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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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Ultramarine (Green Shade) and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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!
Rusted Car Abandoned Rabbits Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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40 thoughts on “Forgotten Memories

  1. 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!

  2. 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. 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.

  4. 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. 😊

    1. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.


  7. 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”!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

    1. 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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