I believe for the detail required in the ship painting I should have applied more gesso to the canvas and sanded to build up a smoother surface. I should have done a neutral under painting on the canvas so I am not painting directly on white. I also realize that I apply too much paint to the canvas and instead of trying to build up to the color I need I should be mixing the colors more on my palette and then applying them to the painting. My palette also needs to be a neutral tone instead of white. The white makes reading the color tones correctly difficult.
I have been looking at countless websites and visited the library today where I picked up eleven books on oil painting and portraiture. The kids loved looking at library books and we checked out twelve books for them. It can be difficult to get books for myself when I have two kids in tow but I put the baby on my back in an Ergo and the toddler kept busy with popping bubble wrap in the stroller.
Once nap time is over I will be able to get gesso and acrylic medium out of the guest room / storage room and begin applying a neutral background to my canvases for future portrait paintings.
Later: I tried to get the kids started on some artwork after naps but Nathan only wanted to use my paints and work on my painting. He can tell there is a difference between my paints and the one dollar watercolors. After bedtime and cleaning up a floor load of toys, I got back to painting. I worked on the water and then on the sails and am happy to say things went more smoothly. I am happy with todays work.