Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Sun will shine on Saturday !

A big storm hit the west coast this week. Yes, we need the rain, but this is ridiculous! We're told that their will be a break come Saturday and Sunday. Phew!Maybe the folks at the Farmer's Market will breathe a little easier if they don't have to drive through washed out roads to get here. Last Saturday was the Black Stallion Winery's annual Open House and gift show. A lot of rocks got sold and many were pleased with their purchases. Everyone seemed to enjoy the black light that illuminated the rocks in that special way. We ate copious amounts of finger food and those who weren't tea totalers like myself, were happy to sample the home vintage. A fun time was had by all. Below was an overall view of the display table with the special lighting.


Friday, December 5, 2014

This Week's Rock

This is the first Chameleon rock which has been created for my grandniece, Tatiana. Initially, I drew a picture from an image that was found on the internet.Then It was scanned and brought it into Photoshop™:

The next step was to clean it up and colorized it . Then after it was complete, it was then sized down and printed it out on sticky-back, glossy paper. I adhered it to a flat rock that was decorated with fabric paint. Today, i enjoy all the steps involved in bringing a rock like this into existence. I also trust that this blog isn't read by my grandniece before Christmas you see. this is a surprise because we both know that she loves chameleons.




Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Rock of the Week

This week's rock features a shiny black mexican pebble coated with a triple thick coating of acrylic gloss. This not only preserves the elements painted and adhered to the rock, but it protects the rock from moisture, paint scuffs and fading. Although the rocks are NOT indestructible, every precaution is taken to protect these rocks from being abused. The rocks usually come in a protective bag, but when they are on display they should be in a dry place where they will be left unhindered. Black was chosen for this rock because it offers good contrast with whatever is painted on top of it. I like gold on black alone with the blue spikes and the red dots because of the presence it offers. The pink heart in the middle not only sparkles but will naturally glow in the dark after being placed under a regular incandescent light bulb for a minute. It should also be noted that a small mirror has been placed behind the glowing pink heart to  add another dimension to this piece

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Rock of the week

This is a sort of late Halloween rock if you will. It is called the Raven rock, and shows a little raven in a beautiful turquoise background with blue dots and green points focusing to the middle object. This stone is a Mexican Pebble which is a very smooth stone. These rocks leave the stone with a nice sheen, and even nicer overall look when coated with an Acrylic finish.
Many of the rocks I do will at times feature Holiday themes like this one. It reminds me of Edgar Allen Poe's poem called "The Raven" which is one of his most popular.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Rock of the Week

This weeks rock is symbolizes the joy of Fall and the warm halcyon days of an Indian Summer. The spiral motif in the center represents that the shorter days and cooler evenings as we enter our yearly autumnal cycle. The pink, blue and green lattice work around the metallic sun are the colors one usually will see as the sun is setting out in the Pacific.


Monday, October 13, 2014

A New Discovery

video

  I am certain that I was not the first to discover this, and I hope not to be the last. Last week I was lucky enough to find some extra sheets of glow-in-the-dark vinyl at an art supply shop where I shop for materials in Santa Rosa. The product name is "Funky Film" by Grafix™, and they make all sorts of refractive light material that has a lot of BLING if you will.

 Well they used to produce this glow film but no longer have it in their catalog. To make a long story short, I bought some of the last sheets available. You can still find some online if you do a deep search and are willing to pay for a roll of the stuff ( upwards towards 300. for a minimum order! ) I took one of the sheets and went into a dark room with my black light keychain. After just playing with it for awhile, I began to discover what fun this can be!

 If you watch the video until the end, you will see how easy it is to make silouettes by placing your hand over the film itself and then shining the light on top of it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Loyal Rock Fans

It must be known by now, that when people ask me what I do for a living I answer by telling them that I am a "Rock Artist". It gives me great joy to see the expression on their faces as they wonder which group I play with; Or if I am featured in Itunes. Not a chance.

When I tell them that I paint rocks, they begin to chuckle. Not too long ago ( about four years, to be exact ) I would tell people that I work at the C.I.A. and that admission would sometimes send a shiver up their spine, but I quickly reassured them that I was at the main desk when you entered the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, CA

That was then, and this is now. Thankfully, I have seen and met just as many great people who come to visit the Napa Valley from all parts of the globe.

