Here's a step by step from this past week's class. I use a really dark pencil (8b woodless graphite) to rough in the shapes. The super soft dark pencil enables me to draw with very slight pressure on the paper yet still leave a nice mark. As you can see, there's some searching involved and nothing is perfectly set in stone. That's IMPORTANT. You want the decisions that you make with the brush to be the first time you make the definitive statement. That keeps the artwork fresh.
You can start where ever you want. This still life had a folded white sheet and I saw lots of these colors in the shadows of the folds. Some of the colors are of course exaggerated. What's nice about having these outer washes put in first is that when you start painting the fruit, some of the edges will bleed into the folds and give you some variety in the edges. You can also see that the paper is set at an angle, allowing gravity to do the work of helping distribute the pigment. If you allow the wash to puddle at the bottom, it will create blooms, or backruns (and you know I like those!). The wetter the wash and the greater the incline of the paper, the more the pigment collects at the bottom and the greater the chance of a back run. If you don't like back runs, work on a paper that's still inclined, just not so much. Don't work as wet, and you can also absorb some of that extra water and pigment at the bottom of the wash with a paper towel if you wish.
But it's important to work at an angle. That way, if you start a large wash at the top, the moisture will stay concentrated on the lower edge of it, enabling you to keep adding to it without any of the edges drying.
Here you see the objects roughly blocked in. The colors of the objects reflect into each other. You can see the red and green of the apples in the sugar jar, and the green of the middle apple bleeding into the left apple. You can also see that the colors of the apples have started to drift into the washes of the folds. When this happens, all the colors start to relate to each other that much better. Repeat echos of your colors throughout the painting and it will be unified!
I added some darker washes to reflect the fact that the light is coming from above and a little bit behind the objects, so the front vertical plane of the objects is darker. I also tried to unify the background washes a bit. That's it!!