HOW I PAINT:
Mine is a 'direct' approach. The paint is applied with a paint knife, and if I am painting en plein air I begin by making a few marks with my knife to note the location of the horizon, the sky/treeline, the major lines of actions or rhythm, and sometimes the shadows. Usually the sky is finished first, since that is what may change the quickest. If there is water, I will make color notes in that area of the canvas. I will finish in one setting if at all possible, or leave the bottom corners to finish later. Glazes will be used if I feel something is wrong with colors after the painting is finished and 'dry', for both plein air and studio paintings.
In the studio, I have several approaches. If there is architecture or complicated structure to the image, I will draw in major lines. Otherswise, I make line notes in paint just like my plein air work. Depending on the size of the canvas, I may need to plan where I will stop and start, so I can avoid seam lines in my paint (much like the way a fresco painter needs to plan how the plaster will dry). I may begin at the upper left-hand corner and work down, or along the horizon and work up, or start at the treeline. This is determined by where I plan to stop for the day, and where I need to be able to blend/soften/scrub edges.
Unlike most painters, I do not have a standard palette from which I NEVER stray. There are some pigments I almost always use, but I anayze each scene to see if there are any special colors, or unique blends that I feel are required, or some that are not. That being said, I almost always use cerulean, cobalt and manganese blue, cadmium lemon and cadmium yellow light, naples yellow, permanent rose/alizarin crimson, terre verte, and viridian green. I also put down some ultramarine blue and burnt umber to make a blackish grey, but viridian, ultramarine blue, and alizarin crimson will give me a great black. And let's never discount yellow ochre, brilliant pink, and turquoise.