By Heather Blair / OC Monitor Community Contributor
Last summer’s trend got adults and kids alike excited about exploring the outdoors, specifically at playgrounds and parks. Instead of swinging or walking trails, one might find them looking down and hunting under or through the equipment. Once found, the recipient might proudly hold up their discovery, rehide it, or replace it with one of their own.
Think Easter egg excitement every day of the week.
To the unknown observer, this might have seemed a strange viewing. Especially since the treasure was a rock.
Joining in on the rock hunting movement last year brought me more joy in painting and hiding than I expected. I’ve always loved to paint but had gotten out of the habit or practice of doing it. Using rocks as tiny canvases got my creative juices flowing and has become a favorite pastime.
Some of my favorite creations have been the tiny people, cottages and miniature foods. Later, part of the thrill came in searching out unpainted rocks and envisioning what they would become. Like a little boy after a day of play, it’s not unusual to see me come home with my pockets full of dirty rocks.
Part of the way into my hobby, I discovered a local Facebook page, Ohio County Ky Rocks, where families could post when and where they hid rocks. Even more of a delight, parents shared pictures of their kids beaming from their find after a hunt.
Later in the summer, the OC Art Guild began hosting rock parties as part of The Kindness Project, whose mission is: “One message, at just the right moment can change someone’s entire day, outlook, life.”
In this movement, painted rocks sometimes have simply one positive word and are placed throughout the community hoping to inspire or uplift someone when they come across it. Those who find it can take it home or leave it for another to find and enjoy.
In contacting the Ohio County Art Guild, they didn’t have any upcoming workshops planned; however, if someone was interested they suggested one could contact them about the possibility in the future.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, rock painting can be an easy outlet for reducing stress or starting a new hobby. Several of my nieces and nephews chose rock painting for their birthday party theme last summer.
You’ll need rocks, acrylic paint/brushes and clear sealant. If you hunt for your rocks, scrub them clean and dry in the sun or the oven. Rocks can also be purchased online, at a gravel/landscape business or craft store.
Ideally, the best size is smaller than the palm of your hand and needs at least one smooth side. Painting a base coat is helpful, whether you are going to write a word or quote in Sharpie or something more difficult. When complete and dry, spray with a sealer to prevent chipping in the weather.
Get out there and enjoy the beautiful parks and landscapes Ohio county has to offer and pick up a rock or two to create something beautiful for others to enjoy!
(Editor’s note: Readers can also check out our story about OC Rocks, a project started by the Ohio County Artist Guild.)
Heather Blair is an Ohio County native, residing in Beaver Dam with her husband, Tim, and son, Noah. She is a Family Support Worker for the HANDS program, through the Green River District Health Department. Through HANDS, she helps families build healthy, safe environments to boost growth and development for their children. She is active in her church, enjoys rock painting, photography, fishing and exploring with her husband. Heather has a passion for writing and sharing about faith, family, and finding joy in every day.