Watercolor is a difficult medium and one I have never fully mastered. So towards that end I'm doing some work in watercolor hoping to improve my skills. Working directly from your sunbject is always the quickest way to improve. A $5 bouquet from the supermarket in a cobalt blue bottle from the flea-market makes a cheerful subject during the gray days of winter. Watercolor is all about planning. The more work you do up front the bigger the pay off at the end. My pencil sketch for this was more detailed and accurate than I would have done if I were working in oil or acrylic.The shape and placement of the flowers, stems and leaves needed to be correct right up front, as did the bottle. The luxury of waiting and making decisions about what's included and what's not, is not available to the watercolorist. You need to know going in where everything will be. The other big area of planning is leaving white space for your lightest light. In this piece I had to know ahead of time that I wanted to leave that little strip of paper white for the highlight on the bottle. With an oil or acrylic painting I wouldn't be thinking about that until the very end. "Practice makes perfect" is as true for painting as it is for everything else, so expect to see more watercolor sketches from me soon!