Your Spirit Rocks!™is a token (or souvenir if you will) that hopefully will remind them of the enthusiasm and joy that can be had in this wonderfully idlyllic place. Naturally, like the rocks shown below... the spirit of their visit will continue to glow


 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blistering Hot Show

Literally. Yesterday started out on a very pleasant note. I met some wonderful folks from many different parts of the country who came to the Calistoga Art Center Show to see a variety of local art displayed. After setting up the vendors spaces with their own tables, chairs and display boards, I found my usual spot underneath a tree close to the community center to be ideal... at least from 9am to around 11am. After that, all bets were off.

The temperature quickly rose above the ninety degree mark and did not let up. Smearing myself with plenty of sunblock and drinking lots of water, I somehow made it through the day, but it was not very pleasant.

Sales were decent though, and I am grateful to all those that found their rock to take home with them. The other artists who displayed their work were all  pretty cheerful and upbeat as far as I could tell. All in all it turned out to be a good day.

A woman named Barbara came by with her husband Bill who was a former California Highway Patrolman. They were very nice people who were out exploring the neighborhood and took the time to talk. He ended up purchasing a rock for his wife with the word "Faith" painted on it. She seemed to me to be a living example of it.

Thanks you all for making this late summer day a special one.

"Your Spirit Rocks!"


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summer's End

It has been a very enjoyable summer, but like most summers the time flies and we find ourselves reminiscing about those halcyon days long after the weather turns cold and gray.The weather is still nice here and an Indian summer is likely this year. Bothe Park has been a fun getaway for me. Especially the public pool they have there.The park provides a nice lawn to put a towel down and plenty of those adirondack chairs to sit on by the pool. They also have an assortment of inflatable items, swim masks, goggles, super soakers, hula-hoops and other items to enjoy you time spent there. The life guards are very friendly and vigilant. They will answer questions politely and greet you when you enter. Five dollars for adults is a very reasonable fee to charge. You can see by the photo below that even old geezers can have fun if they aren't afraid to look a little silly as they harken back to their younger days

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Creative Impulses

It's not every day that I feel like painting and decorating these gift rocks.I do though, because it feeds a creative impulse that keeps me enthused about what I do.Yesterday I reviewed my best work and have posted all of those rock creations in former blogs,if you wish to go back a few years and have a look.This blog started in 2010, so I've been practicing this form of art for over four years now (check my archives on the column to the right and scroll down toward the bottom of the page).

The beach rocks I use are basically Sandstone,and the other rocks I use are called Mexican Pebbles which are very smooth and leave a nice finish.This week's rock is a nice round Sandstone I call a "Spinner Rock" because when I flip it upside down and give it a twirl,it spins for a while on a blue bobble which was adhered to the top of the rock.I don't usually paint my rocks yellow unless I want to have it serve another purpose.In this case, it can be used as a top or just as a beacon to direct oneself to the restroom in the middle of the night!Always make sure the rocks have been "Charged"( i.e. held under a regular lamp for about a minute) before you turn out the light on your nightstand.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Meditation Rock

Initially when I began painting rocks, I wanted to have people use them as meditation objects or something that they could focus on that would bring them a little serenity.Occasionally I will find a mandala or special design that enhances the rock enough to accomplish this end. Because I like bright colors, it is customary for me to inquire what a person's favorite color is, and to have each person use the rock as a sacred object.

Not all the rocks that I paint are like that, however. Many of my designs are simply favorite images that people enjoy such as dragonflies, butterflies, sports logos and the like.It is my hope that you will have these rocks for many years, and that you will pass them on to others when it is time to part with them.Below is an example of one of the meditation rocks that I recently painted.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Creative Visualization

Shakti Gawain has been a big influence in my life. Her book, "Creative Visualization" and "Living in the Light" are two books that taught the importance of following and trusting our intuition.If you have been a person who has had trouble finding guidance and direction in your life, her books and tapes will help you drop into a state of mind where anything is possible and welcomed. Here is an interview that took place not long ago, celebrating the 20th Anniversary of her first book.Click on the link above her picture to listen to the interview.She is quite candid about the development of her gift.

http://youtu.be/oZYnK7ZB-kg

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fun-filled Fourth !

It's already Tuesday, and this past weekend was jam packed with people, activity and rock sales.My sister Tara came in from Portland for the week, and my friends Bill and Veda helped me out at the Calistoga Fair on Friday before the fireworks that evening.

