Here is my photo reference which I shot about five years ago.
As you can see in the first two steps below, I had to majorly crop and flip it to get a composition I was happy with.
The final pencil drawing on the board.
After spraying it, the board is toned with a neutral brown.
I have decided to do this one, and most other future paintings on hardboard because I want to get more texture from my paint and less texture from the surface. Working with a more heavy application of paint, attempting to be a bit bolder with my brush strokes, and using this smooth surface should give me the look I want in the end. Now it’s just a matter of practicing what I preach - easier said than done!
Many of my favorite artists, both past and present, paint on hard surfaces rather than canvas. The one that immediately comes to mind from the past of course, is Rembrandt. Many of his paintings were done on metal substrates.