Riding a Bike

I woke up this morning to my youngest asking if he can ride his bike, as he tends to do every morning in the summer. While he gets all set up to go, I get set up to work, and by the time he's rolling his bike out of the garage, I"m sitting down at my drafting table to start the day's work.

My table is set up to look out the window, and every once in a while I see him confidently cruising by on his bike, coasting along and just having a great time. I tend to daydream a lot when I first wake up, and naturally watching him brings me back to memories of his first bike.

He was so scared when he first got a two wheeler bike, and yet so thrilled at the same time. His dad would have to hold onto the back of the bike, even with training wheels on, because he kept panicking every time it would tip and hit the training wheels to the ground. It was scary but exciting and he was TERRIBLE at bike riding. He crashed into everything. The mailbox, the sidewalk, the yard, my car, you name it, he ran into it. Steering was hard, balancing was hard, watching wher ehe was going was hard. There were so many variables to bike riding and he was just learning, so they hadn't become instinctive yet.

After a while, he started getting the hang of things. Watching where he was going, trusting in those training wheels that they wouldn't let him fall, steering. So we took one of the wheels off. Just one, so he knew if he was going to fall he could always lean to the left and the training wheel would catch him. Once again it was a learning curve, with him anxious every time he started to tilt to the right, and I laughed so hard because of weeks he wouldn't make ANY right turns, so we'd see him do a ton of left hand turns in order to go right. But eventually he figured it out, he learned to trust again, and started to trust in HIMSELF to keep that bike upright.

That's when we took off the last wheel. He didn't believe me that he could do it, he could ride without the wheel, and we had to backstep to the days when his dad would hold his bike and push him and he'd giggle and grin and flail that he was doing it! He was riding his bike! It took him a little bit to realize that his dad had let go a long time ago... and he really was doing it. He really was riding his bike on his own.

Art is a lot like that. When you are first learning, there's so much to learn that it can be overwhelming. Composition, anatomy, color theory, how to use hte tools in the first place, what to do if you screw up... there are so many variables, that it can seem like you will never be able to do it. There's just too much to learn. Some people give up, thinking that there is no way that they can ever improve, can ever get this much down. That's when you need those artistic training wheels. Books that tell you how to do perspective, rulers and guide lines. The people who redline your art for you are like the father holding the back of the bike, they're just giving a little guideance, because in the end.. you can do it.

And like my son who's just coasted by again, and I'm pretty sure is going to end up with scraped knees because he's being a dare devil and trying to see if he can hop his bike into doing a wheelie, you can learn and grow. Give it time, keep trying when you fall, don't let it stop you. Even if it seems like you're getting no where now, every day is an improvement and growth. There is no shame in using those training wheels until you're ready to coast on your own, but remember to trust in yourself.

You got this.

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