I started this painting of a bearded iris several years ago and left it unfinished in my closet. I decided to pull it out the other day and finish it. I had the flower done but it was just floating there on the center of the white paper. I put in the stem rather quickly, no problem, but what to do about the background? Plain white seemed boring. I decided it needed to make a bold statement with lots of color. I drew and painted in a few surrounding leaves but it still needed more. In the end I decided to fill the foreground with leaves just as you would see in a garden but I wanted the background totally different. I decided it needed to be big and bold and DARK! I wet the back of the paper quite liberally and let is soak a bit and then laid the wet back onto my gator board letting it stick to the board. I then wet the white areas of the background with clean water and laid in the blues and purple found in the flower and the leaves. I wanted the background to really contrast with the white portion of the flower. The reason I wet the front and back of the paper before laying in the color was because I new it was too much area to cover quickly because I had to work around the white shapes and the tips of the leaves. Pre-wetting it gave me more time to work because the paper held the moisture longer (tip I learned from my artist friend Pattie Foxhoven - thanks Pattie!).