Three Halloweens Later
Halloween is just around the corner which means it’s time to share these fun rocks I created for my son’s PreK class three years ago. The kids thought they were fun and the parents loved them. I’ll give you the step by step guide on how to create these easy; spooky; and uniquely collectible little rocks as well as my two cents on why you should totally give this a try…
To start you’re going to want a few smooth, clean and dry stones (the smoother they are, the better the result); for this project, a white or light gray rock will work best. You will need white, red, black, and yellow paint as well as some brushes; a palette for mixing paint (paper plates work fine); some brushes; a cup of water to rinse your brushes; and finally a sealant (like mod podge or polyurethane) for protecting your art.
After you have applied your paint to your palette, mix equal parts red and yellow to get an orange color. Mix this orange with a tiny bit of white then rinse your brush well to clean out the excess paint. Next use the same clean and dry brush to paint the top half of the stone orange. You can start with a single thin coat of paint then add several more coats (drying each layer with a blow dryer if you live life in the fast lane). Yellow and orange tend to be thin colors and need several even coats before they stop looking streaky. Once you are happy with the orange, apply one last coat of orange then clean and dry your brush and move to the yellow. Next apply a coat of yellow below the orange and gently brush from bottom to top (the yellow paint being brushed slightly into the orange paint). To smooth out the blending, you can gently brush a clean and bone dry brush over the two colors to give you a nice gradient. For a more opaque finish, you can always allow the yellow to dry and add more coats as needed.
Once your stone is completely dry you will be working with your white and black paint. Next take a small brush and paint a white moon. This will take a few layers of paint to get a brilliant white. Be patient (globs of paint are not your friend here), while your moon dries you can get a small liner brush and draw in you horizon line and the outside of your home (you don’t need anything fancy for your house, a box with a triangle on top and a single window is a-ok) using black paint and a steady hand. To make the black paint more manageable, pull a little off to the side on your palette and mix in a few drops of water. Mix the water and paint together, thinning it slightly: you want this to have some fluidity to it, but not be a dripping, inky mess either - if the paint water mixture quickly runs down your brush, it is way too thin, add some more paint. Next rinse your brush real well, dry it off then begin your outlining. After you add the ground and home, next make your tree. The tree should be thicker at the base then gradually taper off towards the sky. Start at the ground and press down with your brush, releasing the pressure as you pull upwards (the lighter you press on your brush, the thinner your line will get). Add some more branches to the tree and thicken is up as needed. Add small branches to your main ones, the further you get from the base of the tree, the smaller and thinner your branches should be. If you’re feeling a little extra, you can always add a few winged creatures off in the distance. Once you are happy with your tree, go ahead and fill in your house and ground with black paint. One layer should be enough, but if not, you can always apply one more thin layer of paint. Finally, once the black is completely dry, go ahead and mix equal parts yellow and white paint with a clean dry brush. Use your liner brush to go in and add a few highlights to the tree, ground, and house (don’t forget to initial or sign your art too)! Less is totally more here. Once everything is dry, you will need to seal the whole rock to protect the paint job. Apply a thin coat of mod podge (will not yellow over time like polyurethane and clean up is much easier) or polyurethane to your stone and allow to dry well before handling. Be sure to clean your sealant brush very well.
We all start somewhere. These weren’t my first stones but these were part of painting more regularly; of practicing, of wanting to learn more and improve for the sake of improvement. I never sat down with the intention of making a living selling my art, if I had gone into it with that mindset I may have disappointed myself early on. This was me doing something that I loved and carving out a bit of time for myself. This was about enjoyment for the sake of creating. Painting may not be your go to; perhaps your idea of fun is gardening; baking; sky-diving; skiing; but whatever that thing may be, I would tell you to figure that out and just go with it. Do that thing you love, just because you love to do that thing you do (singing that song now lol) and go with it. Embrace the journey and enjoy the ride. Who knows, maybe you’ll figure out how to do what you love (while making a living doing so) and if not, worse case scenario: you’re doing something you enjoy. Winner, winner. Make the time for yourself; you are your best investment. Enjoy!