Ever considered using one of the painting apps that you may have seen advertised? A long while back we tried out one in particular - 'Waterlogue'. It may feel like cheating but to use it as an aid for a while is perfectly acceptable and although it is not perfect it can give you visual tips as mentioned below
Waterlogue App for iPhone and Ipad
Pros: helps you edit a photograph and see the lights and darks (key elements for a strong painting), keeps colours to a minimum stopping too many colours competing and gave strong suggestions of where to leave white areas.
Pats' photo has been 'converted' into a watercolour (using the 'Bloom' filter) above. All you do is open the app, select You can see the actual photo as our drop in class subject for 21 June here
Cons: depends on your photo if the photo is not in focus or not a good photo at all then you won't get a good result. Can blur too many areas
Bear in mind: this doesn't replace sketching and seeing it can help you as paint or a pencil does.
If you are not a computer whizz you may be thinking how easy is this? If you take photos with your mobile or tablet then no problem, see the video below
Where to get it? Go to your app store and type in Waterlogue
For Google phones or Android
Check out Photo Painter (I haven't tried this one but it is supposed to be interesting) Where to get it? Go to your app store and type in Photo Painter