I started with a half sheet of Arches #140 cold pressed watercolor paper soaked, stretched with staples on a board and taped with masking tape all around. I do this because I like a nice clean edge and no buckling of the paper while I work on it. After that dried, I covered the entire surface with a layer of acrylic matte medium as an experiment to see how the paint acted on that. I transferred the image by tracing with graphite paper onto the dried surface. Then I masked out the lightest areas with masking fluid, let it dry, and washed it with Lemon and cadmium yellows.
After the base layer of yellow, I added Phthalo blue, Lemon yellow, and Alizarin Crimson to start defining areas of color. These colors along with Cadmium yellow were the paints of my limited palette. Except for using some Permanent white gouache near the end of the painting, these are the only colors I used. Painting in the Pacific Northwest, everything seems to end up green no matter what I do!
Almost finished! Now I go back over every area of the painting to see that it is finished (as in all twigs attached, shadows in the right places, etc.) With the matte medium base, from the beginning the paint has been easier to lift than on plain paper. I do think it gives the paint a more opaque look, though, which is not what I prefer.