Thriving as an Artist During Tough Times

by guest blogger Linda Finstad

Artist Linda Finstad used coffee to build her art business in the most difficult of times. She found a way to not only turn coffee into cash, but bring a smile and a reason to celebrate every day.


Artist Linda Finstad with her work

Artist Linda Finstad shows a selection of her artwork and books.


At the start of the pandemic I began using coffee instead of paint in my art. The reason for using coffee as paint was partly out of necessity (when everything closed for the every first time I was unable to get my regular art supplies) and partly out of experimentation. However I loved the results and very quickly got hooked on this slightly unorthodox art medium.

My subjects were sassy angels. But not the typical style of angels you would see on Christmas cards. My coffee angels represented everyday people. They had big butts, frizzy hair and even bigger attitudes. They always had an opinion and were not always politically correct.

I shared my angels on Facebook and was surprised at how popular they became. I think this was partly due to their big personalities and the fact that they represent everyday people. The wonderful comments I received encouraged me to continue creating my coffee angels.

I found 365 national holidays (thank you Google). Some you will recognize, such as Christmas and Mother’s Day. Others are a little more obscure, such as Talk Like a Pirate Day and National Popcorn Day. I illustrated each day using my sassy coffee angels to interpret what that special day means and how you might celebrate it. I posted the national holiday along with a sassy angel every single day on both Facebook and Instagram.

This was a ton of work (365 paintings made from coffee) and took months to prepare, but spreading joy through my coffee art made it all worthwhile.


Artist with greeting card display

Finstad sells greeting cards and other items featuring her designs.


So how did this change my art career?

I was flooded with requests for my coffee angels on greeting cards. I know what you’re thinking: there is not much profit in greeting cards and they are a lot of work. To be honest, that was also how I thought initially, but I could not ignore the flood of requests. So I embraced it and made all my angels available as not only greeting cards but prints, and fridge magnets. I also published them in five books, which are available on Amazon.

  • Coffee Time with God
  • Just Not that Kind of Angel 
  • Everyday Angels – national day journal
  • Everyday Angels in Training
  • The Art of being Amazing

By changing my medium and my attitude, my art business has boomed in the most difficult of times  – the pandemic.

Creating 1,000 coffee paintings has been my personal challenge. My goal was to be considered the most prolific coffee artist in the world. I’m not sure if I have a legitimate claim to that title, but I have created a huge inventory of coffee art.

Painting with coffee has been really profitable and it gave my art business a new direction. In the spirit of giving back, I went into senior homes and conducted free Learn to Paint with Coffee workshops to the residents. This was such a blessing for the residents because it was at a time when family and friends were not allowed to visit. However, because I was considered a service provider I was allowed to put on the classes.

Life before Coffee art

Pre-Covid, my medium of choice was acrylic and I created many different collections of paintings in a variety of styles. Like many other artists, I sold my paintings at art fairs and art markets. Every weekend I would pack up my truck and head out to a venue to sell my wares. I had considerable success. This traditional method of selling art allowed me to earn my living as a full-time artist.

But as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. When Covid hit and everything was on lockdown, I needed to find a different way to create art and earn a living. Thanks to a jar of instant coffee and a fat little angel, I was able to not only survive but thrive.

I still use traditional art mediums and paint other subjects, not just angels. If you would like to see my more traditional art feel free to check out my website.

I hope by sharing my story, you are inspired to experiment and think outside the box!


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