Step 6: White - highlights
In this step I must flood the image with white in order to further drone out the excess color. I had planned to whitewash the background in this image rather than putting in any highlights because I want the focus to be on Mrs. Arbus. I use a generous amount of white on this portrait in order to give her the softness that I feel. You can see how the orange served to drone out the flesh and pre-soften the flesh for the final highlights. In many paintings I would go for sharper highlights, which is actually a lot more sparing. In this painting I opted for soft touches over the hard shaded underpainting.
The depth of the underpainting is still evident, but the excess of orange and white has made the underpainting's colors to sink in deeper making them far more subtle. The final portrait should not be like a copy of the source photo, but should be an expression of emotion, the way you want the portrait to feel. I think I got her actual dimensions pretty close, yet the painting appears quite different than the source photo. The play on color and light allowed me to accentuate the lusciousness of her rich facial features. I always paint free style, without anything like grids to attempt to copy the dimensions. This is just my personal preference.