I never mentioned that I have a motorcycle license. I used to ride a small 250cc motorcycle to work back in California. I sold my motorcycle after we moved here to Seattle. It is unlikely I will be getting another motorcycle soon, but I always remember one of the important tips when I was taking the riding lesson. My instructor kept telling us that don’t look down while we ride, look where you want to go. Look at your destination as you will end up where you were looking at. That was a very important tip. It is very dangerous if I don’t look ahead to where I am going while riding. The same thing can apply to paint watercolor. You want to have a destination for your brush stroke. When you put down your brush, you should have a clear idea where it will end up. You want to make every brush stroke count.
This is especially important when you are painting something very specific such as a portrait. Some students tend to dab a lot. I think one of the reason is they are unsure where to put the brush stroke, so they dab a lot and hoping they will hit the right spot. It is similar to when someone is trying to draw a straight line with many tiny little marks. If they draw those type of hairy-looking lines, chances are they dab a lot when they are painting. Instead of doing that, think about where you want to put down your brush and where you want to lift it. Don’t just mindlessly put down marks on paper and hope it will work out. That is like shooting a bunch of basketballs without aiming and hope one of the balls will make it in.
It is not easy, in fact, it takes a lot of practice. You also need to train yourself to resist the temptation of trying to “fix” things. Follow this threes steps: press, move, lift. Press the brush down, move towards the destination, and life the brush when you are done. This will help your painting look cleaner with confident brush strokes.