I chose to paint from this photo because I liked the composition, the way the dark water leads the eye back to the trees. To plan the painting, I first opened the photo in Photoshop and "posterized" it with 4 levels of value. There wasn't enough light at the back of the creek, so I added some more. Then I did a 3-value, rough sketch in my sketchbook. Finally, I started the actual painting by doing a 3-color wash all over, keeping the blue at the sky and the yellow where I knew the white would be. Then I drew and painted the scene after the wash dried. By then I knew the scene very well so it was easy to paint.