Mis?Adventures in Watercolor-Looking Brighter

I decided to revisit the vase of flowers from The Tao of Watercolor by Jeanne Carbonetti.  I think I need to go larger with my watercolors--at least when I'm using the M. Graham colors.  The background should have been lighter, but the pigments are so strong I had trouble diluting them enough in the space I had (about 6 in x 6 in).  Still, it made for nice dramatic color!

The second painting is from an exercise found in Zoltan Szabo, Artist at Work.  This one really made me struggle with the brushwork, and it came out awfullly stiff.  I know what I'm supposed to do with the composition, but the brush doesn't go where I want it too, lol!

It's funny.  I've sort of thought of my alcohol marker work as a practice that would help me in learning watercolor.  What I'm finding is that as I struggle with the watercolor, my alcohol marker work is improving!  That's what I love about art and about letting myself find my own way--there are always wonderful surprises!