Gosia Black’s Bikepacking Rig Watercolors
Gosia Black found a creative way to fund a mother-daughter bikepacking trip across Scotland–by painting the bikepacking rigs of women who inspire her. See a full gallery of Gosia’s lovely illustrations along with her thoughts on the project…
Gosia Black started creating these lovely watercolor bike illustrations last winter. The story-illustrations depicting women’s bikepacking rigs were turned into 148 x 210mm postcards, printed on environmentally friendly 100% recycled paper and sold on her Etsy shop. The project eventually helped make “the things that we love become the things we do,” in other words, it helped fund her mother-daughter bikepacking trip in Scotland, and make her dream a reality. Here’s more about the illustrations and what inspired Gosia to create them in her own words…
Open your soul and dare to give it
Consumed by woes and daily fears…”
-Saul Williams Encrypted and vulnerable
Words and illustrations by Gosia Black
I love to lose myself in poems just like I love to disappear in these routes you wish to never end… fade into fields, woods, hills and rivers, pack up all the worries and things that often seem to be beyond reason and let it all cover in dirt.
Every bike tells a story, no matter how big or small… Every tear, scratch and stain is its chapter. Every push, struggle, moment of joy marks another paragraph. I love to believe that I can perpetuate those beautiful stories in my little watercolour illustrations.
In Alexandera Houchin’s indigenous language: Ojibwemowin, “we are what we do,” which is described by verbs, not nouns. I am moving my bike and I’m pushing my pens and brushes… without actual experience, skills, and knowledge of drawing/painting techniques, but always with passion for arts and crafts. I started creating pictures of bikes and bikepacking rigs. These bikes are bikes of women I often tell my daughter about—amazing riders, athletes, travelers, bikepackers, all beautifully inspiring. Women who push beyond their limits to achieve impossible, who often prove there is no weaker sex. Women who turn their experience into magical stories, who grow their strength and confidence, and show that adventure comes in many colours, who spread young enthusiasm, positivity, joy, and happiness of the moment. Women to whom the world is not big enough to not ride around it!
These bikes belong to daughters, sisters, aunties, and mothers just like myself.
Last year I promised my 10-year old daughter a mother-daughter bike adventure in Scottish Highlands. All I wish for her is to grow brave and confident, curious about life and its beauty, find her strength to push and discover her own passions. I wish her to know that in the world that often wants us to doubt our potentials, that she is full of endless possibilities.
So much positivity and support my girl and myself received after sharing the first of these illustrations. It totally blew me away and encouraged us to work on our goal to make the things we love become the things we do, to help me show her the beauty I’ve found in traveling on a bike. The beauty of freedom, the beauty of power and abilities of your own body, the beauty of struggling and pushing, the beauty of falling down and getting back up, the beauty of being a part of nature. I made these illustrations into little inspirational postcards.
With every picture drawn I’ve grown my personal confidence, trust in my own skills and potentials. I upgraded my equipment from just a few watercolour inks and a pack of basic watercolour pen brushes to variety of pens, brushes, sketching pencils. I combine working with watercolour pens and traditional brushes using textured watercolour paper for more natural look. I often work late at night in the noise of my own thoughts, it’s my little relaxation session.
Thanks to this project I was able to get a bike for my girl and the gear we needed towards our trip. We were kindly given some equipment. I also received help in organizing our route, which was absolutely amazing. And we made it to Scotland! We rode through rain, mud and slippery paths. We were soaked, hungry and cold but we were together and we’ve learned that supporting each other’s growth makes our bonds unbreakable.
We love going back and sharing all these moments but the best stories to tell are those still to happen, about all the places waiting to be seen and all the routes still to be discovered. I hope there are many beautiful journeys ahead of us. We decided to make our little Scottish adventure an annual trip and I promised myself that I’d work as hard as I need to take my girl to every part of the United Kingdom and Ireland. I hope the more we travel together the more we learn, the stronger we get, and in few years we could take the challenge to complete The Land’s End to John O’Groats route.
Creativity dies when it has no channels to be expressed. There are so many beautiful females out there with their rigs full of adventures to capture in all the colour… so you keep rolling, I’ll keep drawing.