I have chosen Vermeer's Girl With The Pearl Earring as my starting piece. I chose this piece because of it's strong emphasis on the girl's face in general. The piece also has lots of economy as there isnt too much details on the girl's faces just alot of shadow and some strong lines.
So I'm following the instructions, I set timer to 1 hr and I could not complete the piece in time
Ok great to see where you are at. You chose a great image to start with.
When you are first getting started it is very important to really focus in on the mapping out of your shapes as accurately as you can possibly get them. If you put a shape in the wrong place and commit you end up having the other shapes off and require fixing, which increases painting time. By taking just a few extra minutes early on to measure out your shapes, to compare your shapes, and be sure they are placed and drawn accurately will make the rest of the painting process, working out your values and edges, much much easier.
You should flip the images horizontally and vertically so that you see the shapes with fresh eyes if working digitally and when working with pencil and paper use a mirror over your shoulder to see the other view. You can also work with the images upside down, when working traditionally. This should be part of the process and if you are already doing that, keep doing it more. The professional artists will often flip images or use a mirror to see with fresh eyes as many as three or four times a minute as they are working when things really get flowing. You can also back away...actually get up and back away...and doing this works for shapes as well as checking values and edges.