Lesson Learned: Frisket is your friend!
I used masking fluid (frisket) liberally when painting this portrait. I masked everything in the foreground before I painted the sky. This helped me to keep the value of the sky even, since I could paint all of my wash strokes horizontally (right over the masked area) instead of worrying about painting around the foreground objects. When I removed all of the masking fluid, I was left with clean edges and pure white paper where the figures, temple, and trees would be.
Then, I carefully painted masking fluid over the areas where the lightest details and the hardest edges would be. This helped me to keep the edges crisp and the lights light so that no details got fuzzy or lost as I applied thin glazes of color to keep the colors luminous and bright. Then I let the painting dry, lifted the masking fluid, and added the dark values to the details with a mostly dry brush and I did not have to worry about my edges blurring or my highlights getting lost. Masking takes time, but it is so worth it in the end!