A sluggish start to this new piece; maybe posting my very slow incremental progress over the last week will shame me into further action!
Several coats of white gesso and some sanding happened on the panel; then I used an inch-wide brush to apply some sienna-tinted gesso to an area of eight square inches or so, brushed over that area in different directions continually until it was completely dry, then moved on to another area. The resulting surface is even smoother than the prior, sanded surface--with just enough tooth for paint to still adhere.
This took a long time. Then I did a second coat.
Normally, my painting location of choice is the couch, and I hunch over the panel while I hold it in my lap. This has proven to be technically possible, with this piece, but it may be one of those all-things-are lawful-but-not-all-things-are-profitable situations. Time will tell.
With it propped up on my knees, I blocked out the sky...
And did some detailed sky work:
And that's where it stands now.
Alright--I am sufficiently embarrassed at how little I've accomplished to be impatient that I'm still talking about it! I've got the rest of the day to really jump in, so I'm going to get to it.