David Finnell



David Finnell - Plein Air Richmond

In the late 1980s, David began taking watercolor classes at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia. Since then, he has taken workshops with watercolorists Tom Lynch, Tony Van Hasselt, Frank Webb, Judi Wagner, Ron Ranson, Marilynne Bradley, and Lee Heinsen-Ligocki.

David enjoys the challenge, fun, and camaraderie of plein air painting. As one of 30 national artists juried into Plein Air Richmond 2017, David won an honorable mention and the Nita Enoch Interiors Award for his painting “Ambling in the Alley.”   In 2016, 2014, and 2013, David was a juried artist in Easels in Frederick in Frederick, Maryland.  In Easel’s quick-draw competition in 2015, David took first place honors in the non-juried category. 

David has also participated in plein air events in Alameda, California; Cumberland, Maryland; Falls Church, Virginia; and Lexington, Virginia.  In August, he will take place in the Floyd (Virginia) Plein Air Festival.

David’s work appears regularly in regional art shows, including Waterford, Virginia, where his painting “Meandering down Main Street,” took both Best Watercolor and Best Waterford Scene in 2014.

David has also participated in plein air events in Alameda, California, and in Floyd, Virginia.  

In March 2018, he painted at the 5th annual Lighthouse Plein Air Festival in Jupiter, Florida, and won honorable mention in the Quick Draw there.  This September, David will participate in the juried Mountain Maryland plein air event in Cumberland, Maryland.

David retired last year from teaching English at Sherando High School in Stephens City.  He and his wife have moved to Charlottesville, Virginia.


Artist’s Statement

I am Grandma Moses without the fame. At a late age, I picked up a brush for the first time, wanting to try something new and eager to develop my artistic eye. Drawn to watercolor’s exquisite freshness and at times maddening unpredictability, I spent the next twenty-five years learning my craft.  My watercolors explore in a loose, impressionistic manner the happy collisions between the natural and the man-made – the dilapidated gray barn sinking into the dry weeds, the precision of a red-brick wall against the riot of wisteria, great billowing clouds over hard, thin rooflines. More so now, I paint outdoors.  There’s nothing quite as thrilling of being there with a palette, an easel, a mop brush, and blank paper. Grandma Moses once famously said, “If I hadn’t started painting, I would have raised chickens.” I don’t care for chickens.