I worked on two more portraits yesterday. Every one is so different. When I 'think' I'm done with one, I clean off the palette and remix another batch of flesh color base that might suite the tone of the skin of the next person. While I like to embellish a little, using some intense colors to liven up the portrait, basically everyone's complexion is very different. So I don't really 'get' the color to be photographic or realistic, what I am striving for is a good likeness. Now that is the hard part.
The range of values is so close in portraits, a lot different from landscape, maybe more like still life. I had to get a passport photo done at CVS the other day and they had a few cards lying around that were tests of their printer and it was a gray scale chart. I asked about them, and they gave them to me as they were only going to throw them out. I'm a real pack rat, so I took them. When I got home I realized how little help they would be doing a face, because not only are the values so close but the color influences the values a great deal--warm, cool, intense, not intense. Doing these portraits is frequent succession helps a lot with these decisions.
My approach differs with each one. I try to start with the nose and STAY with the nose, but I'd have to have someone standing over me with a whip to do that. My subconscious takes over and away I go. Also when I go to the pile of portraits to choose another one to work on, sometimes I try to stay with the same general colors and other times I take one that needs the most work.
My countdown calendar says 37 days left to hang day.