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Artist communes with family roots

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
‘Ojibwe Thunder’ by Melinda (Mindy) Finlayson. Image submitted

By Chris Marchand

They say that a person’s sense of smell is their closest link to memory. Interestingly, Melinda (Mindy) Finlayson says it just might also be the reason why she prefers oil paints over all others.

“The smell reminds me of my grandpa’s shed where he used to paint,” said Finlayson. “I think that’s what makes me love it, actually.”

For the St. John’s Newfoundland resident and third generation painter, communing with the family obsession keeps her grounded while living thousands of kilometres away from her native Northwestern Ontario.

“I think it’s just something that we’ve all ‘felt’,” she said. “We’ve all had a love for it and we’ve all picked it up on our own. I don’t know if my father, my uncle or my grandfather had ever sat down with each other to learn.”

A relative newcomer to the art form (two years), Finlayson follows her grandfather Alexander, her father Doug and her uncle Reginald into the title of artist, breaking slightly from the Finlayson painters’ traditional focus on landscapes to explore live subjects.

“I just like skin and the way clothing lies,” said Finlayson. “It’s like putting on makeup, it’s so smooth. You can bring life to it. I find landscape painting a bit tedious. I don’t have the patience for it. I like to see things come alive.”

Her burgeoning talent has attracted some recognition in the St. John’s scene, leading to a feature photo in the St. John’s Telegram during a group art exhibition at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre Art Gallery.

Finlayson says she feels there is much left to discover from her instructors before she wanders into trying to make a living from her painting.

“I’ve been doing shows two or three times a year and I’ve recently entered my first contest,” she said. “I would like to get some more schooling before I get myself a website. I’d like to do contract work with portraits.”

Mindy Finlayson is engaged to be married in August. She is the daughter of local residents Lois and Doug Finlayson.

Melinda (Mindy) Finlayson’s ‘The Fly Fisherman’. Image submitted


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