Quite a few kids in my intro classes haven’t made art for a while, including playing with watercolors. I asked them to create landscapes from a photo they took or an image off the Internet that wasn’t already a watercolor. We talked about color theory and I had them choose a Color Contrast (warm, cool; light dark; saturation of hue) so they could structure their painting a bit more and try to work with understanding how colors work in space.
First, they did a watercolor techniques grid in order to get a feel for the variety that watercolor can bring as well as play with brushstroke. Then they made some sketches in watercolor and pencil. I showed them slides on watercolor artists in art history and made demo videos showing both realistic and abstract options to choose from.