I feel it’s important to have a process that one trusts - to enjoy the flow of the painting and rely upon when not confident painting something new.
When I see the subject closely, I break it down visually to see shapes of colors. In the first layer I begin to map those colors and shapes by applying extremely light washes on the paper (at this moment the actual colors will not be seen as the washes are extremely light, but in subsequent layers they will be built on to match the true colors).
Depending on the edges I see, I use the amount of water on the surface of the paper (If the shape of the color is more defined, then it’s obvious that I need to apply less water on the surface of the paper so that the shape is retained or if it is shapeless then apply more water on paper to allow the paint to blend in to the surroundings without leaving hard edges).
In order to keep the colors fresh looking, I lay them side by side and try not to overlap. Also during this stage, I define few details and more often preserve details. I allow each layer to dry completely before applying next layer. This way, right from the beginning I start to integrate/weave in the details and have as many colors or tones lightly mapped. In subsequent layers I take forward these lightly mapped colors stronger and stronger by using wet on wet and wet on dry techniques until I reach right tones and color saturation. I also take forward the details that I have put in the beginning - each time defining form more clearly.
The finishing stages comprise of evaluating and adjusting contrast and highlights, color saturation and tones, and dry brushing at places for more textured appearance.