I usually paint the main subject first, so that I can get a feeling how to handle background and the rest of the painting. Here I painted water lily by following the same painting process described in detail in my e-book "Painting Glorious Rose Flowers in Watercolor - in 7 Stages". In a nutshell, I paint first the value scale, then color of light and finally all shadow components. The gray dots are masking fluid, used to preserve white of the paper for later stages.
2) Initial color layer in shades of yellow, pink and blue.
3) Painted leaves. The adjustments will be completed in the final painting stage.
8 X 6 inches
Watercolor on Arches 140 lb hot pressed paper