How Painting Rocks Can Make You Happy

capital letters in gold spelling out the word create

In elementary school,

my teacher gave us a sheet with assignments, and large squares next to them to check off as we completed each item.cartoon image of a ladybug in flight  I thought the check mark looked kind of bland.  As I finished each task, I drew a ladybug, butterfly or other cute little creature to show I completed that item.  My teacher commented that she liked my little creative embellishments.cartoon image of a ladybug with 4 black dots on its back

We had a large and prolific walnut tree 

in front of my childhood home, and one day I decided to take the perfectly split walnut shells and paint them.  I made ladybugs out of them, and glued little wiggly eyeballs on them.

During a family garage sale, I sold them

painted walnut shells to look like ladybugsto a lady who absolutely loved them.  I am glad at the last minute I pulled two of them out of the sale.  To this day I still have them sitting proudly in my living room.

I was always involved in some form with the creative arts in my youth.  I took piano and dance classes which required recitals to show off what we’d learned.  We did productions in school.  While not Broadway worthy, they were pretty decent school plays.  I participated in a couple of talent shows in elementary school, and got great feedback from my competitors!

My Bachelor’s degree is in Theater Arts.

silver studded tiara with pink gemstonesYes, I am a degreed drama queen!  I started taking acting lessons around the age of 18.  I stopped when I transferred to UC Irvine, and started back up again a year after graduation.

When I got married, I stopped taking the class.  We had recently bought a home. My business had slowed down with the economy grinding to a halt. There was no extra time or money for me to continue with my acting lessons.

20 years later, 

I decided it was time to start the acting classes again.  Incredibly, the same instructor was back in the area again, teaching classes.  That was in 2009, and I have been enrolled in that actor’s workshop to this day.

I consider the time I spent away from doing the creative things I love, my own personal dark ages.  I felt like a robot, going to work every day, and not getting ahead.  Despite the fact that I love my day job as an Electrologist, it affords me minimal creativity.  It was not enough.

A picture of rocks painted to look like strawberries, 

box of strawberries painted rocks for home decor or your gardentriggered an urge in me to tap back into my creative side.  I walked around my yard in search of rocks to paint, and bought a sample size jar of red, yellow and green paint.

I painted my rocks, and with humble pride, I will say my rocks were way better than the picture I saw.  There was, however, a lack of great rocks in my yard. 

I went to a local rockery, and literally sat in a giant rock pit, 

hand selecting each stone.  I carefully selected rocks that were already shaped like something I could paint. I had to select smooth rocks so the paint wouldn’t bubble up out of the tiny holes of porous stones.  It was a hot day, and I was in the rock pit for two hours.

My clothes were so filthy when I finished I didn’t even want to get in my own car.  I looked like a chimney sweep. When I got home I washed the rocks, (and myself) then sorted them based on what I was going to create.

rows of rocks to be future painted rocks

Some rocks became strawberries, while others became ladybugs.

I have a kitchen table with a bowl of giant M&M rocks.  I even bought a bag of M&M’s so I could get the colors mixed to an exact match.  I’ve never considered myself an artist. I’ve not been able to draw pictures of people, or bowls of fruit.  I can, however, paint on rocks, and they are pretty darn cute.bowl of personalized painted rocks to look like giant candy.

I thought I could start selling my rocks. The plan was to isolate the proceeds to go towards paying down my second mortgage.  Startup costs for this endeavor were minimal.

I’m very careful while painting, which makes producing a single rock a time consuming process.  If I don’t count the time it takes for me to paint a rock from start to finish, the profits are great.

If I do include my time… I suspect there are children abroad assembling knock off purses in a factory who are making more money than I am.  There was one noticeable and unexpected consequence during my rock painting hobby/business: I was in a great mood.  I don’t have chronic depression, but I do get periodic outbreaks that range from low level to fairly intense. 

When I am creative, I am not depressed.

The more creative I get, the more euphoric I feel.  I can see why arts and crafts are encouraged with the elderly.  It can have a profoundly positive effect.

colorful birdhouse for the gardenSince I’ve acquired a large collection of little paint jars, I am painting more than rocks.  My boyfriend brought me a birdhouse someone made for him.  It was natural wood, and looked bland.

My yard is large, but not landscaped. I have trees and wood chips, so there are no colors other than brown and green. Hanging a wooden birdhouse from a tree would have made it disappear.

Popsicle sticks were glued together to make a picket fence and I painted it yellow.  I painted the birdhouse a combination of lilac and hot pink. A coat of varnish was slapped on it for protection, and I hung it from a tree.

I think it may be too obnoxious for the birds to use,

but I love it.  I enjoy looking out into my otherwise bland yard, and seeing the pop of color.  I also am happy that I took something I didn’t really like, and turned it into something I love.

California experiences long periods of drought, and short periods of sufficient rain. The last drought brought on the mantra of “brown is the new green”.  We were told not to water lawns to conserve water.  I don’t have a lawn since I’m on a hillside, but I want more color in my yard.

strawberry planter pot with painted strawberry rocks My painted strawberries are in a strawberry pot on my front porch. It is cute and colorful, and requires no water, and no maintenance.  I plan on painting flowers on rocks and placing them in bunches around my property.

Painted rocks also live in my home. I have a tiny bench where my larger ladybugs gather.  I smile every time I walk by them. When I tell people I paint rocks, they look at me like I’m crazy.  When I show them the rocks, their attitude completely changes.

My advice for everyone is to tap into your creative side.

If you think you’re not creative, try to remember things you enjoyed in your childhood.  See if you’d enjoy it in your adult life.  Even working on a jigsaw puzzle can make you feel better.

My second piece of advice would be to head over to my rock shop and view my little rock family.  They are living at: Boutique ShopLarge ladybug painted rock with green wiggly eyes

You may want to pick up a few to brighten your home, yard, or your day! They also make great gifts for the person who has everything!

What creative things do you enjoy doing?  What have you made that brings you joy?  Let me know on my Facebook page at Elaine’s Lane.

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You never know what an ordinary rock can become around here. 🙂

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