What began as a whim soon became a wonder for Washington, DC artist Gary Fisher.

After signing up for a painting course at the Corcoran School of Art in the 1980s, Fisher wanted to do more than just paint for fun. Fisher eventually gave up his legal profession for an early retirement and a life-long pursuit of art.

“I never looked back,” Fisher said.

He described his journey to becoming an artist as “a bit of an accident.” He never imagined becoming an artist, and he continued to practice law for years after taking the painting course and taking an early retirement in 2000.

Fisher was raised in Wyoming and educated in law at the University of Wyoming. Moving to Washington, DC, he served as an environmental enforcement and natural resources attorney with the U.S. Justice Department until 2000 before becoming a court-appointed attorney for child abuse and neglect cases until 2007.

Despite it taking some time after retirement to finally say goodbye to law and order, Fisher says he never never misses practicing law.

He said, “It was always a way to pay the bills and pay the mortgage.”

When approaching his pieces, Gary Fisher focuses on color and shapes.
He works with a variety of mediums, including oil and acrylic paints.

His subjects vary to the point where it’s dizzying. Landscapes, still lifes, nudes, and abstract paintings – where to begin?

On choosing his subjects, Fisher said, “I get bored painting the same thing.”

Does there seem to be a method to his madness? Doesn’t seem so.

“I generally don’t sit and start out saying, ‘What is exactly what I want to put on canvas?’  A lot of it is a process for me and something unattained,” he said.

In his statement, he further states that his paintings never have subtext or hidden meanings. “What you see is what you get.”

Gary Fisher's subjects vary from landscapes to nudes to still lifes and to abstractions.
"I'm constantly changing subject matter," he said.

The most challenging part for Fisher when he finally left law was setting his own schedule and learning how to pace himself without a boss. He described the process of being in the studio away from the group and social settings as lonely.

Painting becomes more than just a solitary activity, though.

In his artist statement, he writes, “When I produce a painting that allows others to see the beauty that I see in the world around me – from the mundane to the profound and complex – I feel a surge of happiness.”

It is not just enough to connect to the canvas, Fisher wishes to connect to the viewer. For him, his biggest joy in life is helping younger artists, finding them in his own communities as well as in after-school programs.

“I like to consider myself a resource to the local community,” he said.

Looking at his career and where he is now, Fisher said, “I see myself as living out the golden years, doing exactly what I want to do.”

Gary Fisher is one of the founding members of Mid City Artists,
a weekend-long event in Washington, DC where artists open their studios to the public.

Fisher is represented by the Philip Morton Gallery in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and Gallery Plan B in Washington, DC. His artwork has been included in the U.S. State Department Art in Embassies Program. His artwork has been exhibited in the Studio Gallery in Washington, DC as well as venues in the mid-Atlantic region, including the Embassy of France, the Wilson Art Center Gallery and much more.

Fisher currently paints in both Washington, DC and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

To see more of Gary Fisher’s works, click here for a Vimeo interview and his website.

About Michelle Goldchain

Michelle is a photojournalist who loves to live life by never sitting still. You can find her in art galleries in Dupont Circle, ethnic restaurants in Adams Morgan and comedy clubs in Arlington. In her spare time, when she's not typing away at a computer screen, she's probably listening to moody electronic music, watching cat videos or doodling.
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