When Life Gets Bittersweet

Day 2 - Lemon Sorbet Ice Cream Watercolor - Doodlewash

Tonight, we have a quick little doodlewash of some kind of lemony treat, simply because I was unexpectedly in a mood to paint with a bit more yellow. I can’t even begin to guess why, but I’ve learned not to question these things and just roll with it. Friday evenings are a bit cramped for time as I’m perfectly exhausted from the work week and ready to just crawl into bed early and watch whatever Netflix suggests I should watch next. Though I wasn’t able to talk Philippe into making me a proper dessert this evening, we have friends coming round tomorrow evening, so I have a feeling one might still be in my future. As ever, I ended the week getting many things done and yet still have a list a mile long that I failed to complete. I’m happy for the things I succeeded in getting done and yet feel a sense of loss for those things I promised myself I would complete while thoroughly failing to do so. This is the way I end each week. I’m in a rather reflective mood, wishing I’d managed to do just a bit more. But I’m also always a bit giddy that the weekend is here and I can actually revel in relaxing and doing simply what I choose to do. It’s the best dessert ever!

Though I always dance through my art journey with a crazy amount of optimism, there are times when I feel a bit lost. Those times when I can’t immediately feel what to sketch next or indeed, what to even write about here. These are times when some might suggest taking a break, but for me, it’s more therapeutic to just keep going and push through it. The truth is, I showed up tonight extremely tired and not really wanting to sketch anything at all. I could have leaned into that feeling and done nothing, but instead, I did what I always do. I made something anyway. And while I was doing it, bit by bit, all of the stress of the week started to fade away. I immediately got lost in the moment again and a few minutes later, when I was done, I felt a wild sense of accomplishment that made up for all of those little things I didn’t quite do this week. I still managed to make another little doodlewash in my sketchbook and complete my daily journal via this very post. And now, any bits of regret or sadness that happened during the week have faded to the back corners of my mind.

It’s in these moments that I realize why I show up here each and every day. I’ve learned that the best cure for a lack of inspiration is simply to force myself to make something. Anything at all. It’s not the end result that matters most, but instead, it’s the very act of creating that enriches the soul. Taking a page of a sketchbook and making a mark of some kind. Then following those marks where they lead to create something that wasn’t there, just a moment before. People often talk of talent as a gift, but the real gift is the opportunity to create, which every single one of us has been given. Perhaps that’s why, as I head into the weekend, thrilled about taking that break, I’m happy to do a little something more. If I only spent my life taking things, I can’t imagine it would be as brilliant as a life spent making things. My joy comes from creating, and I simply have to honor that joy each and every day. And my commitment to this is returned tenfold as I once again feel the incredible delight of making what I love, even when life gets bittersweet.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Blue, and Terra Cotta. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 2 - Lemon Sorbet Ice Cream Watercolor Detail - Doodlewash
Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

40 Comments
  1. Sharon Nolfi 3 weeks ago

    Making is definitely better than taking! And it’s the process that matters, more than the product. I’m so glad you’ve found joy in your daily makings. You’ve certainly given a lot of joy to all your followers.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕It makes me so happy to know you enjoy my makings! 🙂 Thanks a million for all your support!

  2. It’s awesome – the silver tray, the lemon treat and I love reading your posts!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Aww thanks so much, Eileen! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this post! Thanks so much for reading them! That makes me happy to hear!

  3. Sandra Strait 3 weeks ago

    I love your lemony goodness! Letting go of the things not done has always been hard for me. Having a ritual of some kind that says ‘okay. I’m done for now, no matter what’ does help. Since I tend to be the type that always has artistic ideas churning, that isn’t usually a good choice for me to wind down. I make myself read something mindless for at least 1/2 an hour and that usually does the job.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕Yeah, I have to do a 30 minute mindless thing every day… hehe… or I literally wouldn’t be able to sleep! Too many ideas churning up there!

  4. LoriCtoo 3 weeks ago

    I think I have said this before. I start my mornings zipping through my emails so I can read your inspiring post of the day. Then it is off to do a little of spirit lifting….sketching and painting before I have to start my day at the gym. Continue on! You are inspiring a lot of people that enjoy your little sketches. Thank you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      That’s such a lovely comment! 😃💕 Thank you so much my friend! I’m thrilled I can help start you day on a wonderful note!

  5. Lisa 3 weeks ago

    I paint. Not every day, but often enough that I have stacks of pictures all over. So I started giving them away. My first goal was to send one to anyone who was fighting cancer, or other disease. Then I just started mailing them to anyone who really liked them. I might not think they’re that good, but other people see past my perfectionism and love them. And even though I can’t remember the point I was going for, just showing up with a brush, paint, and paper is so satisfying. Maybe I don’t need a point. 😂😂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      I love this comment! 😃💕 The “point” is just showing up! After that all the rest comes naturally. And so true… others see well past our own critiques and find the beauty we often can’t see. 😉

  6. smzang 3 weeks ago

    Charlie says, “If I only spent my life taking things, I can’t imagine it would be as brilliant as a life spent making things”. Poetry in motion, my wise and talented friend. I love that lemon dessert you created. I’m thinking it might be a sorbet over shortbread and that sure sounds good about now.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 I say, let’s all go right on making as many things as we can! And yum to shortbread… that’s always a wonderful addition! I love that stuff! hehe

  7. Jesska 3 weeks ago

    “It’s not the end result that matters most, but instead, it’s the very act of creating that enriches the soul.”

