I thought a good way to get back into watercolor painting would be to paint clouds. Clouds are amorphous within their bodies, sometimes with hard-edged boundaries and sometimes blending into the sky behind them. Two basic watercolor techniques can be used to create these elements: use of a loaded brush on dry paper to create an edge and applying watercolor washes to make a gradient of tone.
Below is documentation of the stages of my most recent cloud painting.
Pencil drawing of cloud shapes and shading.
At the bottom, I used the wet-on-wet technique to introduce watercolor tones create darker areas within the borders I sketched. At the top of the paper, I blocked in gray tones on the dry paper.
I added layers to the bottom portion, using gray washes. On the top, I added edges to the boundaries, grading the tones toward the center of the mass of the clouds.
Even though I painted these clouds with the lighter ones on the top, I like it better with the dark on top;