I paint a lot of flowers in watercolor, I am always inspired by the ability watercolor has to capture the essence of any subject in a way that is casual yet elegant. It comes from allowing the paint to do what it naturally does: flow. This enables you to capture fluid gestures and create continuous movement in your painting.This of course can be further enhanced by ensuring that you have a nice connection of dark values throughout the composition. The “line of darks” is what your eye follows as it moves through the composition. Without it, a painting can become stiff or static.
The application of the paint is key as well. Watercolor is most effective when it is allowed to move freely, don’t try to beat the paint into submission–you won’t win! Instead, try reacting to the effects the paint creates as you go, be nimble and open to accepting back runs, blossoms and other “imperfections” that are characteristic of watercolor. Stay connected to the paper as much as possible with long, fluid, intentional brush strokes. Avoid choppy strokes, or “dabbing”, this creates a disjointed look and too much uniformity and patterning. Instead, strive for a fluid movement of your brush that follows the natural contours of whatever subject you are painting.
Too many artists try to make watercolor behave in ways that are not natural to its inherent properties. If you are getting frustrated when working with it, you are likely falling into this trap. Next time, try to be more open to allowing the paint to do what it does best, move naturally in a fluid, elegant stream of color and light.