You can start painting anywhere on the canvas. Here I have chosen to start in the middle of the golden clouds. Since the colors cannot be allowed to mix, it is best to paint all the nearby areas of a color at the same time. But because the design never seems to totally match up to the canvas threads, I find that it is chancy to jump to far. So if there’s another area of the color further than a few inches away, I will wait and paint it later and not risk getting to that area and finding that I’m off by a thread or two.
In addition to painting the main design area, I paint a color key to the right. This is a line of small squares, one of each color. This will make picking threads later somewhat easier.