This is a documentation of the process that I use while working plein air, in the field.
My initial work is done in the sketchbook looking at compositions and patterns made with light and shadow. These sketches are called 'notan' studies. Often it takes multiple drawings to feel settled with the composition.
The second image is wash done in oils that mimics the notan drawing that I have chosen. It sets my lights and darks. While working plein air, this is very important as it keeps me from 'chasing the light'. I have a set composition and shadow pattern to adhere to.
Third, I cover the canvas with color relationships (which would include values) as I see the temperatures of the colors. This takes a lot of practice, but allows color layering which I enjoy and find assists in conveying light, shadow and atmosphere... or, 'life'.
From this point, I start putting in 'local' color (the color that appears to be true) being very careful to stay true to my color relationships.
Some paintings are complete at this point. I take them home and look at them frequently for days or even weeks. This allows me opportunity to respond to them in many different perspectives, both emotionally and environmentally. When I do not have the painting calling out to me to 'come fix me', I feel it is done.
After paintings are completely dry, I use Gamvar for a protective layer on the surface and they are ready to frame!