In Dina Wakley's face painting class, she always starts with a painted background. She's painting right in an art journal, whereas I'm painting on watercolor paper. It doesn't matter. The background comes first.
We're using acrylic paints, and often she will just squeeze paint right onto the page, then scrape it around with an old gift card. Here are the next two faces I painted.
I've managed to put the smiles back on their faces. I think the angriness of my previous two had to do with their severe eyebrows. As you can see on this second one, the background is a bit busy and it matches her hair. That's not a good idea, but remember that all this is experimentation, and getting my experience as I creep toward that 100 face mark.
Each time I make a face, I try something new. A different shaped face, different expressions, different colors. Speaking of shape, my, look at the neck on that first one! Sometimes I'm just so focused on the face that I forget that there should be something below it.