Above is a study I did of an Abbott Thayer painting that Kim Kincaid had posted on her blog. On a purely visual level there is much to love of Abbott's piece: the wonderful edge work, subtle gradation of values across the cheek to socket and nose (due to occlusion) and the warmth of the over all piece. As well, I believe it has a lot of story to it. It is idealized some but still has an everydayness to it. Great model and gesture. I think she conveys a duality. First is that of insecurity, with the tilt down of her head and eyes peeking up, almost as if she's having a private meeting under her hat while watching what is happening, preparing herself for whatever she's about to do. Second there is a resolution and quiet determination to her. She's facing forward. She's going to do it.
I think duality--or inner conflict--is the essence of interesting character in any media. At least it's a powerful tool.
I didn't do the color, but instead focused on values and edges.