Leana Fischer of Fayetteville, Arkansas is the designer and illustrator behind May We Fly - a shop made simply to delight. With a background in architecture, Leana designs with a crisp and sophisticated aesthetic, while striving to maintain a sense of playfulness as well. Her illustrations share the little things that resonate with us all; glimpses of beauty, natural rhythms, and every day wonders. Read our chat with Leana below, then view our collection of calendars, prints and cards here.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got into watercolors.
I went to school for architecture and took watercolors as an elective one semester. It was pretty technical with a focus on building renderings, but I fell in love with it. A few years after college I decided to pick it back up again after a move that left me with more time on my hands, and I re-discovered my love for it. Since then, I’ve been practicing a LOT and refining my technique. I think it’s safe to say I’m hooked!
Walk us through your process of creating a new piece.
Every piece begins with a page full of thumbnail sketches to help me work out the composition of the new piece. From there, I’ll go through several test sheets to develop my palette and practice some of the elements I want to paint. Then I begin on the final piece. Often I’ll do several “final” pieces before arriving at the one I’m happy with.
What's the story behind the name May We Fly?
I wish I had a great story to tell about the name, but it honestly just popped into my head one day while I was drawing. I liked the way it made me feel. Since then, I think my business has grown into the name, kind of like how we all grow into our own names. It continues to capture my vision as an artist.
When you're in a creative rut, where do you look for inspiration?
I see beauty in so many places it’s pretty rare for me to be lacking inspiration, but it certainly happens sometimes. Mostly I look out the window or go on walks. When I’m really needing a boost I’ll hop over to Pinterest and look at pretty things for awhile. But yes, my inspiration primarily comes from my own surroundings.
Describe your ideal Sunday.
Awhile back my husband and I decided we needed a day every week to just be, and that day is Sunday. It takes a bit of work throughout the week to truly be able to do nothing, but it’s worth it. So, my ideal Sunday usually begins with some baking, typically bread or muffins. Then I love to sit down and read with my coffee for awhile. After church, the afternoon is really quiet. Sometimes I’ll paint, or chat with a friend on the phone, or go on a walk, or read a book. Every Sunday afternoon I Skype with my grandmother, which is always a treat. On warmer evenings we’ll make a bonfire out back and roast marshmallows. Basically, my ideal Sunday is to just go where the wind takes me and not feel pressured to do any specific thing.
What do you love about living and working in Fayetteville, Arkansas?
Fayetteville is a little gem of a town nestled up in the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas. Never did I dream I would be living in Arkansas, but when we moved here for my husband to begin his PhD program, I quickly realized it was a special place. I love the culture here. It’s very, very supportive of its locals, so artists and small businesses really thrive. It’s also a pretty area, lots of hiking and outdoorsy things. And I love our neighborhood, which is in the historic part of town. One of our favorite things is to just walk around the neighborhood and look at the houses. We can also walk or bike just about anywhere in the downtown area, which is lovely.
Top three spots to check out in your town?
Arsaga’s Depot - the most adorable coffee shop with absolutely delicious food. My favorite brunch/lunch spot.
The Farmer’s Market - from April through November on the downtown square we have a fantastic Farmer’s Market. It’s by far my favorite Saturday activity. Everyone brings their dogs and there’s live music and delicious food. I love it.
Hiking - We have lots of hiking in the area, even within the city limits. But just outside, there are some beautiful places for camping and hiking, like the Buffalo River and Beaver Lake. Definitely a popular activity around here.
If you could do any other occupation, what would it be?
I worked in a number of architectural offices before going off to do my art business. Though I never loved working in an office, I think being a freelance architect, designing small houses and cabins, would be a fun career. I might even pursue it one day and see if I can do it alongside my artwork.
What is your favorite artist in any field, living or dead?
I love the work of Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. He does the most gorgeous drawings and models as part of his design process and I find his work so inspiring. It’s very tactile and the way he uses materials is truly artistic.
What is next?
Well, I just opened up a little studio here in Fayetteville and am looking forward to hosting my own watercolor workshops there soon. I also have tons of ideas for new paintings and am looking forward to getting some of them out of my head. This summer my husband and I are taking a month to go out west for him to do some research and for me to paint pretty mountains.