Finished portrait #4 last night, using some charcoal sticks I bought earlier. I bought them because I liked the fact that the box contained a range of grey tones in addition to white and black. But I wasn't too happy with them, though. The consistency reminded me more of those chalks used on blackboards, and they're very dusty.
At the moment, the portraits seem to develop a "life" of their own, with me having only limited influence in the process. I use pictures in magazines as a reference, but I'm not too bothered about producing any real likeness. It's the pose, the angle, the proportions, the highlights and shadows I'm interested in, and I just add layer after layer, wondering how she will turn out, what kind of emotion, mood will emerge. Here, I think it's a kind of pain or distress. Maybe she's having a slight headache, or remembering/thinking about something unpleasant. I'm quite enjyoing this rather intuitive process at the moment.
After I took the photo, I actually worked some more on her, I just couldn't stop. Maybe I'll replace the photo later on with the finished version.