Sheila Finch's art became an addiction for me from the first time I visited her studio with a friend.  Over several years, I have filled my small home with her paintings.  So, it should be no surprise that when the president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching at Stanford asked me to select art for the very large Forum space, which is essentially the Foundation's "living room", I knew whose paintings I wanted.  I even had an idea of a particular painting that I hoped was still available.

It wasn't easy acquiring the paintings for the Foundation at that time.  The gallery that represented Sheila in Palo Alto had closed and she no longer had a studio, having moved with her husband to life on a sailboat.  She had also badly broken her leg and was not painting during this time.  But I did track her down and found she was storing art at another artist's studio outside of Sacramento.  She sent photos of some of the paintings and I was immediately ready for a road trip.  We rented a van and made the trek.  I had intended and was instructed to purchase one large painting for the Foundation;  I came back with two.

Carnegie Golden Sunset

It was an easy sell to convince Carnegie to buy them both. Sheila paints from and is inspired by the Bay Area, but her paintings have universal appeal. There is passion and emotion in her landscapes and scenes of the sea. Her compelling and extravagant use of color and sweeping brush stokes draw you in and it is impossible to take this art for granted. With every “visit” there is something new to discover, the way the light at different times of day reveals the underside of a wave or a cloud or the way the Bay grasses change color as the sun moves through the sky.

The paintings brought new life to the Foundation’s most public space and are admired by staff and visitors alike.

Carnegie Purple Trees


Gay M. Clyburn, Associate Vice President 

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching




Sheila, One of your amazing paintings hangs in my living room. The painting is of a meadow with a tree in the foreground and a path towards more trees.  I discovered your work a few years ago. Serendipitously, I walked into a gallery in downtown Palo Alto which was closing. Enchanted by your painting, I stopped by numerous times to spend time gazing at it - transported into a different, beautiful world. My desire to own it grew.  A day later I pulled my husband into the gallery and he agreed with me: the painting's masterful composition and tones were unlike any art outside a museum. We talked about the painting that evening and knowing how much I wanted it, he purchased it for me.  The painting was placed in our living room on an uncluttered wall. One of my favorite pastimes since I retired is to sit and look into the painting, which still holds its power over me after many years. The profuse colors change with the light from the living room windows pulling different emotional tones from the painting, a fascinating process, but the painting's colors and composition always create a sense of peace and calmness. 

Your new paintings of the sky and clouds are beautiful and remind me of Boudin's paintings and create more depth and interest than Monet's work. I hope some time in the future to purchase another "Sheila Finch". 

Thank you, Sheila. Your work has enriched my and my patients' lives. 

A. W., Ph.D.