Wooly worm by Adra Fisher

We’re hav­ing a glo­ri­ous fall, and wooly worms are every­where. They lum­ber across our paths in their plush autum­nal bathrobes, like once-a-year house­guests on their way to the shower.

These elon­gat­ed fur­balls are a joy to encounter — pre­cise­ly the oppo­site of bath­room-bound bed heads — and they don’t try to make con­ver­sa­tion before my first cup of coffee.

Sporting vary­ing col­orations, (gen­er­al­ly some taste­ful com­bo of rust and black), wooly worms spark live­ly spec­u­la­tion as it’s hard to resist imbu­ing them with mete­o­ro­log­i­cal fore­cast­ing pow­ers. If only our house­guests were as pre­scient and col­or-coör­di­nat­ed, we might be inclined to invite them more often.

Wooly worm sight­ings on my dai­ly walks inspired me to start this pen-and-water­col­or piece with a black, fine-point pen. I want­ed to cap­ture their dis­tinct bristly-ness, which I find incred­i­bly endear­ing and an artis­tic chal­lenge. Usually, I paint or draw from mem­o­ry or imag­i­na­tion, but it wasn’t long into this piece that my mem­o­ry proved unre­li­able. So I pulled up some online pho­tos for reference.

The 5.5 inch-by‑8 inch paper used is cat­e­go­rized as “mixed-media” rather than “water­col­or” paper. It’s in a spi­ral-bound jour­nal, which is much less intim­i­dat­ing (and less expen­sive) than a big piece of water­col­or paper — espe­cial­ly if you’re new to art-mak­ing or are just play­ing around and hav­ing fun, as I always am.

My crit­ter is framed by blades of grass, which looked blah and indis­tinct until I out­lined them with the pen. I don’t gen­er­al­ly go in for sub­tle­ty, pre­fer­ring the bold graph­ic qual­i­ty out­lin­ing cre­ates. Making this piece was a fun change because I usu­al­ly start with paint rather than pen.

I’m a woman of my word. I’ll keep shar­ing what I’m mak­ing in an effort to illus­trate that we are all cre­ators — and to inspire you to join me. Talent, skills and tech­nique are tru­ly option­al, but may actu­al­ly devel­op as we go along. And if they don’t, who cares? We’re still hav­ing a blast.

Self-expres­sion — in any form — is an incred­i­bly worth­while pur­suit. If art isn’t your thing, make some­thing else: amends, love, a hoagie.

Inspiration is every­where: above us, around us, in our hearts, at our feet. The key is to be open to it, to rec­og­nize it when it appears. And if it shows up in the form of a wooly worm, what­ev­er you do, please don’t step on it.

A note to read­ers: If you’ve been read­ing my con­tri­bu­tions to WinCity News & Views, I thank you very much. It’s an hon­or to join such a pas­sion­ate group. Your time is valu­able, and there’s lots of great stuff to take in on the new website. 

It’s been many, many years since I’ve writ­ten for oth­ers, so I hope you’ll bear with me while I stretch my lit­er­ary legs a bit, try­ing dif­fer­ent things to loosen up the writ­ing mus­cles and see what I can do. As I con­tin­ue to con­tribute to this excit­ing new project, alert read­ers may notice vari­a­tions in length, tone, sub­ject mat­ter, and even qual­i­ty, though I’ll always strive to do my best. There are rea­sons for this, and please feel free to choose the one(s) you find most convincing: 

  1. In life and in art, I believe it’s impor­tant to exper­i­ment, to take risks, to change things up. 
  2. Sometimes, less real­ly is more. 
  3. As a per­son more com­fort­able hold­ing a paint­brush than a key­board, using words to express myself comes more eas­i­ly some days than others. 
  4. And final­ly, truth be told, I’m a slack­er. (But please don’t judge me. As dis­cussed in my last sub­mis­sion, I’ve got mul­ti­ple floors and win­dows to con­tend with.) Thanks again for read­ing… now go make something.

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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.