I might as well start numbering them straight away, as I get the feeling I'm going to paint a good few of these dandelions. Ruth Harris has been a real inspiration, with her step-by-step how to paint a dandelion on the Masquepen website. (I'll also mention she's got a Zazzle shop - just like me - except she's way more talented than me!).
And I also learned lots from Ann Blockley's book on watercolour textures (another birthday present), which contains plenty of information on techniques, and some lovely paintings. Unfortunately, one of the main tools she uses is granulation medium, which I couldn't find in any of the shops here (I tried Art&Hobby in Dundrum, Nimble Fingers in Stillorgan and Kennedys in Harcourt Street.). I'll have to get it from Cheap Joes next time I'm ordering supplies.
The beauty of masking fluid is that you can let your creativity, and your paint, flow while white areas are protected. And I do find that Masquepen works best for me, and I'm delighted to have found a set with a finer nib for small detail. I've used nearly half the bottle since I bought it last weekend. Just as well, as it tends to go hard over time. So, here is my first attempt at a dandelion watercolour (major flaw is that the stem is not centered, but apart from that, I love it):