Painter and printmaker Robert Finch has been creating art in Germantown for over 50 years. While he and his wife Sue moved to the Main Line for a period of time, Finch said that it didn’t take them long to find their way back.
“We found that people there were enclosed more,” he said. “They were not as open.”
Upon moving back to Germantown, Finch, 80, said that their neighbors immediately embraced them, and ever since, there have always been people coming in and out of their home. It is this inclusive attitude that Finch said makes the community so alluring for painters.
“I’ve found there’s a great diversity in Germantown,” Finch said. “You get all kinds of people, all kinds of ethnic backgrounds, and that enriches an art perspective. That enriches creativity.”
Finch’s appreciation for his community stems from his own human approach to art. Most of his subject matter focuses on the human form, with portraiture being his greatest passion. Finch said that his mother is who inspired this innate interest in people. When he was just a little boy, Finch said that she would take him to the beach and they would sit under a pavilion to watch people.
“I think that’s what lead me into portraiture,” he said. “I find that I stare at people and I’m interested in people.”
While his mother influenced his creative process, it is obvious that Finch has influenced his own family. His wife and daughters’ pieces are displayed throughout the house, ranging from decorated hubcaps to mosaic furniture and mirrors.
But though there are other works of art displayed, the entire house feels like an intimate exhibition of Finch’s lifelong devotion to his work. His paintings adorn the walls, and Finch said that he’s constantly moving and hanging them in different places.
“It gives me a chance to objectively look at my work,” he said.
His house on Walnut Lane even has a large workshop, and the room presently holds studies Finch has created for a current portrait commission. But though he has a space designed for painting, Finch said that the whole house is actually his studio.
“I’ll set up anywhere and I use the third floor primarily for storage,” he said. “And downstairs in the basement I have a little room where I go to brood.”
Finch said that his art has always been a journey of self-development and it is through it that he has discovered himself.
“If you become an artist, the job is to reach inside your subconscious and find out who you are,” he said. “But you’ll never really know totally. It’s always going to be a little bit of a mystery.”