I was glad to see many friends and loyal customers as the came by to say hello at the Fairgrounds (and even offer us snacks from the cooking demos)which were happening in the same pavilion as the Your Spirit Rocks!™ display.It was blistering hot outside which is why I was very grateful to have a spot in the somewhat cooler Napa Building.

The next day was the Farmer's Market which was pretty hot as well. My sister sold charm bracelets that she had made and again, we had many people come by to see what was new on the display table.It was hard work setting up and breaking down both days, but it got done. As enjoyable as it was, I am glad that this opportunity presents itself only once a year.

A glow in the dark painting which I treasured, was sold for a hundred dollars. It was hard to let it go, but now I am challenged to make another one.The rock below is a shot of my yellow spinner in a semi-glow state.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Apologies

I want to sincerely apologize to anyone who has been trying to reach me on my land line.This number is the one I have listed on my business cards, forms, etc. and when you call this line it has usually taken your message and ended with the a recorded message that offers an uplifting,"Your Spirit Rocks!"a shout-out which is sorta cute, except when you were expecting to talk to a REAL PERSON!

This whole issue of messaging has become an activity of breathless tagging which covers a real longing for connection that is in danger of never being met. I am speaking for myself, but strongly suspect others who are falling into the camp of shallowness and disillusionment because they just are not getting through (both figuratively an literally).The quest for brevity and convenience are important issues when people make a call or text a message,but the expense of these supposedly technological amenities are costing many their own Peace of Mind.It can, and will rob us if we are not paying attention. When was the last time you allowed a conversation to evolve without composing and expressing your next thought. Is it really possible to suspend judgement in order to really hear what is being communicated?


There is a lot of blocking going on here.

My own selfish remarks have pushed some,if not many people away,rather than bringing them closer to me.It then perfectly fitting that my landline go dead and remain uncommunicative. Why call when no one picks up? The answer is obvious when I am the one not really making myself available.Long story short.It is time to lose this phone and meet people face to face without this superficiality and false sense of time urgency.I can now be reached on my IPhone exclusively until further notice.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Rock of the Week

This week's rock is one that I call

"The Spinner". It is like a top when you turn it over and give it a whirl on it's bobble end. When spinning upright, you notice a swirling "Hypno" effect as the rock rotates around and around like a top. The look is especially mesmerizing in the dark under a black light of course.You see only the bobble in this image.See the video below for a preview of what this dandy little rock can do!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rock for this week

Hello everyone, I painted this rock awhile ago, but I like the background ( a piece of burgundy silk ) that was scanned into my computer. The rock is one I call my "Faberge" rock, because it reminds me of the criss-cross patterns you might find on a fancy egg designed by Faberge. Come visit my space at the Calistoga Farmer's Market and at the Art show coming this Fourth at the Fairgrounds. Your Spirit Rocks !


Saturday, May 31, 2014

It's Saturday again !

Welcome to the Summer season at the Farmer's Market ! Today is the last day in May and many people are coming to the Valley this weekend for the BottleRock concert. Oh how I like hearing the word "Rock" in any activity around here. My hope is that these music fans will also find their way to the north end of the Napa Valley to visit the cozy little Farmer's Market.It's a must see!

Below is a candid picture of Mother Tabitha who provides good vibes and blessings to everyone who comes to visit. The sisters from her convent make wonderful baked goods that come fresh from the oven.She is a Russian Orthodox nun from a convent which is within walking distance to the Market. This picture was taken at the end of last week's market after she had gathered some beautiful flowers for the church.She then beckoned me over to her booth where she generously let me taste a delicious "Mud Pie Cookie" that had chocolate,walnuts,coconut and other wonderful ingredients.

Goodies like these are just a sample of what you'll find along with fresh fruit,flowers,Crepes and a host of other yummy stuff.Come on down and taste some of the best features offered here on a Saturday morning in Calistoga!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Backgrounds for Your Spirit Rocks!

