Watch artist Redd Walitzki glaze color onto skin, and add miniscule details in oils to one of her portraits.
Music: "Another Year: A Short History of Almost Something" by Amanda Palmer (amandapalmer.net)
This stage of the painting probably takes the longest, and looks most like nothing is happening to the outside observer. You can see me do two separate things in the video - first, I am blending soft areas of transparent color in a glaze layer to add depth, second I am adding tiny highlights in white (and several off-white mixtures) to pop the teeny-tiny details and add realism.
For the glazes, its important to use only transparent oil paints (opaque oil paints would end up looking cloudy or muddy.) Traditionally, glazes add color over an underpainting. In my process, the watercolor/rice-paper layer shows through, but I use the glazes to punch up color, add detail and crispness and even out some of the rougher texture of the watercolor. At this step its too late to make major adjustments, but as you can see on the hot-pink paint splash, I do have some room to make shape and contrast adjustments.
For the white areas, I prefer to blend onto the skintones with Zinc white (which is a partially transparent white.) This keeps the skin luminous, while bringing up the contrast. You can see this effect while I am blending the chin. For the crisp details, I use Titanium White and Gamblin's Radiant White (this is the brightest white, and I use it super sparingly.) Most of the white details I am placing on the lips and paint drips here are a mix of these whites with tiny amounts of other Radiant series pastel colors mixed in. Usually only a handful of details that I really want to pop forward are pure/un-mixed white.
As you probably noticed, the change is really hard to see, and the process is really slow. Sometimes I spend multiple studio days doing this sort of thing, and it looks and feels a lot like nothing is happening. But this is what gives the painting its life and richness, and the effect is cumulative. At the end, the slow glaze layers and details really pay off.