Bring on the Light
No matter how light they look on the day that you apply them, they'll invariably have settled in nicely within 2 or 3 days and you'll be glad that you pushed the value as much as you did.
Sometimes I apply my lightest light very early but just in one small spot. This acts as a reminder of where I'm going as I work and helps me to get all of the values on the canvas much more efficiently. Without it, it's easy to keep messing around in the mid values for far too long. The little spot likely won't remain in the finished piece, or it'll have changed shape, but it's useful during the painting process.
I also like to put the lights in thickly and with texture. I try to adhere to the traditional ideal of thin transparent darks and heavy, opaque lights. The change in paint consistency across the surface of the finished painting is something that I really enjoy.
In this portrait, I bumped up the value quite a bit on the child's nose, chin and above the lips and created a rugged texture in these areas to catch the light. Then I balanced the strength of those marks with some touches of intense colour elsewhere in the face. Overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out.