GoRock.com artist profile | Nyle S.

In our continuing series, Why I Rock, we virtually sat down with GoRock.com member, Nyle, to learn about how she stumbled upon rock painting, her very interesting hobby when she's not painting and the designs she's best known for on our site (she even shares a tutorial!)

GoRock.com: GoRock is a global community. From what part of the world are you painting rocks?

Nyle: Originally from Nelson, New Zealand but my husband and I decided to sell up and relocate, so now I live on the Gold Coast in Australia. It's paradise and I love it here.

GoRock.com: How did you hear about the kindness rocks movement and get started with rock painting?

Nyle: Two years ago while I was visiting my home town (Blenheim, New Zealand) and went for a walk up into the hills with my friend and her children. One of the kids found a painted rock and came running back to show us that he had found a magic rock. My friend knew of this game and so we all started looking out for rocks and lucky thing we all found one, so we re-hid them during our walk.  I took a photo and shared it to the Facebook group (I almost didn't as I didn't really want to join a fb group that I was probably not going to use again). I also showed my mum and encouraged her to take up a hobby. Now she has joined GoRock and hides rocks in Picton, New Zealand. I often post over rocks so she can hide mine when ever cruise ships are in port.

Some of the first painted rocks Nyle found, which have inspired her to paint her own

When I returned home to the Gold Coast, I decided I would try this rock painting craze and bought a bag of rocks and some cheap paint.  I joined the Qld Rocks site but hardly any rocks got posted. That was a little disheartening, but I reminded myself that it's all about the act of kindness and I got such a kick out of hiding them and painting them too. In November 2018, I stumbled on to the GoRock site after doing a Google search for tracking apps. Now 1,000+ rocks later......here I am, still sharing my little sparkle around the world and recruiting as many rock painters as I can.

GoRock.com: What a great story! And, you bring up something we hear from many rock painters, that they like being able to share that they've found someone's rock, but don't necessarily want to have to join a bunch of groups just to post they've found a rock. We took this into account when creating GoRock, and recognized not everyone uses social media. With GoRock.com being a website that can be easily accessed by phone, tablet or desktop computer, it makes it super easy for anyone who finds one of our members' rocks to not only check in and say they've found it, but to share a photo and story about their experience finding it.


GoRock.com: When you're not painting rocks, what other hobbies do you enjoy?

Nyle: I am a competitive Masters Racewalker.  So if I am not painting rocks, I am out walking long kilometres training for my next big race.  My best accomplishment was 8 years ago in Sacramento USA where I won Gold in my 3 races — 5km, 10km & 20 km. So, for two years I was a triple world champion. I am currently training for the World Masters Athletics 2020 in Toronto. I am hoping to get on the podium again 😊

Competitive Masters racewalker, Nyle Sunderland, spends her free time painting rocks and following their journey on GoRock.com to see where they spread kindness.

GoRock.com: Wow! That's so interesting. Best of luck with your training!

[Editor's note] Naturally, we wanted to learn more about Master Racewalking, so we searched online to learn more about this sport. Fascinating! And, all you need to start is a pair of walking shoes. Way to go, Nyle!


GoRock.com: Do you have a favorite design you like to paint, or technique you like to use?

Nyle: Minions and sunset silhouettes. I am most known for my Minions, I am Minion mad LOL, so I love to add holiday events to the Minions too.  I just love being creative and playing around with colours. I have just started drawing more child oriented drawings ⁠— like cartoon animals and monsters. But I always have a batch of Minions at the ready.

GoRock.com member Nyle Sunderland paints minion rocks
GoRock.com member Nyle Sunderland paints silhouette rocks

GoRock.com: We just love seeing your Minions. You're so creative with the way you incorporate holidays and different messages into your Minion designs. And, you were kind enough to share a tutorial for how to paint Minions. Thank you!

[Editor's note] These were painted using Posca fine tip paint pens. We absolutely love these pens for drawing on rocks and for outlining and detail work. And, if you haven't seen the Despicable Me movies yet, check them out — they're a hoot!

how to paint a minion
how to paint a minion

GoRock.com: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

Nyle: I adore Minions and they were so easy to draw so I just went nuts with them. Mostly, I think up things to draw but If I can't think of anything, I will check Pinterest and use the design as a base for something to draw.

GoRock.com: What's 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.

Nyle: This is a hard one. I have a couple of favourite rocks — ALL my Minions. LOL Way too many to link, but one of them was left at 3000ft in Flagstaff by the current Com Games gold medalist Walker — Dane Bird Smith.