    I think that’s the part I forget… Thank you for the reminder 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Aww my pleasure, Jesska! 😃💕 I think it’s a fact that often bears repeating. I repeat it to myself a lot as well. 😉

  8. Richard Wilson 3 weeks ago

    Excellent image. If your interested I’ve just done a review on my blog for “Bockingford” paper. http://www.alifeofstationery.wordpress.com

  9. ann christina 3 weeks ago

    Wonderful post, Charlie! I love bittersweet deserts, especially French “tarte au citron”, guess you know that. It´s my all time favorite! In life I think bittersweet is better than just bitter, actually I think that if you look at the bitter things you can always find something that makes them rather bittersweet.
    Your post made me also think of how lucky we are to live in countries where we are able to buy tons of art supplies. This is not given anywhere in the world, which then pretty much limits this opportunity of making art. But even if it doesn’t seem so at times, I think that all in all things are getting better – there’s the bittersweet part again 😉
    Have a wonderful weekend, Charlie!❤️

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Ann! 😃💕 Yum to tarte au citron! Love it! And yes, I do think that things are getting better, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Hope you have a wonderful weekend as well!

  10. SnehLata Maheshwari 3 weeks ago

    Excellent post the bitter sweet. as well the cup n tray.
    Thanks Charlie.

  11. Carol 3 weeks ago

    Lovely Doodlewash, Charlie, and even lovelier words. We all get stuck from time to time, and I admire your tenacity to push through. The joyful feeling of creating is like none other and truly refreshes the soul. Happy weekend, and I’m sure whatever Philippe creates for dessert will be scrumptious! Enjoy!!

    • Linda Murray 2 weeks ago

      Thank you Charlie for giving us a treat everyday! Love your posts and pics! 👍

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

        Thanks so much, Linda!! 😃💕 So happy you enjoy my posts and pics!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Carol! 😃💕Yeah, I’ve found that pushing through and never giving up always makes me feel the best in the end! And would you believe our friend cancelled… now I’m going to have to really sweet talk in order to get that dessert! lol

  12. Sandy 2 weeks ago

    I’ve been in a lemon yellow mood as well even making sure I have lemon in my water. It might be the season with bright yellow leaves and all the other wild palette colors that nature offers. It’s cheery despite the waning light each day.

    I feel a trip to the market coming on. I need a lemon to model for today’s addition to the sketchbook. I painted a green pepper series years ago. Might be time to resume the fridge raids for the model produce of the day.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sandy! 😃💕 So happy to hear you were inspired! And glad to know that I’m not the only one in an inexplicably “yellow” mood. hehe I think a trip to market is definitely in order!

  13. June Hadaway 2 weeks ago

    Great post. I really like your lemon dessert and cookies. Pretty shades of yellow.

  14. Samiha Khan 2 weeks ago

    Your arts are amazing! Calms my soul somehow *_*

    #bigfan

  15. anamika808creative 2 weeks ago

    Looks yumm!!!

  16. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 weeks ago

    The best way to overcome nearly any adversity is to do something. Doing yanks you out of the doldrums. I’d like to remind you that I’m always available for taste testing treats – just saying…. This one looks so yummy – where’s the spoon?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 You would be welcome to taste test my treats any time, where they not mostly fantasy. And yay to doing! It’s really the best thing we can ever DO in life. Everything else seems to sort itself out after that.

  17. Fanna Turano 2 weeks ago

    Timely post, Charlie, and on target with my query to you about not being able to push past my complacency and simply PAINT! Thank you for the inspiration. I’ve learned this week that painting is not a feeling, but a doing. As such, I put all of that aside and created several pieces that I’ve been avoiding due to difficulty. Thank you for always speaking about a topic that’s always going on in my life. My lesson from the email I sent you? Paint. And don’t wait to be in the mood, rather create the mood. Thank you Charlie. Your posts and paintings are always a perfect gift in my head and my life.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Fantastic, Fanna! 😃💕 Thrilled this post spoke to you! And wonderfully said! Indeed, we shouldn’t wait for the mood as artists… we’re creators after all… it’s born in us to always CREATE that mood, simply by jumping in and doing what we love no matter what!

  18. Charlie, this is one of the most beautiful, heartfelt, honest posts that you’ve ever written and it means so much to me. THANK YOU!!! I’ve had your post open in my browser for several days so I can continually reread your words. I really needed to hear this right now because, while I totally get it and feel exactly the same way (I’ve even written posts about this topic), some days I feel as if I’m the only one cheering myself on. It’s truly a blessing to know that other artists also struggle and feel the same way. And yep, totally agree with you that the main thing is to keep at it! Always be creating, my very precious friend! 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Aww thanks so much, Tonya! 😃💕 I’m so thrilled this one spoke to you! And wild, because I was literally thinking of you on this day and how it’s been way too long since we’ve chatted and caught up! And though we’re never the only ones cheering ourselves along, even when it feels that way, we should always make an effort to be the first. Darn it, I’m STILL proud of every little thing I manage to make… hehe… even if it elicits crickets and radio silence when I post. lol And that, in the end, is truly what matters most! Much love to you! ❤️

      • Tonya L 2 weeks ago

        How in the world could you EVER elicit crickets and radio silence??? 🙂 You are so right… we artists should constantly be cheering each other onward. Thanks for your abundant enthusiasm and your ceaseless efforts to bring the artist community together in a positive way. Much love to you also!

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

          Aww thanks, my friend! 😃💕 hehe… but I totally have elicited crickets before. Though, it’s also likely that my posts were posted as a stupidly inopportune time since I seriously have an issue about following all the rules! 😊lol

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