If you’ve tuned in lately you’ll see that I’ve been busy on a new series ‘When Art Meets Chickens’. Despite my wishful thinking I’m not talented when it comes to visual arts, but I am good at collaborating and giving folks who are busy with their craft a little boost.
I’ve noticed Linda, a fellow Canadian, post her artwork on occasion in an online chicken group. I checked out her Facebook page and was impressed by the diversity of her craft: photography, watercolour and acrylic paintings, fine art to more whimsical subject matter, colouring books, note cards, and of course, chickens and lots of them.
I reached out and asked if she’d be interested in sharing her work and happily she didn’t think I was a random stranger making an odd request, but gracefully accepted my invitation. We live over 1200 kilometers apart; it’s doubtful we’ll meet anytime soon, so I sent some questions as a guideline for what folks might be interested in learning about her.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Linda Finstad, a full time artist, author of 27 published books, originally from the north of England but have called Canada home for the past 25 years.
What’s your background?
I have always earned my living in the creative arts, both as a designer or photographer, and for the past 7 years as an artist. If I am totally honest with you that really means I have never had a regular 9 – 5 job and have made up life as I go along. Fortunately my creativity has allowed me to seize opportunities and shift direction when needed.
How has your practice changed over time?
My art practice is continually changing, both in mediums and in subject matter. However the one constant in my art practice is my desire to give the characters I paint a voice and a personality, whether it is cheeky chickens or sassy angels they all have something to say.
Why make art?
I wake up every morning filled with images in my head that just have to be brought to life on canvas. If I could not paint and release them into the world I think I might explode.
What art do you most identify with?
I am not sure if I identify with any particular artist or style. When you look at my art you will quickly realize I don’t feel the need to portray my subjects in true to life colours. The chickens I painted for my book “Chicken Wisdom” are all different colours.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
Hmm… that is a hard question as I love all aspects of being an artist and writer. However I really enjoy art shows and fairs especially when people are around my booth laughing at the antics of my chickens and angels. It brings me great joy that my artistic talents to make people giggle.
I have chatted quite a bit about my angel characters but what makes them so special is that they are painted using coffee instead of paint. At the start of the pandemic, when we were all locked down, I found myself out of some of my colours (I typically use acrylic paint) so I decided to experiment with other materials and tried painting using coffee. The problem with coffee is that it is addictive and I was hooked. Over the last two years I have painted 700 coffee paintings (mostly sassy angels), some of which have featured in five books.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
No one looks at my art and says, “oh that is nice” – you either love it or think it is absolute rubbish, which means my fans are true fans. I get lots of amazing comments about how I brighten their day each and every day.
I post an angel on social media every single day – it is a commitment I made to myself to research what special national day it was and illustrate it with my sassy angels. The goal was to give the viewer a morning giggle and also a reason to celebrate.
What is your dream project?
I’m actually working on my dream project at the moment called the Art of Being Amazing. I think the world needs reminding of how to be amazing after we have all been held back and restricted for so long. The book is illustrated throughout with 100 angels and will be ready to launch within the next few days.
The dream was to use art to inspire and uplift in a very tangible down-to-earth way.
What are your artistic goals?
This is a strange kind of goal but I want my chickens to travel the world. Allow me to explain. I painted 100 chickens to feature in my book Chicken Wisdom and it was such a huge hit that I was asked to do more. So I painted another 100 for the sequel “More Chicken Wisdom.”
I sold a few of those original paintings but there was still a stack of them in my studio. I decided to do something that most artists never do and that was to give them away to people who were planning a trip abroad on the condition they would take and share pictures of themselves with their chicken companion so I could live vicariously through them. I was amazed at how popular this idea was and my crazy chickens will be heading off around the globe this summer on adventures. The participants in “The Great Escape” will get to keep the original painting.
What is you earliest memory of chickens?
Growing up in England I had ponies and there were always chickens trotting around the farm where I kept my pony. They would very often roost in the stable and leave me eggs. The pony did not mind sharing his stable with a few feathered friends.
Do you have chickens now?
No, I live in the city but I do take my art and display it at several chicken shows. They are lots of fun and make a change from traditional art walks and fairs.
How have they influenced your work?
I love painting chickens and just like potato chips it is impossible to have (or paint) just one. Chickens are amazing: there are so many different breeds all with very distinct styles and personalities. I get most of my inspiration from chicken shows, and ideas for characters come from both the chickens and their keepers.
Many thanks to Linda Finstad for sharing her story and artwork, used with permission. You can check out more of her art at www.FamousCoffeeArtist.com
If you are an artist, crafter or writer – hobbyist or professional – that incorporates chickens into your work and would like to share it on Bitchin’ Chickens feel free to drop me a line by using the ‘contact’ button on my home page.