Over the years, I've had a lot of access to three-hour portrait sittings with models at Scottsdale Artists School. If I had my way, I'd be there every time they offer a session. I often have models at my own studio and I do a lot of still life work when I don't have a model around to keep myself fresh, but really, nothing beats the energy of working around other artists.
Still, this leaves me with a lot of portrait heads stacked up around my studio. I never quite know what to do with them all. I received a good tip a while back: clip them onto a coathanger and hang them up in a closet. Of course, this will only work well if you have a loose canvas to hang. Here's what I do: I cut good quality primed linen into large rectangles and tape or tack the linen onto a board and take it to open studio. That way I don't have to worry so much about centering a head and I can also crop the painting later if I choose to. If the painting turns out to be a disaster I haven't gone to the trouble of stretching it onto bars.
This is a three hour open studio painting I did a while ago and I thought I'd post it here; I'm leaving in the tacks in the photo so you can see what I'm talking about. Look at that dramatic uplighting! I think my friend and fellow teacher Tracy Schact set this one up.