It seems that most of the artists in my classes like to try their hand at painting the human figure, which is fine by me, as it is my favorite subject! I have read somewhere that an artist, by nature, is either a line-person or a mass-person. While I am not sure if that is true, it can then follow that a line person probably prefers a fine tool and drawing, while a mass-person is well suited for the use of larger, more inaccurate tools, such as a large brush which is good for painterly paintings. My goal for the class was for the painters to be able to "see" only the masses of lights and darks and midtones, avoiding then, the description of the eyes-nose-mouth-legs-arms-fingers syndrome which can lead to disappointment and more child-like rendering. The week before the session, I set up a strong light situation in a darkened part of the room to photograph the artists as they entered. That week, I cropped and altered the photos to promote my goal. They were then printed on the grayscale setting. I also offered the suggestion of painting upside down. While there were a couple of takers, most preferred their reference rightside-up. I believe that in this way, we can see that a likeness is more dependent on shape, than on detail.
My subject is Patty, a retired art teacher, and a strong painter. I like the result.