Hmm. Okay, a few things to say.
Firstly, I have been taught never to use reference - at least, not heavily. It is CHEATING. However, recently I've become aware that not only do a lot of my favourite artists use reference, but also that there are certain things I will continue to do wrong, over and over again, without ever learning. Unless I do some paintings from life or from photographs. Therefore, I have justified this to myself! (;
So... on with the painting notes. I had an image in my head (lying awake around 3am like you do) of a communist girl. Originally, she was going to have big red perspex goggles of some kind, and red rubber braces - y'know, the fifth element kind that go between your legs? Anyway, so she changed a bit since then, and has almost turned into a strange retro/future propoganda poster girl. Which is kinda cool.
I used a stock photo by :kristyvictoria: as reference for this, as well as a few other things... all the others were for very minor things though (such as the cyrillic, which was added in paintshop pro last of all). The stock photo is here - [link]
This was entirely handpainted in Open Canvas, apart from the cyrillic characters which were added in paintshop pro 9 last of all. It probably took around 8 hours or so, in several sessions.
[EDIT] forgot the toestring. Then got distracted by food. Reuploaded. (: [/EDIT]