Lately I've been working with florescent colors that look fabulous under a black light. It can be tricky placing colors that will recede next to colors that come forward. Orange is the strongest color in my palette.Under the black light, orange really pops out.Having a dark florescent blue next to the orange is a good strategy for creating a 3D effect, because the orange will almost "hover" above the surface when viewing the image with special 3D glasses from above. Digital photography does not present these colors properly,but at least you can see the general idea that I am currently developing for Your Spirit Rocks!™ I hope to have these backgrounds for sale sometime in the future.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

My mom has been on the "other side" for many years, but I still think of her often.She was the best mom anyone could have wished for growing up.I always felt that she had my best interest at heart.Even when she would admonish me with"Chris, you have such great potential!" I knew she meant well.She was always there encouraging me to do my best, always.When I was an unruly teenager and lying to her face, she never attempted to bail me out of the trouble I got myself into;and for that I am truly grateful.

We make our own beds,and we sleep in them.

Thanks,Mom. I love you more than words could ever express.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Wonderful Day

I love Saturday mornings and the Farmer's Market in Calistoga. Today was no exception.I met some great people and made some new customers. A teenager named Samantha who collects rocks and Russian Dolls made her acquaintance, and told me about how she was visiting from Sacramento where she is currently a senior in high school.She surprised me when she made the largest purchase of the day, which also happened to be my biggest rock.The rock was actually a bolder I purchased from a quarry. I painted a big beautiful crimson Iris on top and I could see that Samantha was not going home without it.I ended up giving her a black-light and the stand the rock rested upon, so she could appreciate it all the more when she returned home.


The other amazing incident occurred about ten minutes later when this young girl turned up at my booth to inspect the rocks.As she surveyed the table she picked up a sample rock I had put on the table in hopes of generating some custom orders for Mother's Day. The picture below is of this little girl who celebrated a birthday party in the neighborhood many years ago, whose image I thought would look nice on what I am now calling an "Heirloom" rock. Well as luck would have it,here was Claudia, who proudly announced that the little girl on the rock was her! She immediately went over to show her mom who just about broke into tears she was so taken.I don't even recall the exact year when it was taken, but when I printed it out and adhered it to the rock I figured that some parent may want a shot like this to memorialize a cherished moment. Claudia was two at the time, and is now a proud eight-year old third grader at Calistoga Elementary.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday morning motivation

The Mommas and the Poppas don't have a monopoly on Monday, but I still think of their song every time Monday morning rolls around.Monday originally was called "Moon day" and that is fitting. Tomorrow we will be on the lookout for the pink moon which will arise in the sky in the evening during a total eclipse.It should be very exciting and I suspect a lot of folks around here will be out and about tomorrow night.Below is a picture of a rock I painted and sold some time ago of a wolf howling at the moon. Enjoy !

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Just being coy

The Farmer's Market in Calistoga is charming. I recall that the one in Napa is pretty nice too, except that they don't seem to want to extend themselves to vendors like myself who has a gift item to sell that is unique and made by a local artist (i.e. ME!)

Since there will be no Chef's Market on Thursday night this year, I thought I might have a chance showcasing my Spirit Rocks on Tuesday mornings there.No such luck.Napa is another world,and tomorrow is another day.The beautiful coy fish pictured below can be seen by visiting the Russian Orthodox Monastery here in Calistoga.Mother Tabitha is a wonderful soul who offers a kind smile and simple blessing to those who stop by to see the fish.She is one of the many sisters that live there. I am filled with joy every time I visit the quiet sanctuary next to a creek which feeds into the Napa River. The Coy are kept in an enclosed pond for everyone to enjoy.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Wildlife and nature

This weeks rock(s) are a few custom rocks that I did for someone who came by to visit Calistoga a two weeks ago. The weekend was wet again on Saturday, but you won't hear any complaints around here.The water is needed and hopefully by the end of this month we will have enough to get us through the summer season. Being the driest year on record has worried a lot of vintners because as you might guess, no water... no wine!

I am inside today painting some rocks that I hope will be more, better or at least different from those I've done in the past. Although figurative images like the ones below are not my forte´ They are a departure from what I've done of late.The bear was said to look a bit "tubular" and I have altered it a little after a friend criticized it. The eagle was not as difficult to paint as I thought it would be.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How am I doing?

It has been almost four years since I've been providing these gift rocks for people like yourself.I was not clear about what it was that I wanted to do when I first started painting them.Initially, It was about finding a new medium with which to express artistic abilities. Then it became a spiritual journey.

I would go out to the ocean and collect only those rocks which felt good in my hand and had a flat smooth surface on which to paint. I figured that they would be best suited as "Meditation Objects" that people would use to focus their attention while meditating.I gave a few of these to friends along with a sheet of affirmations.More and more ideas came to me in the succeeding months.

