Friday, June 30, 2017

Painting on Rocks

I love rocks and have a small collection on my bedside table. I appreciate their natural beauty and marvel at how perfect they are in their raw state. Normally, I don't like to alter natural materials. However, rocks are everywhere and often go unnoticed. So, this summer I decided to see what my art students could do with a rock. I've seen rocks with simple painted or drawn designs that are really beautiful. Cavemen painted on rock and those images not only have great historical significance but are gorgeous in their simplicity. Rocks are another great canvas for children to unleash their creativity. 

Assorted Rocks
On the first day of art class a pile of assorted rocks were waiting for the children on the work table. The rocks were all different. They came in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. I kept my instructions simple. The first step was to pick out a rock and examine the rock very closely. Where would their design fit best? Where was the top of their rock? Where was the bottom of their rock? What type of design would they put on their rock? Quickly the children came up with a variety of design ideas. Some ideas were inspired from books and images I had in the art studio, but many came from their imagination. 

Before the children could begin painting on their rock they were required to draw their designs on paper. This step was necessary in the planning process. In some cases the design was too big or small to fit on the rock and needed to be re-scaled. Or, designs needed a background color before the motifs could be painted. Children discovered that rocks often needed two coats of paint in order to have a completely opaque background. One child decided that a sharpie would work better than paint to execute more detailed work. In many cases the painting process took several classes to complete. The children had to be patient and could not rush through the painting process. After the children completed painting or drawing on their rock they used Mod Podge to seal the art. 

I asked the children what they were going to do with their rock after they took it home. One child said, "I am going to play with my rock" (their rock had been transformed into a cat). Another child said, "I am going to give it to my mom, her name is Mary."  (See the rock with the letter "M" below). The end results were well worth the children's hard work.


Partially Completed 
Completed Rock

Completed Rock