For a long while now I have painted pretty much in a manner that worked well for me...painting back to front which in the landscape works out pretty much top to bottom. First paint the sky, distant hills, trees in mid ground, foreground trees, foreground grasses last. I'm not quite sure I remember why I started painting that way but somehow it just evolved that way and it worked for me....in art, whatever works for you the painter...works.
In using this method each stage of the painting was as close to finished as I could get and then I'd move on to the next area....after all areas were completed I'd then go back in and adjust them to work with each other and as a finished painting. Knowing and seeing in my mind what I was after made it easy for me to work this way. Most of the time I tend to paint the painting in my mind before actually picking up a brush...this way I know what I want it to look like when it is finished and can very much see it.
There is something I am finding out about painting this way...it is a slower method. The other afternoon I started another painting, 12x36, and decided to just block in all of my areas at once. This blocking in put all of my foundation, or base, colors down in about an hour...it took that long because I was finicky about the base colors and trying some new ones for this painting. Once those base colors were in I just started working the areas adding, little by little, the detail in each area with little color notes. I also would let an area sit while working other areas and then go back to the previous area. The bulk of the painting was completed sometime after midnight....I didn't work straight through but it still went fast. I have spent today dialing things in and still need to work some other small areas in before I call it finished. The painting is a mountain canyon in afternoon light with lots of varied color and this way of painting this particular scene works very well. Hopefully it will be finished tomorrow and then I'll post the finished painting then. I know blocking in your painting might be old hat to many painters but it is a method I'll work more with in the future now that I've rediscovered it for myself, haha.