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I love rocks. Rocks rock. Rocks roll. Rocks knock my socks off!

Okay, let me explain. My husband and I took up an exciting new hobby a couple of years ago, we became amateur rock hounds. If you are not familiar with this activity it may sound strange but we found a way to create new adventures! What? No plans this weekend? Need a way to explore your surroundings? Go Rock Hounding!

We have traveled all over our area to beautiful places we may never have had the opportunity to visit. I catch myself scouring every path and riverbed for mother natures perfectly created treasures. I have found exquisite agates, opals, petrified wood, geodes, fossils and any number of strange pieces of flotsam and jetsam.

I come home from these excursions with multiple Ziploc bags overflowing with new objects of inspiration. After careful sorting, cleaning, slicing, and polishing I begin to see new paintings in the natural flow of color and texture. Have you seen an agate with high gloss polish exposing every vein of natures pigment bringing it to life with every angle? How about a slice of thunder egg with agatized history and crystalized time painting a story of generations in the earth?

These are the inspirations behind my “Sticks & Stones” series of paintings. With the very first surge of inspiration, I was hooked! I had been browsing Pinterest one evening (I’m addicted, but that’s another story) and in my feed was a gorgeous stone… I went to the site, zoomed in on the photo, and was transfixed. There it was. I couldn’t get those lines and colors out of my mind! I thought about it all night long. Orange, Red, streaks of Black, flecks of White. Right there in this stone was something I had to find a way to recreate. I had to get it out of my system or I would never sleep again!

I cleared my current projects from my workspace and pondered just how to begin. What medium could bring this pattern in my soul to life? Would I use a board? Canvas? Paper? That’s it! I pulled out my Dr. Ph. Martin’s Radiant Watercolors got to work. I scribbled and scratched, painted and poured for about 9 hours straight. I worked right through the night to finish this intricate beauty. And it was.

I was so pleased with the results that I started another. And another. And soon I was able to fill the Springfield City Hall Gallery. Elation! I did it! The sense of euphoria and accomplishment was astounding.

So we purchased a few rock hounding guide books for our surrounding areas (I highly recommend these) and were off exploring and treasure hunting. We’ve met some fantastic people on our travels of inspiration and have picked up nature’s forgotten treasures along the way.

I think sometimes when I find a stone about its age and journey, the moments in history that may have happened around it along the way before I was drawn to pick it up… Has anyone else in the world spent the time to stop and look closely at this diminutive piece of the earth’s history? When did its formation begin? Am I the first to hold it in my hands and marvel at the colors and patterns of time?

Maybe rock hounding isn’t quite your thing. Maybe it is but you don’t paint rocks. That’s okay. Just please promise me that when you find yourself outdoors enjoying nature’s majesty that you will remember to look down. Who knows, you could find a little treasure for yourself.


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