oh so many questions, and you are asking the wrong person as i really don't know what i'm doing! i'm just learning as i muddle along erm, i always paint the canvas a buff colour in acrylic just so's i'm not painting straight onto bright white, then i sketch out my visual in pencil so that i can make amends and check the composition on the canvas before applying paint, other than that i mostly paint with oils straight out of the tube, no medium or anything i mix white into nearly every colour i do, it seems to make it more opaque and gives a chalky quality i like
photographs. i'm not lucky enough to have time, or access to real models.....for now anyway
but i do try and change elements of the photo to add a personal touch of my own, eg. i'm quite keen on doing this damask wallpaper background or velvet curtains right now, and i might change what they're holding, or colours, and of course the girls look different painted to how they look in a photo anyway
try myspace.com there's hundreds (literally) of girls in there, you can just add them as friend, then write and ask permission to paint them from one of their photos, i've found everyone i've asked so far has said yes with no charge
its free to get a page in there, maybe you should go network?
That's exactly how I do it . If your doing it that way , it makes me think I'm doing something right . I haven't tried oils yet . I've been playing with my ink pens again . Thanks for the myspace tip . I used to be a member . I'm covered on models though . They are lined up waiting right now ..ha ha . Thanks for the love you EXTREMELY TALENTED , BEAUTIFUL , INTELLIGENT ,(married) , WOMAN ..ha ha again ...but still true .