“Untitled” watercolor and pen by Adra Fisher

I’ve always appre­ci­at­ed art but nev­er thought I could make my own. Art-mak­ing required tal­ent, skills, tech­nique — none of which I pos­sessed — so many years ago I gave myself a gift: per­mis­sion. Permission to try. Permission to fail. In art, and in life.

Permission, it turns out, is that rare gift that tru­ly keeps on giv­ing. Permission lib­er­ates. It assures. It opens doors to new worlds and ways of being. It qui­ets fear and self-doubt. It assuages guilt.

Permission made my life inter­est­ing and full of pos­si­bil­i­ties. It still does. Giving myself per­mis­sion to cre­ate was a game-chang­er. It has helped me make all kinds of things over the years: new career paths, rela­tion­ships, homes, gar­dens, peace (with myself and oth­ers), and yes, even art.

In this space, I hope to inspire and moti­vate you to make some­thing, any­thing, by shar­ing what I’m mak­ing. I’ll post paint­ings, sketch­es, draw­ings, pho­tographs, mosaics, maybe even a poem or haiku — in order to illus­trate that we can all make art. No tal­ent, skills, or tech­nique required!

I’d like to kick things off with an unti­tled water­col­or-and-pen piece. I don’t gen­er­al­ly both­er nam­ing pieces because I’m mak­ing art for fun, and unless a title imme­di­ate­ly springs to mind why waste the time and ener­gy? If I had to name this one, I guess “Crazy Cat Lady” might work, but that’s kind of snarky and judg­men­tal, and I try not to be that way. I’d rather leave things open to inter­pre­ta­tion. This pic­ture is a por­trait, and the woman and cat depict­ed live only in my imag­i­na­tion. I used fair­ly rough-tex­tured water­col­or paper that mea­sures about 14 inch­es by 11 inches.

I paint­ed this piece last year and dug it out of the draw­er to share because I like it and had a lot of fun mak­ing it. Those last 11 words are impor­tant because they gen­er­al­ly sum up why I make art: I like it, and it’s fun. If oth­er peo­ple like it, that’s nice, but it’s a mis­take to rely too heav­i­ly on out­side opin­ions — unless, of course, you’re being paid to pro­duce some­thing or have a strong need for exter­nal val­i­da­tion. Lucky for me, the art world I inhab­it has nei­ther. The only per­son I need to please is me.

This piece began with the eyes. I messed around with them for quite a while, light­ly sketch­ing them with a pen­cil before adding any col­or. I want­ed the eyes to be small, but oth­er­wise I had no real direc­tion in mind. I just kept at it until I had some­thing I liked. When I use a pen along with water­col­or paint, I some­times use it before apply­ing paint but more often, after. That was the case in this piece. With the black pen, I was able to add def­i­n­i­tion to the woman’s hair and cre­ate those quirky ear tufts.

So now you know my process: Have fun and keep at it until you’ve got some­thing you like. Give your­self per­mis­sion, and who knows what you’ll create.

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    Adra Fisher grew up in Winchester, moved away in her ear­ly 20s and returned a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry lat­er. She enjoys all types of art and encour­ag­ing oth­ers to live creatively.