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:
- In life and in art, I believe it’s important to experiment, to take risks, to change things up.
- Sometimes, less really is more.
- As a person more comfortable holding a paintbrush than a keyboard, using words to express myself comes more easily some days than others.
- 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.