My approach to painting is an intuitive one. I rarely start with a fixed idea in mind. I might start by painting with pure water and then charging in colors, letting the paint mix and mingle on the paper to make exciting color combinations and shapes. After it dries I turn the painting different directions and see if any subject matter presents itself. If not I might add another layer of water and color. If the painting seems to be saying it wants to be a floral or a landscape at that point I bring in reference material, photos I've taken or sketches I've made on location. I rarely work with only one source but use many to create composite designs using all of them. I may carve in negative shapes to create subject matter or I may paint positive images over the initial washes to create the impressions of the subject matter.
Another technique I use is wetting the entire paper and put down an underpainting with shapes and colors that please me. This technique often creates "happy accidents" like crawl backs. While some artists don't want them in their paintings I often incorporate them into the design as the can create a lovely turn to a petal, the edge of a leaf or perhaps an interesting cloud formation in the sky.
I enjoy painting experimentally and will often start paintings by using new materials or techniques. My Window Series evolved this way, by using gesso as an underpainting and adding quinachridone gold and burnt scarlet watercolor pigment I began to see the similarity to light streaming through windows and started developing that idea. I began enjoying the interplay of lights and darks over the underlayer of gesso which added shapes and textures that created a sense of mystery in the painting.
Although I value traditional drawing and painting techniques as a way to gain control over a medium and increase technical skill, I find the excitement in painting in watercolor comes with using an intuitive approach in which water and paint merge in spontaneous ways on the paper to create shapes and design patterns. For me the excitement of watching the colors flow and mingle is always fresh and keeps me coming back to my studio day after day.