Poppies final

Take a Break and the Cauliflower effect

14th July 2021 Dr Beena

What a lovely way to start the topic today. Take a break. Exactly, that is what we will discuss today. The above picture is a loose watercolour of poppies. In watercolour, it is advisable to take a break after you have painted for a while, have a cup of tea, and then return. Look at the painting again, and you will be able to see where you must make changes. Instead, I was always trying to finish my painting as fast as I could. However, it resulted in so many mistakes. I did not fully understand why we must allow drying time and then add the next layer. I suppose we can only improve with trial and error.

Another effect of loose watercolour is to avoid having the cauliflower or blooming effect. However, at times the blooming or cauliflower effect adds a dimension to the picture. Cauliflower effect occurs when your water is too much. Now to understand the amount of water to create an effect, it needs constant practice. Though it was my first attempt at loose watercolour of poppies, I was relatively happy when I finished. I acknowledge that I have room for improvement. But for the moment, this would suffice. I try not to aim too high😊.

 Oh yea, I wanted to talk about taking a break. When I worked full time, taking a break is usually associated with being idle.  Or maybe that was my perception. Have you had such moments? I would feel guilty whenever I took a break.  A recent study from Iceland revealed that people who worked four days a week were more productive and efficient. I do not wish to extrapolate such findings to our place, as working conditions may vary, and it may not apply to many places. In my experience, I found that when I took a break, my productivity improved. Yet, it was not the norm during those times. I always remembered my supervisor’s words, ” We never take a break as we work through lunch.” However, I was not convinced by his words. I always felt that when we are tired mentally, we are unable to perform our best. At many workplaces, people would have their lunch at their desks. Often, we find stress levels are high in offices when the workers are unhappy. That dissatisfaction leads to poor performance. Just a change of scenery like a short walk during lunchtime or a friendly chat with another co-worker brightens the mood. That may lead to better work outcomes. I have had a better result by having discussions during lunch or tea breaks with colleagues rather than plodding on without a break.

 I would love to hear from you as many of you may have retired or still working. What are your thoughts on “take a break.” I have incorporated how in arts, ” take a break” leads to a better outcome. I would equate ” the blooming effect” as a positive result.

 Allan is back from his break, and I hope to read his thoughts too. Till the next musing, please share your thoughts and stay safe. Bye for now…..

5 thoughts on “Take a Break and the Cauliflower effect

  1. Thanks for another lovely painting, Beena. The title “Take a Break” makes me think of retirement, as I recently retired at the end of last year. In a way, retirement can be seen as the ultimate break, don’t you think? Indeed, it is an opportunity to slow down and enjoy things in a new and pleasureful way in a phase of life where one is already (hopefully) fully mature and therefore able to enjoy things at their fullest.

    Retirement has historically been thought of as something that happens at the end of life. However, in the past century, as lifespan has increased from the mid-30s to close to 80+, I would argue that retirement should be considered something for mid-life rather than the end of life. In mid-life, one is still fully able to make the most of the “break” provided by retirement, while being able to rediscover/expand oneself and return to “productive work” in the final decades of life. Thus, retirement becomes not the end of ones working life but rather a break between two separate and productive careers!!

  2. Hi Allan

    Now that’s a beautiful way to describe our phases in life. I know of many who find themselves lost when they retire. They would like to continue working. Many find staying home very difficult. I suppose retirement does mean we truly take a break from one phase of life to another. Life events have a serendipitous way of occurring. I always felt, taking a break does give my mind a rest and I do have a better outcome. When I described my thoughts, I was relating them to work.

    I have to describe another episode when I took a break. I had put a pot of sweet potatoes to boil and started to focus on my painting. Later, when I got the smell of some stuff burning, I thought my neighbour must have left something to burn. It took a while to realize that it was from my kitchen. Oh no, please don’t do what I always end up having ie burnt food:((.

    Hope you take a break with no mishaps;).

    Have a great day ahead


  3. Retirement is one whole long break.. Whole days of ease and unplanned existence, of no deadlines and no schedules. They can really numb one into nothingness. I now have an opposite interpretation of taking a break – which is taking a break from this long idle break. I really look forward to doing little projects in my garden even if it’s just potting some plants or helping with some editing work or repurposing some “rubbish” I’ve collected or doing an online search for something I want to buy. Small but enjoyable and satisfying.

    1. Hi Nyuk

      A gratifying way to find purpose even in small stuff like online shopping. I am truly bad at that. Well I think you can write some lovely stories to any of the paintings. Looking forward to reading your stories. Cheers my friend


  4. Enjoyed your story on taking a break and all the comments about retirement being a break. I have always held to the belief that we are granted two lives and the second one begins after retirement. Therefore do make full use of this break.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 1 GB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here


Sign up for our newsletter and stay up to date