s personality in mind. Red suggests flamboyance or at least extroversion. Deep sepias and umbers hark back to paintings by Old Masters and suggest a seriousness of purpose for both the model and the painter.
Remember that you have to have a premise, some way of going from the general to the particular. The task is to make each person unique: What’s distinct in the model’s face? What’s distinct in his/her clothes? What aspect of style, e.g., wearing dreadlocks, dressing entirely in black, etc., can hint at personality? I like painting people who have style, who exhibit a feeling for clothes. People who dress well have a sense of drama, and natural-born actors have physical grace, often unconsciously assuming wonderful poses.
“I’ve been fortunate,” says Irwin Greenberg. “What with selling my paintings, winning competitions, and teaching at the Art Students League, I’ve earned my bread as an artist for more than 40 years.” Twice a winner of the High Winds Medal and a Dolphin Fellow of the American Watercolor Society, Greenberg has won more than 200 other prizes for his masterly paintings.