When I was a kid, I was fascinated with hot air balloons, our art challenge prompt for today. Seeing one floating through the sky was such a thrill! I still remember being with a group of kids, chasing it from block to block, trying not to lose sight of it before it disappeared. Much of the thrill came from the entire concept of flying via balloon while riding in, what it seemed from the ground at least, a very, very tiny basket. The entire thought of it seemed impossible which only added to the allure. I remember thinking just how many helium filled balloons I might need to launch myself into the air. Not to necessarily soar above the clouds like the giant balloons, but to even have the experience of my feet being lifted off the ground for just a moment. I asked my mother for 20 balloons once, as I estimated this would produce the desired effect, but she only smiled and told me to just pick one out in my favorite color. My favorite color at the time was actually blue, but I chose a fiery red one thinking it might possess a bit more lifting power. It didn’t. It only bobbed alongside me gently, not once threatening to launch me into the sky. I was a bit disappointed.

I always dreamed of actually riding in a hot air balloon one day. When I was about to graduate from college, my friend and I made a pact that we would rent a hot air balloon and take a flight together on graduation day. When the day finally came, we’d failed to plan anything at all so the maiden voyage sadly never actually happened. As much as I’ve always wanted to fly, the irony of this idea is that I’m terribly afraid of heights. Though the thought of soaring amongst the birds is so alluring to me, I don’t like being more than three stories up in a building. Like most of my fears in life, I overcome them by simply ignoring them entirely. So I can happily board a plane, but prefer to sit in an aisle seat, and I’ll take a spin on a roller coaster but tend to keep my eyes closed on that horrible incline to the top. The thing I’ve learned is that I don’t really fear every bit of an experience, just a silly little part of it. That part, is something I can easily overcome with enough positive thinking.

I once took a helicopter ride with my mother around the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and was perfectly delighted and terrified the entire time. This was followed by riding to the top of the Gateway Arch itself inside a tiny and rickety little elevator, which is a creepy and claustrophobic experience. Yet it so amazing to do! At the top, the view is always more expansive and incredible, so I’ve found it’s definitely worth the climb. These days, though I tend to prefer staying well and truly grounded, I still dream of taking that flight one day. In my mind, it’s never too late to try things that seemed to have missed their opportunity. New opportunities present themselves each and every day, so it’s only a matter of time before I might just choose this one again. A chance to fly high in the air in a beautiful balloon, showing me a view of the world that I’ve not quite seen yet. I could then be the amazing thing that little kids are now chasing through the neighborhood, wondering how that little man could possibly be so high in the sky, riding in a basket.

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange, Nickel Azo Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta 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 5 - Hot Air Balloon Watercolor Riding In A Basket - #doodlewashJune2018 Doodlewash

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25 thoughts on “Riding In A Basket

  1. The sky in today’s painting is gorgeous! I’m not afraid of heights – but those regrets I spoke of yesterday? More than one involves fairground rides. It seems my brain and my stomach dislike the feeling of being stretched farther from one another and that’s probably enough on that subject.

    1. Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕Haha!! I can now totally picture that story and ewwwww! But what a funny memory! I love those sorts of things. They are such fun when enough years have passed to get over the initial discomfort and embarrassment! 😉 Then they just become awesome lore!

  2. The ride to the top of the Arch is creepy, but so worth it! I was able to enjoy the view, not only from my perspective, but both of my (at that time) young sons as well. It was awesome to look out over the buildings while being able to see the highway down through the Plexiglas floor! I hope my adult children remember it as fondly as I do. Some day we may still have the opportunity to ride that balloon. Never say never!

  3. I was afraid of heights too, but decided to give it a try. I went up in a hot air balloon in Wyoming and at first I was afraid to look out over the basket.(because I was crouched down). Standing up, it realized it was so beautiful and the pilot of the craft assured me we were going to have a really smooth flight. The pursuit van was always not far off and kept us in sight. The ride lasted about fifteen minutes and the descent was smooth along with a smooth landing. When the van met up with us, they broke out the champagne and we all drank a glass to our successful voyage and someone did a toast. I’d do it all over again, Charlie. It was well worth it to overcome my fear. Do it! You won’t regret it and will wonder what took you so long. If I can find some pictures I took while up there, I’ll post them on my profile so you can see for yourself.

  4. Every other year they hold a big balloon rally here. I think I will always regret never getting a balloon ride before I became grounded with my wheelchair. I also wish I had taken the skydiving leap we always talked about. But I am very glad that hubs and I went to a place in central Illinois and got rides in sail planes. It was great fun! You should definitely do all of these things on your list. Nobody gets to the end of their life and thinks, gee, I wish I had worked more and played less.

    And, can you tell me what sepia ink you use in your pens? I am thinking about getting some.

  5. Sensational! I love the light in the sky. It’s one of those things I always wanted to do as a kid, but now probably wouldn’t. Some of the baskets just don’t look very big! But it’s always a treat to see them flying in the sky.

    1. Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕 You should totally DO it!! hehe… says the man who is a little nervous of ever trying it. Do it and tell me what it’s like! Or if I ever make it to your specific side of the pond, we should make a pact that we’ll DO it together! 😉

  6. “Up, up and away
    My beautiful, my beautiful balloon”
    The Fifth Dimension

    The wonderful thing about being creative is that you can fly without ever having to leave the ground. You cause your readers/viewers to soar.

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