I recalled how well the painting of Bathsheba went. I didn't have a photo reference for her either. So I decided to "wing it". I pulled up a Rembrandt painting on my computer with similar lighting and tried to fix this girl.
I am sharing the various stages I put her through, from beginning to end. I think this might be my second attempt at fixing this painting.
Something amazing happens when you throw the photograph away. You work from your memory and your general knowledge of the subject. My finished painting might not look exactly like the model but it looks much nicer than the attempt I had made at "painting a photograph." This is a general rule I've known about for awhile but it really sinks in when you see it in action and experience it yourself. As Judith Carducci repeatedly stressed in her portrait workshops: "Don't use photos- they kill your eyes!"
Painted from a photo-and not very well
Getting rid of distracting elements and simplifying values
Adding decorative jewery and cool areas to the skin tones and hair