Artist Highlight: Linda Finch
Linda Finch began painting while attending the University of California in Davis, California as a Biological Sciences major. After graduating, Finch moved to New York City where she continued to take art classes and later moved into children’s book illustration. Finch has illustrated several books with a focus on the educational market. In 2017 she entered the ranks of mature female artists and is now a full-time painter.
Tell us a little about your background as an artist
Professionally, I began as an illustrator of children’s books for the trade and educational markets in 1996. Because I was fully employed with The Nature Conservancy, being an illustrator was actually my “moonlighting” job.
In 2005, I began to “rethink” what I wanted to do artistically. What I really desired was the freedom to paint my own visions and stories without outside direction.
Where are you based now and how would you describe what you do?
I am currently based in South Florida. In 2016, I left my long-time employment with The Nature Conservancy and finally evolved into a full-time painter.
Describe the technical process you use to create your work
My paintings always begin with a written sketch. I keep a journal where I write about what the piece is trying to convey, the mood I envision, the characters involved, etc. I also draw an extremely loose sketch to get an idea of composition.
Working from my written sketch, I then begin the research needed. For example, if a painting includes a spotted eagle ray, I will search for photos of spotted eagle rays as reference. For each painting, I keep an album of referenced photos on my tablet.
From here, I move on to drawing on canvas and then painting. Even though I have created a detailed sketch to work from – things have a way of changing once I begin painting. Sometimes a new figure or animal will make its way in, or something gets deleted altogether. The canvas has a life of its own and the sketch just becomes a guideline to work from.
Why would you describe yourself as an environmental artist? What is the relationship between your work and nature?
I’m not sure that I consider myself exclusively an environmental artist, but my work over the past few years does seem to bend pretty strongly in that direction. I think that this is due in part from my work with The Nature Conservancy, and in part from living in South Florida and experiencing first-hand some of the environmental issues we are up against in this state.
Would you say that your art is purpose-driven? If so, what do you aim to accomplish through your creative expression?
I think my art is often purpose-driven and tries to bring environmental issues like sea level rise and climate change to the foreground. My goal is to reveal these issues in a more subtle way -- much like we humans experience these realities – over years and decades.
What do you hope your art communicates to those who come into contact with it?
First, I hope that beauty is the first thing that attracts viewers to my work – but more importantly, I hope that my art makes viewers want to dive a little deeper and actually explore the message within. The ultimate hope is to have viewers consider the issues that impact us environmentally, socially, and even our own personal well-being.
Which environmental issues and causes are you most passionate about?
I find myself most often talking about climate change and the loss of habitat from development.
Do you have any upcoming projects or exhibitions that you’d like to share with us?
My work will be included in the 27th All Florida Juried Arts Show in Stuart, Florida from September 22 – November 14, 2017.