Any painting is preceded by sketches done in various perspectives and orientations. Then, those sketches are translated into a larger size on the canvas itself - usually sketched in with thinned oil.
Here, in the top picture, you can see some very roughed in oil sketching. (A close up of the center is to the right. Mostly I'm interested in getting the general proportions and the lights and shadows laid in. Then it gets to sit awhile, while I think about if the basic shapes and values are right.
Its always tricky with painting something white. The values are there... and they have to be shown. But an observant eye and subtle tones are needed so that it conveys the right sense of light and dark.... and it retains its sense of white-ness.
These 2 lower pictures show a little more work with laying in the values. Not much more work has happened with the center yet, although I've laid in some paint up to the center so that it is not just primed canvas showing.
So far, about 3-4 hours of time have been spent (not including canvas construction). Many more hours of work are needed .... this painting has not moved out of its infancy yet! I'll keep you updated as the work continues.
I often tell my students - the youngest stages of a painting, or any kind of art work for that matter, are often awkward and gangly - but with continued refinement, things take shape. That is true for this new painting. It looks different in my mind's eye. Now it is my task to take it to its destination!