I have been working on my ability to transcribe what I see. In using the rule of thirds, as explained in my last couple of blog posts, it has allowed me to say earlier on "no, that isn't in the right place". In the beginning, way before I learned this method, it would be many hours or near the end of painting that I realized I didn't place something in the right location. While this method of placement is very elementary to some, I find that it is helping me in a bigger way, comparing, comparing, comparing! Why mention it thrice? It has been an important goal of mine because it is easier to say it than actually practice it. It all starts with a drawing or sketching it. If you want to start painting, you have to take the time to learn how to draw. Drawing is so fundamentally important in your ability to perceive what you are seeing. Another way to say it is that you have to start somewhere in the painting and compare all things to that first object you drew.
For instance, in the sketch below, using the rule of thirds, I started with the pillows of the couch. Then I built upon the shapes around it and moved outward. It takes practice.
Here are some step-by-step photos of my current completed project.
The above oil sketch is done using OMS (odorless mineral spirits). This allows for a quick drying time so I can start adding the color. While elementary, it is vital to allow the oil to dry before you start adding color or your underpainting will mix with your vivid colors.