Krishna is one of my most special rocks as it is in memory of my mums beautiful cat that I grew up with.  I don't think I will part with this one....it's too special.

My favorite travelling rock is Bluesy 4 eyed monster. This is travelling around Russia and I love the updates each day and the interesting facts that this person is putting on.  This is one of the rare and awesome finds that I guess most of us rock hiders hope for.

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?

Nyle: Yes, I have been. It's an odd little story — still makes me smile.  About 10 years ago while I was out doing grocery shopping, I vaguely remember walking into the supermarket at the same time as a rough, scruffy looking guy was. I opened the door and held it open for him (he was behind me so I just waited a moment for him to reach the door). He thanked me and I gave him a big smile and said you are very welcome. Then I just carried on about my grocery shopping. When I was loading my groceries into my car, the same guy walked up to me and handed me a large sunflower he had brought while doing his shopping. He said to me, "Like this sunflower, you brighten people's day with your smile. I have watched you today smiling at everyone but what you don't see is their reaction as you walk past them. Your smile is infectious and I watched so many people light up and smile."

I was rather taken back and tried to refuse the flower and said to him that I always smile at people — it's who I am.  He then said that he has never had someone wait and hold the door for him, nor someone smile so warmly at him before. Then, he just turned and left. I was rather speechless but very touched and it still makes me smile today.  It was a really special moment. 😊
GoRock.com: What a beautiful story. So true — a simple smile can make all the difference.


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?

Nyle: Never paint on shiny or waxy stones. Even if you try to seal them.....the paint slides off. I think my first 400 rocks have all disappeared due to the codes and the pictures rubbing off. I now use actual rocks and a good quality base paint called Grip Lock. It sticks to ANYTHING and I prefer to use Posca Pens for drawing. I acrylic paints for my sunset back grounds using a brush and 3 different colours to blend.

GoRock.com:  Ahh. We know exactly what you mean about the paint just sliding off those stones. Those stones can be used, but they do take some prep. We offer some tips for using craft store rocks for painting in hopes this helps others avoid that same blunder!

GoRock.com: You've been invited to a rock painting party and they're serving your favourite food. What is it?

Nyle: Sushi — I love salmon and avocado sushi. Ohhhhh yeah...and chocolate, of course!!! Who doesn't like chocolate!? lol

GoRock.com: If you listen to music while painting, what are you listening to?

Nyle: Usually, I just have the current top 20 playing. But, I love the 80s music (Bowie, Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Pink and Kaleo are my main go-to artists).

GoRock.com: Do you have a pet that keeps you company while painting, or comes with you if you're placing your rocks?

Nyle: I miss having pets. We live in an apartment and work long hours, so don't think it would be fair to have a pet. But, we sure do miss having one.

We had two beautiful dogs in New Zealand. Casey was a boxer/lab and Trixie was a Jack Russell. They were like our children and very spoiled.

GoRock.com: Anything else you'd like to share?

Nyle: I love to encourage people to be the best they can be. It never has to be a huge gesture, a simple smile is enough. In this world where you can be anything........ be kind.

GoRock.com: Thank you for being an inspiration for others! We're so happy you stumbled across GoRock.com and we enjoy seeing where your creations travel and spread kindness. YOU ROCK!

Want to share your story and be a featured artist?

Inspire others and share your story about how you got started painting rocks. Contact us to share your rock painting story! Include in the message that you'd like to share you're story and we'll get back to you with more details.


4 thoughts on “GoRock.com artist profile | Nyle S.”

  1. Pingback: September rock painting challenge | 30 ideas - GoRock.com painted rocks

  2. Love the minions, i think ill start doing some. Also, are Posca pens only in Amazon? And the dot tools are also in Amazon, or is there someplace else where i could find it, Muchaels and AC Moore dont carry them also, oh i forgot iam from New England.

    1. The minions are so fun, right!? Posca pens aren’t only on Amazon. However, we’ve had a tough time finding them local in craft stores like Michaels. Some specialty art stores in our area (midwest US) do carry them, but for $3-$5 per pen. JoAnn’s is starting to carry them, but again, for a few dollars per pen (though, think they allow the use of their coupons, so that helps!) We’ve found that the price on Amazon is best if you’re looking to purchase an entire set.

      We have heard from some members that they have found dotting tools at Walmart and beauty supply stores (these tools are popular for doing manicure nail art).

      Hope this helps. Happy painting!

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