A Tribute to Artist Colin Lawrence Finn

We were sorry to hear about the death of CL Finn but his son Benjamin Finn has written this obituary for his father and has sent us some wonderful images. We plan to feature more images and a beautiful poem that Ben has written…

CL Finn in front of one of his canvases

Colin Lawrence Finn (1933-2020) was an artist whose work spanned 70 years from his days at art college in Birmingham in the 1950s.

While he worked in art colleges across the country – Birmingham, Coventry, Stourbridge, Oxford, Hull, Liverpool and Maidstone School of Art, where he was head of fine art – he continued to produce his own work.

His early work in the 1960s and 1970s was abstract and he exhibited large-scale works at the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham and the John Moores, Liverpool.

Mountain, exhibited in Liverpool

He returned to painting landscapes in the early 1980s and began a series of paintings based on views of the Kent coast and landscape.

He moved to Pembrokeshire with his wife Yvonne in 1999 and worked full time as a painter and art photographer, exhibiting at the White Lion Street Gallery in Tenby and the Carningli Gallery in Newport. He was inspired by the Pembrokeshire landscape and produced a great variety of paintings. One series, The White Mountain Series, was based on views of Carningli and the Preseli Mountains. He would have liked the connection between the Celtic temple of Stonehenge and the Preselis from where stones for that monument were brought. That fact suggests that Carningli may have been a mountain sacred to the Celtic peoples of that time.


To Colin Finn it represented a sort of ‘mystical mountain’. He often places rows of objects in the foreground which sometimes include a cone and a sphere. These have a symbolic meaning for the artist, as did the shaped white flints that feature in his White Goddess Series. His paintings often include what appear to be mysterious features in the landscape: mounds and earthworks, but also standing stones and other remnants of earlier civilisations of the British Isles.

He had more recently begun a series of marine paintings which set old sailing ships against coastal landscapes. He liked follies and ruined buildings and became interested in pictures of the once ruined but now demolished Hafod House of which he made several paintings.

He was a prolific and tireless painter in whom the desire to paint never waned, even in his last years when he was increasingly hampered by health problems when he remained positive and determined to carry on producing work.

Among his last paintings was a ship sailing towards a patch of light on the sea set against foreboding sea cliffs and a dark sky.

Colin Finn’s works always have a sense of mystery and symbolism.

His son, Benjamin Finn, a well-known stained glass artist, wrote a long poem in memory of his father in which the last stanza of the poem describes this ship which represents the artist’s last voyage toward a mysterious light.

The work has begun of creating an online archive of Colin Finn’s work. It can now be accessed using the link www.colinfinnartist.com and will be added to gradually.

The records of the artist’s work are incomplete, so if anyone owns a picture, the family would be very grateful if you would contact them on the contact form of the Colin Finn Archive and send a picture.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for pembrokeshire.online, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says "Pembrokeshire.online has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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1 Response

  1. Caroline says:

    What fascinating paintings – I had never heard of him before this. Thanks Pembs Online, you are go!