Here is the first, very ugly stage, of my painting of Stan. It's taken me three attempts to get a background I was happy with thanks to patches showing the canvas through, not quite happy with the colour, not quite happy with the blending etc but I'm finally there. I wanted to show this very first stage to show how I work, first filling in the background and then I go around the outline of the portrait again with a pencil as I nearly always go over the line with the background paint a bit and I need to make sure I have the outline spot on. Then I put a basic colour wash on the canvas to block out the white underneath. This also helps to prep the canvas as I've noticed that when I put the first layer down, the paint sometimes doesn't adhere properly and if you're able to see in Stan's forelock closely, there are white spots which is where the paint hasn't adhered to those spots. Once I get this first layer down, this sorts this problem out so it's not worth trying to put any detail down in the first layer.