Like Riding A Bike

Day 16 - Like Riding A Bike Kids Bike In Summer #doodlewashJune2018 Doodlewash

Today, our art challenge prompt of bicycle, brings back many wonderful memories. I haven’t actually ridden a bike in quite some time, as riding one in city traffic seems more terrifying than fun. As a kid, I could simply ride around my quiet neighborhood and go exploring with friends. Even though I haven’t ridden a bike in quite a few years, it’s a generally accepted notion that were I to hop on one again, I would instantly still remember how it’s done. It’s a fascinating trick of the unconscious mind that we all possess called procedural memory. Unlike our conscious memory that can both help us remember a story from childhood and equally forget that it ever happened in the first place. Procedural memory is much more resilient, as it should be, since it also helps us walk each day without falling down all the time. Once our bodies learn how to do something, it’s never really forgotten, though our level of skill may atrophy. This is equally true with art. Learning to draw and paint when we’re young means that we can always decide to pick it up again as an adult. Though we may not start out as masters, we can definitely make something wonderful!

As with many things we learn, whether mentally or physically, it’s also easier to do when we’re kids. We are like a sponge at that age, soaking up every bit of wisdom we possibly can. This is why I have such a passion for getting art supplies for kids, and the reason I made it the centerpiece of World Watercolor Month in July, and why a portion of everything sold on this site goes to the same cause. If a child doesn’t have access to art supplies or art classes, they won’t grow up with this important procedural memory. And, they won’t have that longing we felt when many of us spent years not doing any art, only to pick it up again when we were older. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like were it not for those early art classes and especially those wonderful art teachers. Suddenly, I didn’t have to memorize and parrot back facts, but could explore the amazing world of my own imagination. There were techniques to learn, but never really a wrong way to do something. Just ways that might work better or be more appealing to others.

Granted, back then, when the main audience was mom and dad, the odds that something would be declared “art” were always 100%. And even though they were just being good parents, they were actually 100% correct. Art is really just an expression of human creativity and imagination. If you made it, it’s already art. Though, yes, sharing with people who aren’t trusted members of your own family is sometimes a daunting step. To be judged by others, often complete strangers, takes a touch of bravery. But, art isn’t something we make to hide, it’s something meant to be shared. This is, indeed the magical final step that truly turns something into art in the first place. We knew this instinctively as kids and it was at that time that our artistic destiny was already predetermined. So, I’ll just offer up this friendly reminder that we’re never really learning to make art, as it’s not something we could ever forget if we tried. We’re just trying to get a bit better at it, find the right balance, and eventually make it to the top of that steep hill to get a view of the other side. After all, art is just like riding a bike.

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, and Cobalt Blue. 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 16 - Kids Bike In Summer_IG_
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, contact me!

  1. Lisa Cihlar 6 months ago

    I have friends who tell me they can’t make art. Hogwash I say, you could if you want to. But they don’t. Instead they are very nice about my little pictures,and that makes me happy ☺!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Your little pictures are fabulous, Lisa! 😃💕And yeah, your friends could totally make art as well! There’s still time to persuade them one day. hehe.. it’s my hope to get as many people as possible remembering they actually can make something!

  2. Sandra Strait 6 months ago

    I remember when bike-riding was done against the flow of traffic so the drivers would see you. Haven’t ridden one in years but your drawing makes me want to hop on one and go cruising!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 yeah, I know, right? Now, you just hop on the road like you’re a car and hope for the best. I’d rather be back in childhood where I could see everything in front of me, even if I wasn’t wearing a helmet. 😉

  3. Margaret Parker Brown 6 months ago

    Great post Charlie, full of wisdom and encouragement. ❤️ I especially love the last bit

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Aww thanks, Margaret! 😃💕 I’m so happy you enjoyed this post! I do think we all have the ability to make art!

  4. LoriCtoo 6 months ago

    Well said! I teach a small art class, with no formal education behind me. Just the love of it. I am always telling my students, there is no right or wrong way to make art. You just confirmed what I have been telling them. Thank you.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 And that’s awesome that you teach an art class! Yay! Yes, we all know there are masters, but for most of us, we simply have a desire to create something… anything! And I just hope to encourage more people to try!

  5. Laura Hale 6 months ago

    Great art and thoughts. Thank you for sharing and building this community.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 It’s been my absolute pleasure building this wonderful community! It’s still what keeps me painting and sketching each and every day!

  6. Nancy Jackson 6 months ago

    Cool looking bike! 😃

  7. Jill Kuhn 6 months ago

    Hi Charlie, I enjoyed your writing today as well as your art! 😊 I like how you compared riding a bike to creating art. 🎨✨💕

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks, Jill! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this! I do believe when we reach for that first crayon in childhood, we have the possibility of becoming an artist. I just want to make sure every kid at least gets a chance at that!

  8. Sharon Nolfi 6 months ago

    Your bike looks great, and it’s a difficult subject to render. Yes, we always knew how to make art. A person can improve skills, but the desire to create is a basic instinct.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, bikes are tough… my eyes actually cross trying to draw wheels! hehe… but yes to that! We all carry the ability to make art, so my sincere hope is to continue to feed the desire to create it!

  9. SnehLata Maheshwari 6 months ago

    Hello charlie.
    Your story of today gives energy to learn more to you. as waiting for july . good luck

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕 July is going to be so amazing! I can’t wait !

  10. smzang 6 months ago

    ” when the main audience was mom and dad, the odds that something would be declared “art” were always 100%”

    Yes!! another one for the collection!

    The bike is a collectors item…I love it…the detail is super (particularly the tread, brakes and chain…all of it!)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕Glad you liked this! Drawing bikes is a huge challenge for me… I always struggle a bit, but that’s exactly why I keep coming back to try again!

  11. June Hadaway 6 months ago

    Such a cute red bike. Any kid would enjoy riding it. I enjoyed your words of wisdom. I am sure every child that receives art supplies is a happy child. This is a wonderful way to help others and at the same time enjoy your love of art as well.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      Thanks, June! 😃💕 Yeah, I really can’t imagine not having access to art as a child. It was such a defining thing for me! I sincerely hope that I can do my small part to help the next generation of artists!

  12. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 months ago

    Connecting your passion for art with a worthy cause to promote opportunities for art experiences for under served children – you might pretend to doodle and dabble, Charlie, but there’s a very serious and focused man behind that paintbrush. You might not have children of your own but you’re a wonderful father figure for a lot of kids.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 6 months ago

      That’s such an awesome thing to hear! Thank you, Sharon! 😃💕 True, I don’t have kids, but I was one once and I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without art. In my humble way, I just hope I can make a difference for a few budding artists out there. I can’t imagine a world without them.

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