Artist pulls inspiration from wildlife and found objects
Story and photos by Laura Brookhart
“A friend has called me a ‘wandering generality,’” Lisa Finch admited with a smile.
It’s because Finch enjoys so many forms of artistic expression — from drawing, painting, weaving, sculpting and assembling wall hangings to working with natural materials.
At Auburn, Finch majored in illustration before transferring to UAB and a teaching certification. She taught elementary art at South Shades Crest and started Hueytown Elementary School’s first art program.
“Now, my life here at Rain Feather Farm is a combination of art, music, horses and prayer,” she said. “Within my home, within all that I bring together, the intention is to create an environment.”
Finch, who grew up in Rock Creek, is from Creek and Cherokee ancestry. She has an affinity with birds that she considers natural, given her last name. And, on an almost daily basis, wherever she is, feathers find her.
“So, you will see feathers frequently appearing in my art — occasionally the feathers of eagles — those peaceful and graceful flyers,” Finch says. “I am drawn to turkey vultures, too. A few years ago while living on the Warrior River, I watched them roosting. Turkey vultures are friendly — they invite everyone to the feast. And they always left me feathers.”
All of the natural objects used in her artistic expressions are found pieces. In the largest of her assemblage, “All Creatures of Our God and King,” are feathers from Alaska; grasses, sticks and antlers from Alabama; and turtle shells from Arizona.
On the easel in her studio is a painting of a dove that visited her daily as she was designing the plan for her current home. She calls the painting that evolved “Going Home.”
In her dining room is a Native American regalia with leatherwork crafted by her friend, Rita Bear Gray, and embellished by Finch. On an adjacent wall hangs a drawing of her horse, InCahoots, that she raised from a baby.
“I have always had horses and ridden horses,” she says of this favorite subject to draw.
Today Finch has two horses in her pasture — an old paint named Picasso, and Isaac, her Knabstrupper thoroughbred. She participates in Prayer Rides on Isaac around the state.
“After the tornados swept destruction through Alabama in 2011, a four-horse team of Glory Riders rode from each of the four corners of the state to the cities of Birmingham and to Montgomery to carry the authority and as stewards, pray for forgiveness, repentance and healing,” Finch said.
Finch is affiliated with the Birmingham Prayer Furnace and volunteers at the Foundry Women’s Recovery Program. For more information, email her at email@example.com.