Painting on Rocks: Whimsical Owls

Painting on rocks has become one of my favourite crafty pursuits. It’s challenging (and fun!) to transform a plain stone into a decorative keepsake. It’s also one of the most relaxing ways to spend an afternoon.

I went for a walk along Oakville’s Lake Ontario shoreline, where I gathered a treasure trove of smooth rocks in a variety of shapes and sizes. Once back home, I just used soap and water to wash all of the rocks.

After choosing four shapes that suited my project, I roughly penciled a different owl design on each one.

Next, I chose a different colour combination of acrylic paints for each owl. Working on only one owl per day, I painted a couple of coats of the base colours and allowed them to dry overnight. 

Once the base painting was complete, I used a black ultra fineline marker to carefully outline each of the painted areas. After allowing the marker lines to dry, I used a combination of both fineline marker and acrylic paint (with the finest size of paintbrush) to add intricate designs in each section. You need an extremely steady hand and a ton of patience to get it right!

Once I was satisfied with my finished owls, I sprayed them with Krylon Kamar Varnish, a clear, protective sealant. Next, I used black acrylic to paint a plain, leafless tree on an 8.5” x 11” white canvas board. Once that was dry, I used a heavy-duty glue (LePage Carpenter’s Glue) to affix each rock to a branch on the board.

Then, I sanded a light-coloured wood frame that I had in my stash, painted it black, and sprayed it with a protective sealant (Armor Coat Clear Finish Acrylic Spray Paint).

All done!

Here are both of my completed sets. Stay tuned for my next rock project.


My painting of Jelly Bean Row

Have you ever heard of Jelly Bean Row? It’s a quaint street lined with colourful row houses in downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Some friends of mine spent their summer vacation in Newfoundland and came back with so many wonderful stories and photos of the vibrant scenery and friendly people there but one of their favourite excursions was their walk along Jelly Bean Row.

Now I’m Canadian, born and raised, but I’ve never traveled in my own country, outside of my home province of Ontario. Sure I’ve seen Mexico, the Caribbean, and the southern U.S.—places I can fly to in under five hours and be surrounded by white sand, turquoise water, and waiters who bring me drinks with little umbrellas in them—but I’ve yet to explore my homeland.

These friends of mine know I’m a create-a-holic, so they brought back a really interesting flat rock from a beach in Newfoundland and asked if I would agree to paint Jelly Bean Row on it. As if I could turn down a challenge like that?

I thought the job would be easier than it was (don’t we always think so before we begin a craft?!), but I have to say I am pleased with the final results even though they’re far from perfect.

Here’s a picture of the gorgeous hand-painted mailbox (by artist D. Bird) featuring Jelly Bean Row that my friends’ kids brought back for me as a gift for looking after their cat while they were away. And right beside it sits the rock I painted. If you look closely, I used tiny crystals for the doorknobs.

Newfoundland is now definitely on my bucket list of future trips to take!

newfoundland row houses1 newfoundland row houses2

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