Getting that first little bike, our prompt for today, is still one of my most memorable experiences. Well, it only had three wheels, but in my head it was a bike just like the big kids had. Hopping on my little ride tricycle was the beginning of an adventure. This too, was mostly in my head as riding around in circles on the driveway doesn’t really take one to far off lands. But I would imagine that it did. That each tiny little loop I made around the driveway was a trip around the world. My neighbor’s houses blurred in my vision and became castles that I passed along the way. I’m quite sure the Johnson’s thought their heavily manicured home was indeed already their castle, but my version had large stone turrets and a drawbridge. Sometimes, I would take my feet off of the pedals and just let the tricycle coast for a bit, imagining I was being pulled by horses, or even better, unicorns. I never really arrived at any of these fantasy places to truly visit them, even in my imagination. Like many things, the journey itself is often the most fun.
Today, I’m still very much like that little boy on the trike. I’ll often happily find myself spinning to places in my imagination with no real destination in mind. Even as I show up each day here to write and sketch, I’m simply musing on life while practicing drawing and painting. I don’t have a goal to become a famous artist. I just like to draw and paint and hope that each day that I do, I’ll get a little bit better at it. And what I love most is studying an object and exploring the ideas it stirs in my mind and on paper. The results vary as I go along, but each scratch of the fountain pen and flick of the brush moves me forward on my journey. Sometimes, I like to pedal a bit and other times, I just let lift my feet and let watercolor take the wheel. As I look back on life, I hope that Little Charlie would be proud of me for approaching art and life in this fashion. I’ll never had that regret of wishing I could say something to my childhood self. I say it to myself every day. “Never grow up, even as you grow old.”
So, I still wear sneakers and jeans while pursuing life will all the passion I can muster. Some days I lose my way and feel a bit lost, and others, I find myself ready to take on the world. I never aim to be happy all of the time, simply content, but as it turns out, that’s pretty much the same thing. And in my time here on this planet, I’ve learned something that Little Charlie already knew instinctively. That chasing a goal is far more fulfilling than actually achieving it. The thrill of that chase is what brings me back to writing and sketching each and every day. Were I ever to truly think I’d completed the journey, that would be a very sad day indeed. Like a book we adore and are eager to finish, yet landing on that last page leaves us with a sense of loss. We make a silent vow to read it again one day, but that day rarely ever happens. Seeing the book later reminds us of that journey, but it’s never quite the same visceral experience we had while reading it. For me, life is far better lived when you simply pedal through it while imagining all the possibilities. Setting out toward a distant, often blurry horizon, knowing that no matter what happens, you’ve happily set your course on the road to adventure.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, 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!
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. 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 Doodlewash.com, contact me!