I'm not sure why I haven't had this painting problem - I know it's prevalent and most watercolour painters experrience it.
Maybe a wrong tutor in the early phases of learning? it seems that many people who start with acrylic have a greater propensity for lots of dabbing - acrylic will take it - watercolour won't. Maybe you've bought a cheaper paint/paper and it won't do what you want so you keep trying to make it happen. Watercolour is quite a mental shift from some other mediums.
i don't know about other mediums, but I know with watercolour that cheaper student paints are a false economy, avoid them.
so why is it a problem? watercolour is for the minimalist, less is more for virually everything to do with painting watercolour - brush strokes, colours, colour mixing, mark making etc etc.
here's some of my methods:
- use a brush much too big for your painting - you'll have to stop and think
- paint no smaller than an a3, this will give your arm somewhere to go when you are painting lovely juicy flowing brushstrokes.
- put small brushes away until you need them for the last 10% of your painting - the detail phase
- I prefer to paint in jeans and keep my pesky left had in my back pocket.
- stand up to paint for as long as possible
- hold the brush right at the tip or certainly, no closer than half way down the handle
- improve your drawing, i think much of the dabbing is to correct a shape, when you can draw the shape you want you will be able to paint it
- before you apply your brush, ask yourself how you could paint the shape you want with ONE brushstroke - aha!! that stopped you in your tracks!!
- think of painting with a feather - a light and minimalist brush stroke will do the job.
Whenever I decide to include a new technique or stop an old baddy, I really have to focus and give myself a stern talking to before I start - I deal with one problem until I think I've solved it then I move on to the next. plenty of practice with the skill I want - practice, practice, practice!!
I would love to hear how you get on!!