A lot of learning how to paint involves learning how to move from one skill to another. Starting out simple is best, adding a bit more difficulty with each new painting. Attempting too much too quickly can lead to unnecessary frustration. I wanted to try painting skin tones in shadow while still getting a sense of sculpting the structure of the face. The backlighting here provided the perfect setting for this kind of challenge.
I also made the decision to keep the color palette limited. My choices were primarily determined by the background color, which was green. Learning to use color can be made much simpler by limiting the colors on your palette, so I decided on a complimentary color scheme. One of the most intimidating things an instructor said to me when I was a beginning student was to paint exactly what I see. Yikes! I had no idea how to do that. One day the skin tones looked bluer to me and the next day they looked purple! So I kept changing my painting, trying to paint exactly what I saw. What a nightmare! Many frustrating days of painting! Now I just paint the colors that I think look best and that work together well, and I leave it at that!