Monday Musings #3 ROCK ON!

Rock painting is a fun way to be creative and spread cheer in your community.

About five years ago I joined with thousands of others in a phenomenon called Rock Paining. According to Wikipedia, the trend of paining rocks and leaving them for others to find began with one woman, Megan Murphy of Cape Cod, who painted a rock with the inspiration, YOU’VE GOT THIS. That rock was found and so well received that Megan began painting others and word soon spread.

Rock Painting by Julie Smith

The trend went viral and became what is known as, The Kindness Project. Painting rocks with friendly, inspirational sayings and leaving them hidden (in plain sight) for others to find has led to the formation of hundreds of rock paining groups. Each group may have its own set of regulations, but the mission remains the same, to spread kindness and positivity.

The goal is to leave well intended rocks with your groups contact information on the back along with instructions to post your find on that sites web page (most often Facebook) and then to re-hide the rock for others to find and enjoy. And so it goes.

There are many books, videos, and even classes available to help novice rock painters get started. As for myself, I have bought a few idea books, purchased suggested products, and have even bought the perfect round rocks that are so great for painting words on. However, I find that I get the greatest joy from hunting for my own rocks. Often, I can handle a rock and see an image emerge thereby determining what direction the paining will go.

Most often I leave my painted rocks in parks, but it is important to mention that you should be responsible and check each locations rock policy, as many state and national parks now restrict the leaving of painted rocks on their grounds. I have also distributed my rocks (with permission) at schools, hospitals, nursing/rehab homes, youth centers, senior living facilities, as well as local businesses. In addition, it has now become the standard to ensure that rocks are painted with non-toxic, environmentally friendly materials, so be mindful of what you use.

I enjoy taking at least 1 rock to leave behind when I’m on vacation, and I have had rocks re-posted from as far away as Cancun, Mexico.

Rock painted by Julie Smith, left in Cancun, Mexico

But my favorite story is the saga of “Old Henry.” I painted a rock that was supposed to be E.T. and I hid him in the 800 acre park near my home. He was soon found, and re-posted on my local rock site with the legend, “I found this guy and have dubbed him ‘OLD HENRY,’ and I am thrilled to have him accompanying me on my travels.” Soon daily photos were posted of ‘Old Henry’ at some of the greatest travel destinations that the U.S. Offers: Old Henry at Old Faithful in Yellowstone, Old Henry at Disney, Old Henry at Niagara Falls.

E.T. (Old Henry) original rock painting by Julie Smith

This continued for weeks until one final post appeared stating, “Well, Old Henry has finally made it HOME!” An accompanying photo showed my rock sitting at a table with a bottle of wine overlooking the city of Chicago. The author continued, “I think Old Henry will be quite comfortable on my mantel, and what stories he has to tell!” The second photo showing my rock perched atop a fireplace mantel in a clearly GORGEOUS modern penthouse. It was then that I realized that ‘Old Henry’ had better living arrangements than me! I jest, but really, he does!

So, I encourage you to try rock painting for yourself. It’s creative, enriching and satisfying. It will bless your life as well as those around you. And who knows, you might even get to live vicariously through one of your creations.