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Many things dictates what comes out when I paint a figure...
I prefer when it all goes quite fast. The first sight on the subject, creates an image in my mind. Quick lines on the paper confirm that image. The light and shadows make the volume stand out with their contrast. Contrast also in the hues - cool and warm colors search balance. The spots on the paper dictate what follows next each time, something goes wrong or doesn't fit; I paint it over to adjust it... sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. Not a big deal. Surprises can appear, whatever it is, I have to keep it or paint over it. I continue to work until I see some kind of interest in what's on the sheet of paper. I try not to give up too easily and also to let things happen, perseverence helps.
With watercolor I also find that the paper decides an awful lot! I have difficulty to find the one that suites me best. I'll continue my research for the perfect paper. For sketches I prefer when the pigment stays in the surface, on drawing paper it does, but it's too thin most of the times and not really adapted to watercolor. I had a paper I liked... I'm using up the last sheets here soon, they have changed the production of it, now it has nothing to do with the same pack last year! Very disturbing for me!