Watercolors often look like they happened effortlessly, at least the good ones do. but the truth is there is usually quite a bit of thought that makes that fresh, clear fluidity possible.
Here's an image that displays a simple sequence of layers that progress from light to dark in an obvious order. The sky is lighter than everything else. It can be painted first, with the confidence that comes from knowing that each successive layer can be laid almost completely on top of the previous ones. Can you see what comes directly after the sky? We''re looking for a shape that is darker than the sky, but lighter than everything else. The tall grass looks like a candidate. It's darker than the sky and lighter than the hills and the barn. And so it goes, each successive shape is darker than the previous ones. The only place part of an earlier layer needs to be saved is that open barn window through which we can see a hill and some of the sky. Not every scene translates this easily into a simple sequence. Most of the time we need to ponder where some of each layer will be reserved and remember to strategize where, when and how that should happen.
This image requires a little more of a strategy for reserving the lightest part. It also has subtle soft edges that seem to be an important part of the mood of the scene. Good luck!
For homework, choose an image and make a plan. Then paint.
This one will work, or you can use one of the following: