Forgotten Memories

Rusted Car Abandoned Rabbits Watercolor Painting Illustration

For our optional World Watercolor Month prompt of “Forgotten,” my mind went to those old rusted cars one sometimes sees sitting in a field. So, I made a doodle of a couple of bunnies discovering one. I’ve no idea what happens next, but I’m sure a couple of clever rabbits can sort out this mystery. It’s interesting to me how something that was once shiny and new can end up somehow lost to time. I’m sure this car has many stories of adventure to tell if cars were able to speak. Though even if that were possible, it’s highly unlikely it would be able to speak rabbit, so the secrets would remain hidden. I remember back when I was a kid playing on my grandparent’s farm. There was an old rusted school bus that was used for storage and we’d always sneak inside to explore it. Indeed, I have no recollection of how my grandparents managed to acquire it, but that only added to the mystique. Some objects just get more interesting when you have the chance to make up your own story.

There’s much I remember from childhood, but other bits are a blur. I’ll often quiz my mother about various things as I try to piece all of the parts of the story back together again. Sometimes, she’ll mention something that feels like she’s telling a story about someone else’s life. I have no recollection of it whatsoever. It’s equally possible her own memory isn’t perfectly accurate, but she’s always been able to recall things easily. Even my more recent adult memories are often a cocktail of various hazy images that I can’t immediately bring back into focus. It’s true, I’ve done quite a lot in my life and have had many different adventures. Each one is memorable, but some just come with a touch less clarity. It usually happens that something will trigger that memory and it will suddenly burst forward, fully realized, as though it had never disappeared in the first place. Though moments with family and friends are the easiest to recall. The heart has the best memory of all.

Sometimes, I’ll remember a particular sketch I made like it was yesterday, and other times I have to search my own website to see if I’ve sketched something like that previously. This one, would definitely qualify as something new. I had only planned to sketch an old rusted car, but Philippe remarked how he was seeing tons of rabbits in the neighborhood. I began to wonder what a rabbit might think when encountering something that’s normally certain danger in a now defunct and helpless state. And, it also made me think about my own junk heap of a mind and how I often struggle with my own memories. I’m quite sure it’s not possible to remember everything, and so our minds push some things out to make room for new things. I think that’s why I’ve enjoyed my sketching journey so much. I don’t sketch what’s actually in front of me, I sketch what’s on my mind. And often while making those lines on paper and getting lost in adding a touch of color, I’ll feel a spark of recognition. Then comes that lovely moment when something lost comes back to mind, and get to once again enjoy those forgotten memories.

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Rusted Car Abandoned Rabbits Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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  1. Karen Fortier 2 years ago

    This is so cool Charlie! My grandmother use to drive some sort of little car that had hand turn signals that popped out near the front doors. I remember this because my cousins and I would play in that old funny little car which by then had a home behind the barn just for us. My grandpa’s ice fishing shack became the home of Goldie locks and the three bears and always had fresh homemade cookies in the cupboard! It was the best place to visit and the big extended family would gather most Sundays. Memories!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Aww… I adore those memories! That sounds like so much fun!!

  2. Sandra Strait 2 years ago

    Hubby and I were looking for a movie to watch the other day. Within a few moments of watching, one or the other of us would say we’d seen it, a bit of the plot and whether we’d liked it, and we’d try another. After doing this for a while, I commented on how sad it was that we could remember all these movies, but probably couldn’t remember what we’d had for breakfast that morning. The memory is a funny thing.

  3. Mcihelle 2 years ago

    I’m really impressed. I left the page blank in my WWM Journal blank as a way of saying “I forgot” to paint something. I couldn’t think of anything to paint, but this is great – a forgotten vehicle. We have lots of those around where I live. Yard art??? I need to doodle more.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Michelle! 😃💕 Yeah, some of these prompts get challenging when they’re open ended. I’m letting my inner child loose to pick something each time that happens! hehe

  4. writerleenda 2 years ago

    Charlie that little rabbit looks like it’s old enough to drive. It doesn’t sound like there is a thing wrong with your memory considering the stories you tell!! Keep em coming!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Aww thanks so much! 😃💕 I’m so happy you enjoy my stories!

  5. Sharon Nolfi 2 years ago

    Wonderful interpretation of the prompt! I just love the bunnies.

  6. Marisela Delgado 2 years ago

    I laughed at Sandra’s comment because I can remember my first day of kindergarten (I’m 50) and who cried their eyes out (yeah, my childhood friends just LOVE that), but sometimes I can’t remember what we had for dinner yesterday. I have always had a killer memory, which can be painful, Charlie. You remember too much. That, of course, was an asset in college. When I got injured, it turned life-threatening with a big, scary blood clot secretly and silently growing in my leg. Had they not found it in the ER…… Part of the treatment to stabilize it and keep it from growing was a group of injections that I had to give to myself. Yikes! On top of the MASSIVE fatigue, bruises, injection site pain, I experienced mental and memory fog. Speaking 2 languages did not help. I started blending both. Remember how everyone used to laugh when Pres. Bush would make up words like “unificators”? I started doing that with English and Spanish. Mid-sentence I would forget what I was saying. I turned dumb. For an honor student with a killer memory, it was humbling. I still get emotional remembering. I am still unsure if I am completely back. I noticed that unimportant things just slide down the drain into obscurity. Sometimes it concerns me, but I choose to believe that I am forgetting the useless, frivolous, and insignificant. Like you, all of a sudden, I will remember something from long ago. Something sweet or funny like my little boy, my beagle Monster, burping after drinking water and scratching his belly. Memory can be cruel, but those sweet memories…… wish you can keep them in a jar for later. Fabulous painting and beautiful rabbits. 😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Marisela! 😃💕 Yeah, memory is such a strange thing indeed. My went a bit off after a bad car accident in high school. It was years before my long term memory started sneaking back in.

  7. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 2 years ago

    gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  8. Fascinante Charlie, buenos los tonos y el grafismo en los dibujos

  9. Fatima Chamkha 2 years ago

    Wow stunning the old rusted car with thé bunnies very beautiful !

  10. Vicki 2 years ago

    Memories are indeed fickle. I can remember watching the Queen’s coronation on TV but I have no memory of eating at a table with my parents!

  11. Lisa 2 years ago

    One reason I like to read your essays here is that they often ping my own memory box. Your old bus memory reminded me of times in my childhood when we went to my great uncle Elmer’s and we’d play in the barn with our third cousins. There was a Model T and a Model A in there. Dusty, rusty, and probably full of mouse poop under the seats. It was great fun pretending we were going on trips. In the milking part of the barn there was a metal half barrel hung by chains to a rail that ran behind the stanchions. They used it to remove manure from the barn, but by the time we were playing there the cows were long gone and we’d take turns climbing into the bucket and getting the other kids to push us from one end of the barn to the other. I haven’t thought about that in years.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Oh wow! I love that story, Lisa! 😃💕 So happy this brought back fun memories!

  12. Claire 2 years ago

    Wow Love this car – but must have taken longer than your usual “quick Doodle” The detail is fantastic.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Claire! 😃💕 Still a quick paint, but I spent a little longer on the drawing for this one. 😉

  13. Gary Middleton 2 years ago

    Great doodle ,Charlie.

  14. Zertab Quaderi 2 years ago

    Love the sketch and the rabbits ❤️

  15. Mugdha 2 years ago

    Hello Charlie,

    The sketch is beautiful! I have a strong feeling those bunnies are gonna open the door to find a couple of jackets like the one Peter Rabbit wears. A bunch of elves have probably left them there for the bunnies. And you’re as usual very right! The heart definitely has the best memory of all. And your heart seems to be a treasure chest of some very sweet ones.


    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 Aww I love your story for the bunnies! Wonderful!

  16. Mary Roff 2 years ago

    WOW, Charlie!! This has to be part of a series of illustrations for a book. Already love the story concept and this doodle is so amazing!!! Now I want to know “the rest of the story”!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 hehe… I think I’m just going to end up with story starters as I try more like this one. Not sure which one I’ll end up telling yet! 😉

  17. LoriCtoo 2 years ago

    I just love this sketch! Please tell me this took a bit longer than your normal allotted time. 😉 It is just wonderful. I agree that the brain pusches stuff out to make room for new stuff. I also think that when you have a baby, they take half your brain. Bahawahaha!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 I spent more time thinking about and drawing this one, but the painting went quickly. hehe And yes! I’ve heard moms mention that baby eating memory issue! lol

  18. Jerson Antao 2 years ago

    That rustic car looks good Charlie👌’ve got the right colours…and those bunnies together makes a good composition👍😍.

  19. Viki Banaszak 2 years ago

    Wonderful! Love the bunnies.

  20. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 years ago

    I hate seeing rusted hunks of junk, abandoned husks of old things lying around and spoiling the landscape. But get an artist in front of the mess and it becomes a thing of beauty, worthy of hanging in your living room. Memory is much the same. Remembering all the awful experiences of our youth and realizing those embarrassing incidents made us into the people we are today. Still hoping in my case to make something as wonderful as this painting of a junkyard car explored by bunnies.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, everything can be made a little more beautiful when it becomes art. And those embarrassing experiences are definitely treasures now. We learned so much from them! 😉

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