Riding The Open Road

Vintage Motorcycle Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Cycle” today, I opted for a motorcycle, simply because I’ve never sketched one before and wanted to try. I chose a bit of a vintage model and then realized that motorcycles are ridiculously complex. I used just three colors, dotted in details that I saw, and others are a bit invented to hopefully create the illusion of an actual motorcycle, though I’m rather sure this one wouldn’t last long if it were taken out on the open road. I’m truly not sure all of the wires even connect. I’ve never owned a motorcycle, but back when I was in art school one of my best friends did. She used to take me for rides, and once we rode out to the country early in the morning to watch the sun rise. We were only on unpopulated backroads so I found the experience really memorable and magical. Later she would take me on a tour via a highway and the feeling of bugs hitting your skin at over 65 miles per hour was a far less pleasurable experience. I remember squealing and screaming in a most embarrassing fashion most of the trip. This was the first and last time she ever invited me to join her for a ride that was anything over 30 miles per hour. For my own part, being one who prefers vehicles with walls, I still felt rather daring the entire time. And it felt great!

I’ve never been what one would call a thrill-seeker. But, I always find it thrilling to experience something that I wouldn’t normally DO. When it came to motorcycles, I would have never even ridden on one had I not been coaxed by a good friend. That experience really stuck with me. And perhaps, more importantly, I remember the feeling of doing something that I never would have done if left to my own inclinations. There’s quite a difference between keeping yourself safe and just “playing it safe.” I often find myself leaning toward an option that feels the most comfortable. Indeed, when I choose something to create each day, my first choice is something that I’ve practiced and that I know I can sketch quite well. So, even if I choose a beloved subject matter, I opt for a difficult perspective or something that will challenge me a bit. Or, in the case of today, force myself to sketch something for the very first time. It’s an interesting thing, as when I started, everything was a first so I didn’t have to worry at all. Now, there’s a level of skill that I’ve expressed, so trying something that I’ve never once sketched feels just a bit daring.

And it’s so much fun! Join me! If you’ve been waiting to create something that you simply think is beyond you at this point, then by all means DO it! Or, as my inner child would say, I DARE you to DO it! What I’ve learned on this little art journey is that while I adore it if people love what I make, I adore it most when I love making it in the first place. I think that’s the secret to building a daily art habit. As much as I’m certainly sharing a bit of performance art each day with my doodlewashes and words, it’s still a very personal approach. I make what my heart tells me to make and let my heart share whatever words it wants in the accompanying post. One would think after all of this time I would have started editing myself or attempting to craft something more eloquent. But instead, I just make a little something and then ramble on as the words come to mind. For me, this is my art form. I’m not sure what anyone would call it or if there’s even a name for what I do. What I know is that it makes me very happy. I adore seeing an image appear in my little sketchbook and am always surprised by the words it inspires. Perhaps, I’m too squeamish to hop on a motorcycle and hit the highway, but I still always feel the thrill of living life by riding the open road.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!).. 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!
Vintage Motorcycle Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
24 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 1 month ago

    I live your bike Charlie! I use to ride mini bikes as a kid, tomboy! I still have the scar from the burn I got from the muffler, riding on dirt trails in shorts and probably flip flops. Kids! But we survived our small town adventures.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕Oh wow! That scar is a reminder of the little rebel you are at heart! hehe… that’s so awesome! I love it!

  2. Sandra Strait 1 month ago

    I painted muffins the other day. That seems pretty mundane, but it’s rare for me to paint food or still-lifes and it was a first for me. I’ve never ridden a motorcycle, and have no regrets. I fell off the back of a bicycle when I was a kid, and that was too thrilling for me – I haven’t trusted anything with only two wheels since, lol. Get me behind the wheel of a bumper car, though and I’m a tiger!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Your muffins were beautiful! 😃💕 Wow… that sounds a bit odd, but you know what I mean. And I know I saw them, but these days, I can barely keep up so I’m not sure I liked or commented, so I’ll do it officially right here! hehe And oh no…. sorry about the two wheel experience. But, yeah, I can totally see your tiger tendencies coming out during a bumper car adventure! lol

  3. Jacob 1 month ago

    Wow wow wow, Charlie! What a beast! I got excited just at the mention of you opting for a motorcycle for the first time, and I hadn’t even seen the image yet. I think I can say you exceeded my expectations (and believe me, they were already suitably high). That is truly incredible! I can barely ride a bike, though, so I wouldn’t fancy my chances on one of these bad boys, even if the wires are all connected.

    I would never have got to work on the game I am currently, had I not been encouraged to try pixel art a couple of years ago and posted my results here. There’s a lesson there, for sure, even if my example isn’t quite as daring as motorcycling!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Aww thanks so much, Jacob! 😃💕 So happy you liked this! Yeah… wheels are SO tough to sketch unless they’re circles. lol And I think you example is quite daring! It’s crazy, isn’t it? Posting things makes a ton of difference for not only our own enthusiasm, but for people who were actually out there, waiting to see just THAT! So cool!

      • Jacob 1 month ago

        Yes, and it’s funny how it’s often stuff you think insignificant or aren’t entirely happy with that garners such a response. I think creators sometimes overlook the big picture, but there’s always someone out there who wants to see what you’ve made!

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

          And so we blog! hehe… it’s fun to see who likes what. Sometimes even the things I personally am not fond of. I’ve posted lots of those… since I post whatever the heck comes out! lol

  4. Sharon Nolfi 1 month ago

    Beautiful motorcycle! I’ve never ridden one and don’t plan to in the future. I think the wind would feel amazing, but I’m way too safety conscious to ever try it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah… it totally freaked me out at high speeds! The bugs!! Ewwwww!! lol But slowly and safely, it’s the coolest thing ever!

  5. Lisa 1 month ago

    That looks like a V-twin engine, 400 cc, with a nice low center of gravity. This one is beautifully chromy. Joe has one, but hasn’t ridden it in years. My brother had a Harley Davidson. Mine was just a dirty little motocross bike, but I did get some trophies. 😂😂 Just kidding!!! I rode a few times, that’s it. But I bet for a second there you were quite impressed with me. Ha! You did make a great imaginary bike.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Oh wow! Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 The fact that you could identify it is the best compliment ever! hehe And I’ll believe those trophies. I’ve won a TON in my imagination and they feel just as real! lol

  6. Fatima Chamkha 1 month ago

    Well done Charlie!

  7. Mary Roff 1 month ago

    Very nice motorcycle! I remember a college adventure that involved a 2 hour ride down the interstate on the back of small cycle….sort of curbed ny sense of adventure for further cycle adventures.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕I know, right??? It’s so cool at slow speed, but the faster it gets the less appealing. I guess, in the end, there are many things in life like that.

  8. Jodi 1 month ago

    WOWZA Charlie! Great doodlewash!

  9. LoriCtoo 1 month ago

    Looks good to me! It looks like it would hold together. Unlike my bike I did. Lol, after I started painting it, I realized I did not give it the pedal sprocket, so technically there is no way to pedal. It made me giggle and I continued on. I can’t help think this rambling was sort of geared towards me and my glass sketching, or lack of. ;P

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕hehe… if you saw yourself in this ramble then it was indeed meant for YOU! lol Seriously, though, I always say just keep on painting whatever you think you can’t. One day, you most certainly can and then it will all just seem silly that you bothered waiting. 😉

  10. LoriCtoo 1 month ago

    I must admit, I wasn’t looking at a picture of a bike, just what was in my head. 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      That’s even better!! 🙂 I’ve only done that a couple of times… I’m still a bit of slave to references.

  11. Rising Star 4 weeks ago

    Thanks, that is really awesome.

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