When Things Get Rough

When it comes to dealing with stress, we all have our own little solutions. Mine tends to be some sort of sweet treat for myself, so when I saw a prompt of “rough,” all that popped into my head was dessert. Actually, that idea pops into head quite frequently for a myriad of reasons, but that was the reason today. As for the kind, although they’re not my favorite, I am always fascinated by the beauty and symmetry of macarons. That is, until you take that first bite and they crater and disintegrate. If they were slightly smaller, or I were a bear, I could probably down them in one bite and avoid this horrible multilation of such a gorgeous treat. This is probably why nobody ever paints the “middle” state of a macaron, but that’s exactly what I chose to doodlewash for today. After a busy Monday, the one on the left is quite similar to the rather blue way I look and feel at the end of the day, until I’ve had a chance to paint, unwind, and find a little sweet treat. Sometimes, it’s just a glass of wine, but that counts as well for my touch of sweet fix. After that, things get much better, and I look a bit more uniform again like the one on the right, only not quite as pink, assuming I don’t drink too much wine.

Most of my life, I haven’t had much of problem when it comes to stress. Truthfully, I have the opposite problem of not feeling stressed even when I probably should. My short attention span often gets me into trouble and I find myself bouncing from thing to thing without quite completing any of them. When the deadline is looming, I switch into gear and always deliver, and have always found the rush to be kind of exhilarating. I think that’s why when I have a long lead time to complete something I feel a bit paralyzed. There just doesn’t seem to be enough fire to motivate me. I’ve watched as people I’ve worked with dutifully begin each task the second they receive it and I’m always amazed. I can’t do that. I have to spin and ponder and watch funny cat videos in order to get my mind burning with ideas and my heart ready to commit to actually doing them. But something always happens, just as the clock strikes that fateful hour as the deadline approaches, and I deliver.

It occurred to me that although my process, or complete lack of one, is rather loose, the end result is all that really counts. It doesn’t really matter how we do something, it really just matters that we actually get on with actualy doing it at some point. Of course, I realize that giving myself a sweet treat after I’ve dawdled and procrastinated is simply rewarding my own bad behavior. But I don’t see it that way. Instead, I see it as giving myself an early reward for the amazing thing I’m about to do next. I’ve never understood withholding rewards as they’re the best motivator in the world, once you’ve enjoyed them. Before that, they’re just a promise you make to yourself, which is pretty much what I’ve already done by thinking,”I should really get started on that.” Going the other way around, and holding the treat back from myself, feels like I’m treating myself like a dog. No, I’m always happy in the knowledge that everything will sort of work itself out, and a sweet treat is just a little way that helps that happen. Even when things get rough.

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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Red Orange, Opera Rose, Turquoise Green and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.
 Day 27 - #WorldWatercolorGroup - When Things Get Rough Half Eaten Macaron Blue and Pink Macarons - #doodlewash
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!
Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
18 Comments
  1. Laura (PA Pict) 7 months ago

    This is another example of your ability to capture and convey textures. You’ve got that smooth surface and the interior dusty crumble of the macaroon perfectly.

    I’m also terrible for comfort eating. I’m trying hard to distract myself from that pattern of behavior by having comfort cups of tea instead but sometimes my will just isn’t strong enough. The thing that really decompresses me (and I’m permanently stressed) is art. If I’m drawing or painting, I can actually feel the tension leave my body. Maybe by doing these paintings every day, you are less stressed overall.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 I totally agree… painting is also lower in calories! hehe Unless you urban sketch everything, then it could be a problem I guess. I use photo references for most of mine as they are just “dream food” – a way to eat it by painting it without the guilt! hehe

  2. Yvonne Carpenter 7 months ago

    Charlie, the macarons look delicious and I don’t mind the crumbling! I love this stuff, which is why i never or rarely buy them. I bet I could eat 20+ of them on one sitting, although I have never actually tried since common sense usually gets in the way! I went to my nephew’s wedding last year in Brazil. It was the most amazing reception I have ever seen, with coconuts halves filled with a shrimp cream of some kind and vodka being flambe right in front of your eyes, one for each guest {300+ of us!!}, just to mention one of the many amazing things served. And of course, there were TREES of Macarons everywhere – 3 flavors in different shades of berry – i was hyper-ventilating, lol!They are my sister’s favorite too so I am sure she had a say on it (as she was paying for the whole thing it seems fair!) I gained several pounds in that trip and I am still paying for that 🙂 Back to the sketch, your macarons look true to form and extremely delicious, crumbling et all 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Yvonne! 😃💕Oh wow!! You had me at TREES of macarons! That just sounds beautiful to see!! Totally worth the calories!! lol

  3. Jodi 7 months ago

    Another example of why I can’t decide what I like more – your art or your musings?!! But the thing that makes you the ORIGINAL CHARLIE O is that you find a way to combine them in such a unique way. To take a painting of macarons and mention cat videos and your work strategy …. only you…. and genius! 🙂 xo

    • Author

      Aww thanks, Jodi! 😃💕 I’m just happy you like both! And thanks for saying I have a strategy… that makes me sound like I’ve thought through things first. I just speak with my hands on the keyboard and hope for the best! 😊hehe

  4. Jacob 7 months ago

    Marvellous macarons! I like the ‘early reward’ mindset and would like to say my distractions are coming from a similar place, but I’m not sure! Either way, I shall have to keep that in mind whenever I’m accused of procrastinating, as it’s quite the clever comeback. 😉 I do panic at times with deadlines, but I guess that’s normal; I too find that things have a habit of coming together in the nick of time. Keep on with the cat videos!

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Jacob! 😃💕 Yep, everything has that habit of coming together in the end so no reason to stress. Just reward, reward, reward! And save plenty of time for cute cat videos of course! hehe

  5. Carol 7 months ago

    I noticed that you paint a lot of food Charlie. Are you a foodie?

    • Author

      I love food!! 😃💕 I have no idea what it means to be a foodie though… hehe… I guess I am, but sometimes it means you’re snobby about food and I’m not. I love it ALL! lol

  6. ann christina 7 months ago

    Great painting, Charlie, the macarons look so real, even the cracked one! 💕

  7. Mmmm macaroons, crumbling or not? …yours look packed full of flavour just like your writing, banish the stress 😀

  8. shruti502 7 months ago

    I too share the same “early reward” attitude with you.Thank you for making me feel little less worried about this.I somehow never have managed to look to that in this aspect.Your words were to the point and completely relatable.I too get that extra and necessary push after the phase of procrastination.Thank you so much.Cheers to us!

  9. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 7 months ago

    Love, love, love macarons, and if I can’t eat one right now, I’m happy to look at your Doodlewash and drool all over the computer.

    As for procastinating – ugh, did you see that cat video where they……

    • Author

      Lol… thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, procrastination is an artist’s right I think. Glad you liked my macarons… I’m actually content with just looking. I find them a little too sweet sometimes. But that doesn’t stop me from eating them, of course. hehe

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