I have now submitted enough friends and loved ones to photography that I have a few good reference photos I can work from for faces. You know, photos that actually have shadows. I know painting from magazines (especially the Photoshopped magazines I lean toward) are awful for painting practice but that doesn't mean I am not constantly trying (and failing) to use them. So having a few (and really, I have like three) that I can rely on is really exciting.
That said, this looks nothing like my subject, and my hands (and brain) could tell it'd been awhile since I'd lined up a nose in proportion to an eye.
But even with the frustration, I think I discovered something useful for myself: The colored ground. I'm going to lay out an intense color to start on. It somehow makes the whole experience feel more appealing. And sometimes, to pull yourself through frustration, you need to be following a carrot.
Here's the desaturated image. Still no value 9s, huh?