I have found it more than helpful to get outside and make field studies.
Painting in monochromatic tones gives me a strong sense of values. You can tell right away when the form is not reading right. It gives me a shorthand way to connect with my subject and see the intricacies.
These studies are done with Vasari, Shale oil paint on Wind River linen panels, and a nod to my mentor Deborah Paris who encourages us to get out there in our beautiful landscape.
I have added a couple of photos of the subjects.