I keep a book of the lowest priced canvas paper I can find. Before I work on the real painting, I try to acquaint myself with the instructions on the various aspects of the painting.
That would be tree, rocks, water or whatever. I divide my canvas paper into 4 squares. Currently I have a painting in the acrylic section called Nesting Swans. I practiced painting the water, starting by mixing ultrmarine blue and hookers green and white until the color was right.
Then I mixed in more hookers green and used it to make banana shaped shadings, so that you end up with little diamond shapes. Then you lighten your original blue and start highlighting. The final highlight is white with just a hint of yellow.
Put it on thick and do not touch it. These finals are small. I do the same with other features as stated before. This takes up a day or so , but you will have some knowledge of where to start if all you have is a book and going to teach yourself.
Thank goodness, this site puts on videos. They are so helpful. I hope this hels someone.