In our continuing series, Why I Rock, we virtually sat down with GoRock.com member, Chrystal, to learn about how she gained the confidence to pick up a paint brush and try painting rocks and what she enjoys when she's not rock painting.
GoRock.com: GoRock is a global community. From what part of the world are you painting rocks?
Chrystal: East Texas, USA
GoRock.com: How did you hear about the kindness rocks movement and get started with rock painting?
Chrystal: I first heard about it on Facebook, when someone mentioned the local kindness rock painting and hiding group on my local neighborhood page. I thought it sounded like a lot of fun, so I requested to join and followed the page for two years before I ever gained enough confidence to paint my own.
GoRock.com: When you're not painting rocks, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
Chrystal: I love to do counted cross stitch, crochet, and I make wreaths.
GoRock.com: Do you have a favorite design you like to paint, or technique you like to use?
Chrystal: I have had absolutely no artistic training in my life. I honestly have no idea of what I'm doing. I just like to paint. I guess I'd have to say that silhouettes are one of my favorite things to paint, with a blended background. To do a blended background on my rocks for sunsets and night skies and such, I pick out colors I want to use and "dot" them vertically down the center of the rock, and then take a 2"-3" brush and run it back and forth horizontally over the line of dots until there's a nice blended look.
GoRock.com: Wow. You have real talent. So glad you stumbled upon rock painting — your designs are inspiring and it's been wonderful reading some of the stories from those who have found your rocks. Your frog rock is one of our favorites. We especially love that the rock finders named him Bogart and will be taking him on adventures.
And, you've been painting your way through our September rock painting challenge. It's been fun seeing the designs you post each day. The colors you use are so vibrant and eye-catching. Thank you for participating!
GoRock.com: Do you have any other tips to share?
Chrystal: These are the best little brushes ever for doing fine line work. They are disposable eyeliner brushes for makeup, but they work perfectly for small, delicate work with acrylics, and you can wash and reuse them several times. So much cheaper than anything else out there I've found!
Also, I use cheap, synthetic brushes. Rocks are hard on brushes, and they have to be replaced often, so I don't see a point in buying expensive ones, when a cheap variety pack will work just fine.
And, I have to say that one of my favorite products is a silicone brush cleaning pad. The handheld one is my favorite!
GoRock.com: Thanks for the tip about the make-up brushes and cleaning pad — can't wait to give those a try!
GoRock.com: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Chrystal: Some of my ideas come from Pinterest, but many ideas come from looking at a blank rock and letting it "tell" me what it wants to be painted. I sometimes Google photos of animals or whatever it is for inspiration. I have also gotten ideas from browsing the completed rocks on GoRock.
GoRock.com: Yes! Forget about going down a rabbit hole of cat videos on YouTube — scrolling painted rocks on GoRock.com sure gets those creatives juices flowing!
GoRock.com: What is one of your favorite rocks on GoRock.com? This can either be based on the design of the rock, the story shared by a rock finder or where it has traveled.
Chrystal: There are a few rocks that I'm especially proud of, but I think the one that has touched me the most was one of a fish that I painted and left outside of a fish restaurant. The person who found it left a note that it was found on the day someone in their life passed away. I found the way they worded it to be especially touching. They didn't say the man died that day. They instead said that he became an organ donor that day. I am glad they found my rock, and I hope it brought them a touch of comfort on a sad day. I liked the words they chose. I feel blessed to know what happened to that rock.
GoRock.com: You paint rocks as a random act of kindness. Has there been a time when you were the recipient of a random act of kindness?
Chrystal: I had someone pay for my meal ahead of me in a drive through once. It was really sweet! It encouraged me to pay for the person behind me.
GoRock.com: What a nice surprise that must have been, and so nice of you to pay it forward. Wonder if you paying it forward started a pay-it-forward chain reaction like this one?!
GoRock.com: Do you have a tip you'd like to share for other rock painters? For example, did you have a painting mishap that you learned from and can pass along a nugget of wisdom to someone just starting out?
Chrystal: I learned that you need to seal your rocks to protect them from the weather, but that not all sealants are created equal. I did quite a bit of research and learned that even some that said "outdoor" were not actually weather proof. (Mod Podge is NOT a sealant)
I use a clear, outdoor spray paint. I learned that if you use permanent marker to write on the back of the rock, you must first paint over the writing with Mod Podge or DecoArt, and then spray. If you don't the spray will cause the marker to run.
GoRock.com: "Mod Podge is NOT a sealant" This should be on a T-shirt!
All kidding aside, that's a great tip. Modge Podge is basically glue. So, it's great for applying labels to your rock, but shouldn't be used as a final sealer — when your rock gets wet, it will just become a gluey mess. We, personally, like the DecoArt Dura Clear gloss varnish. It's brushable, so can be used indoors, and it dries pretty quick and provides a nice shine.
And, good point about mandalas. Those designs tend to look striking because of the very round circles. We like to use medium point and extra fine point Posca paint pens and used this technique when we first gave mandalas a try (we documented our attempt in this dot mandala rock painting tutorial). But, we'd really like to try these dotting tools!
GoRock.com: You've been invited to a rock painting party and they're serving your favorite food. What is it?
Chrystal: I have too many favorite foods, lol! I'll just say Mexican food and cold fresh fruit. Yum!
GoRock.com: If you listen to music while painting, what are you listening to?
Chrystal: I like a little bit of everything. I mostly listen to audio books or have reruns of old TV sitcoms playing in the background.
GoRock.com: Do you have a pet that keeps you company while painting, or comes with you if you're placing your rocks?
Chrystal: I have two rat terriers. One is 15 and the other is 5.
My two-year-old loves to be my rock painting\hiding\finding buddy though.
GoRock.com: Anything else you'd like to share?
Chrystal: I think rock painting is an amazing activity! Not only is it minimal cost to do, it's creative, entertaining, a fun family activity, and spreads kindness. Is there a downside? Lol.
I can't say enough about what rock painting has done for my anxiety and self confidence. Not to mention, the number of friends and acquaintances I've made by doing it, which is pretty incredible for this reclusive introvert! I wish I would have started painting years ago!
GoRock.com: Thank you for being an inspiration for others! And, thank you for being a member of GoRock. You've painted more than 500 rocks with GoRock (which have not only made many rock finders smile, but you should smile knowing your painted rocks have led to donations to charity). YOU ROCK!
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