I got a bit lazy on posting studies so here it goes again. At the moment I try to do a study before I start working. While working I usually have reference - images up so that way I am also doing studies and straight apply them.
I kinda study all over the place, so it doesn't get boring. I also don't have a set approach for doing a study. Sometimes I start with line, thinking about the masses in 3D space, sometimes I so a contur-drawing where I am more concerned with the 2D shape of the object in the image. I found that doing both only helps getting a clearer image in my mind of the object. I did that with the chainsaw and it really helped to fix the forms of the saw in my mind. Should start doing that on anatomy soon.
With colors I recently felt like I had a breakthrough. I read about how impressionists mix there color on the canvas by placing them next to each other in small dots. I tried that with watercolor and was really happy with the result. It wasn't super realistic, although some areas in the picture gained a lot by the addition of color but they were way more pleasant to look at. usually my water color studies are pretty grey in brown and I am not at a point where I say I like them. But with the new technique they are prettier and the end-result is at least nice looking. Trying that in photoshop was also a success to me, because it gave my painting a new vibrance. I tried it on the environment study and was quite happy with the way it turned out.
The way I did it was taking really saturated colors and when I wanted to desaturate them I mixed them with their complementary colors. That way I got colorful greys. Also when I thought I saw a color somewhere, like say a bit of red in the grass I put a saturated red there and blended it with the green until I was happy with the result.
Give it a go and tell me how you liked it.
Another thing is that my friend Milan told me about the book "The practice and science of drawing" by Harold Speed and that it's awesome and I should read it. But instead of reading I found a audio-book version of it over here: http://www.loyalbooks.com/book/The_Practice_and_Science_of_Drawing_by_Harold_Speed
It is interesting to listen to, especially in the beginning where he talks about artistic sense but also the later chapters about line, mass and rythm. Sometimes it isn't easy to follow, since it is a) quite old and therefor the wording is not up to date and b) it is read by a robotic, female voice that doesn't stop for anything. I guess I have to go back to some chapters, but it is great for a first overview of the book.
So yeah, have a nice one.