Watercolour is an exciting medium that allows us create paintings which are subtle and delicate as well as bold and dramatic. It has a freshness and vitality which comes with spontaneous effects and the way we apply layers of paint. However, it also demands a great deal of control, understanding of paper and brush properties.
Over the years of teaching watercolour painting, I notice my students make very similar mistakes at the beginning:
Not understanding the properties of watercolor paint. Watercolour paint behaves differently than other types of paints, and beginners may not understand how to work with its unique properties, such as its transparency, granulation, and staining qualities.
Using too much water. Beginners may use too much water when mixing and applying watercolour paint, which can cause the colors to become too light, runny, and hard to control.
Not layering colors correctly. Watercolour paintings often require several layers of paint to achieve the desired effect, beginners may not understand how to properly layer colors, which can result in a flat, unfinished look.
Not using a good quality paper. Watercolour paper is different than other types of paper, and beginners may not understand the importance of using good quality paper that can handle the amount of water needed for watercolour painting.
Not using the right brush. Watercolour painting requires specific types of brushes to achieve different textures, beginners may not be familiar with the different types of brushes and their uses.
Not practicing enough. Like any other skill, watercolor painting requires practice and experimentation, beginners may not have the patience to put in the time and effort to improve their skills.
On my workshops and classes we cover all of these. I wish there could be just one time practice to figure it all out, but it all comes to the last point - PRACTICE. Only by practicing yourself again and again you can build a deeper understanding of the properties of the paint, using the right amount of water and brush for specific washes and techniques, layering colors correctly, etc.
Always remember, that it takes time to master something, and even small steps in improving your watercolor painting skills are important!
Best of luck on your watercolour journey,