First step - grissaile (monochrome underpainting). Old masters used to realize figures by building up multiple layers of paint. They usually started with monochrome underpainting executed in shades of gray, greenish gray or warm brown.
First glazes of transparent and semi transparent paint.
 
Completed copy. It measures 18x13 cm. Recent cleaning and restoration revealed that "pearl" earring was actually made of metal.
Comparision with the main reference
Several years ago I embarked upon copying this famous painting from one of my favourite artists. I haven't seen original (only the photos), so I relied on reproduction in a monograph.
The colors on that photo were a bit washed out in comparision to original and - of course - the printing inks are different than the oil paints. In cases like this it is not recommendable to slavishly copy a reproduction (bearing in mind all the drawbacks), so I approximated the actual hues. I mean, even the colors on original piece are different now in comparision to the Vermeer's time.
Vermeer copy
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Vermeer copy

My copy of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring"
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