Suggesting the background
In Sargent’s portrait paintings there was always a hint of background. He would accomplish these backgrounds with a simple suggestion of the lights and darks with barely enough detail to set his character into an environment. I follow his lead.
Above all, have fun!
Sargent eventually grew sick of his portrait work. At one point in his career, John, on his way out of the industry, would request an ungodly amount of money for a portrait commission in hopes to scare the client off. Much to his surprise, the wealthy would pay whatever it took. If I may leave you with any advice at all – follow your dreams, not the cash. Good luck y’all!