I decided to stop screwing around with the idea of painting the face in freehand and go back to my old tried-and-true grid system, carefully plotting the square inches with a white pastel pencil. And I drew upon the lessons learned from people who REALLY know how to paint skin. And the result is better than anything I've done so far.
There's still some refinement to do but I'm happy with today's work.
A Rainy Night In Alexandria, © 2022, work in progress (click on image for larger view)