AUGUST 2020 THE RIDER /29 Meet Linda Finstad: artist, author, educator and horse lover

By Glenda Fordham. Originally the official pho-

tographer for Alberta’s top horse shows, Linda Finstad changed lanes after many years walking around the show rings and stalls to launch a success artistic career, eventually adding book author and inspirational speaker to her skills set. The Rider recently spoke with Linda about her cre- ative inspirations and her passion for helping other people find their own “special place” in life.

The Rider: Linda, what inspired your evolution from show pho- tographer to artist and author? Linda: A couple of things really - being the show photographer had afforded me a really good in- come for many years but I started to notice a shift in the industry - people who once were eager to collect memories in the form of horse show photos, now just wanted a quick snapshot to post on Facebook and they were happy with cell phone photos for that purpose. Plus, after many

years of working long days in all weather, I felt I wanted to slow down a little and pursue my art.

The Rider: Your artwork takes on very special meanings for many of your buyers, especially horse-lovers; how did you create Prism-Equus paintings? Linda: Horses have always been my first love so when I started painting it only made sense to

paint horses. However, I wanted to paint not just the outside of the horse - I wanted to paint his per- sonality. So using shapes and colours, I developed a very dis- tinct style which I call “Prism- Equus” - it means equine personality depicted in colour.

The Rider: Your spiritually in- spired Angels with Attitude are created with a very unique

“paint” – coffee! How did you come up with the idea and what inspired the sassy angels in your pictures? Linda: During the Covid-19 lock-down, I still wanted to paint but had run out of some of my colours and with the art store being closed I decided to use what I had on hand - in- stant coffee! I was sur- prised at how well it converted to paint and produced a really nice sepia effect. The everyday angels were also a result of the pandemic. I painted an angel every day and added words to express how I was feeling. Some days I felt angry, others sad so I used these every-

day angels as a kind of art ther- apy to make sense of the roller coaster of emotions I was feeling. I chose humour to express the somewhat uncomfortable emo- tions. I posted my angels on Facebook every day and was blown away at how popular they were - it became clear that others shared my mixed emotions at this time and enjoyed the humour. I put many of the angels in a book Just Not That Kind of Angel which is selling very well.

The Rider: You’ve also started writing & illustrating books for youngsters – we love Shorty the Shetland Pony and the follow-up Katie Goes to Camp. The books have several colouring pages for the kids (or adults!!), and are per- fect for bedtime reading. Did the stories come easily, or do you have children and horses in your life who inspired the books? Linda: Shortie the Shetland Pony was a fun book to write and illustrate; initially I was asked to write this book for an equine lit- eracy program at a local riding school. The kids would read the book to the horses then the colouring pages added an art component. The children would also groom the horse and have a short ride.

The Rider: You recently au- thored The Purpose-driven List and also guide people during workshops on how to re-invent their lives; this must be difficult during Covid isolation, but tell us how you help people find their own purpose in life. Linda: The Purpose Driven List is something I‘ve used several times in my life when I found myself at a rossroads and needed

to re-invent myself. The book is a guided journal that walks you through the process of discover- ing your passion and purpose. It addresses some of the things that hold you back and prevent you from achieving your full poten- tial. It’s not a bucket list nor a to do list, instead it’s a formula that you can approach like an experi- ment - you set the time frame and the parameters and evaluate the results. It really works.

Linda also recently authored a great book for horse owners of all levels: How to De-code Equine Body Language that gives owners and riders great in- sight into their horse’s thoughts and feelings. All of Linda’s artwork and

books are available from her website:

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