Making myself do a thumbnail sketch and a value under-painting is really worthwhile. Take a look at the process I used to create the painting below...
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I did a quick sketch eliminating some trees that I thought weren't important in the composition.
Next, the charcoal value under-painting sets the stage and reminds me where I want to go.
|"A Touch of Gray", pastel, 6x6"|
My students used this process last week to begin a still life painting.
Everyone is progressing very nicely!