Three years ago,I approached a woman from my church who ran the Calistoga Farmer's Market.She began renting me a vendors space so that I could begin to SELL these pretty rocks.Sometimes, I entertain the idea of being supported on a "Suggested Donation" basis, but I am afraid that I would be overwhelmed with work,and would go broke fast.

I recall seeing a ceramicist last year who had a booth outside a "Further" concert who seemed to be doing fairly well by providing a current generation of Dead Heads with pendants heralding expressions of "Peace" in different languages.These he had fired out of clay and was accepting donations only.I have no idea if he is still making a living this way,but his sentiment and cause were admirable.I however,need a steady income and the confidence that provides.

Well wouldn't you know, these rocks have begun to sell! I've learned what is a fair asking price for a desired result.Even when custom work is requested,I relish the creative challenge.It is a thrill a minute.Your suggestions have found their way to the market table and my enthusiasm grows.

Bottle stoppers,Magnets,Pendants,Stacked Cairns, Mirrored rocks and other unique items have been produced and have sold well.Many have suggested that I sell online.Although I've resisted this idea, wanting to maintain control of my inventory...the idea has not been dismissed out of hand.I suspect that I am a bit fearful of impending success.Perhaps this fear is unfounded, but the YOUR SPIRIT ROCKS!™ business is still moving at pace comfortable for me.

This blog was created to have you see the latest products and to be a part of the development of what perhaps could be a movement of sorts.You have talked to me about having workshops,and I still would like to pursue this idea.Is this something you would like?

Feel free to join this blog and give me some direction.I would really like to know where to go from here.

THANKS !

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Give it away to keep it!

These rocks have always been a gift.The way they feel in my hand...the roundness, the weight, the smooth (or rough) texture.The rock has always been a symbol of strength and solidarity. It is my contention that your rock chooses you.Sometimes, if feels good just to skip one across the water or stack one on top of another.Rocks are like good ideas that form in the mind and take shape.Once a rock is passed on, it continues it's journey.

Your rock may end up miles away from where it originated.It may be ground into sand or smaller pieces in service to to a slab of concrete or other building material.It may just end up as a paper-weight on your desk or window sill.If the rock is not meant for you, you will know it.Pass it on to someone who notices it for whatever reason.

Like our children, these are products of life longing for itself.These contain an energy that can neither be created or destroyed.

~Kalil Gibran~

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Display Rocks

The drought continues and we have been getting only a modicum of moisture here.I have a few rocks sitting outside on my deck in a planter. The wet weather did not affect these rocks at all. An acrylic coating goes on each rock upon completion which protects the rocks from moisture (to a point). These rocks are not indestructible.It is recommended that you place them on your desk, window sill or bedside table. The bathroom is not the best environment because of the moisture present.

The rocks below are showcased using plexiglas mirrors, a black light and a photographed in a dark setting.It's always fun to see how best to show off these beautiful art objects.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Heart Day !

It is Valentine's Day once again, so I've prepared this cute little video which features some of my drawing and painting skills as well as one of my favorite heart rocks.Enjoy !

Happy Valentines !

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Rain has arrived

This week the rains came, and the refreshing mist in the air is most welcome.The water situation in California has not been good since we have learned that last year was the driest on record.We hope that the end of winter and early spring rains bring a much needed drenching, these usually have carried us through the summer months in years past.

That's the good news.Rain on Saturdays during the Farmer's Market make the situation sketchy at best.Tourists will come and visit Calistoga whatever the weather, but the foot traffic always is better when the sun is out.I usually play it by ear, and sign on at the last minute if it is not too wet. Your Spirit Rocks™ don't like the wet weather as it tends to soften the protective acrylic coat I give each rock.

This weeks rock is another heart-shaped rock that I painted with red and green.To some, this rock may look a little too much like a real heart, and for that I apologize if it offends anyone's sensibilities.A Happy St. Valentine's day to all!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Calling all Spirit Rockers !

Greetings my friends,Today is Sunday and I am about to paint a few more rocks after a day of mondo creativity. I am also working on a viewing capsule for YOUR SPIRIT ROCKS!™ so that you can see all THREE lighting states (i.e. Daylight, Blacklight and Nightglow) It is still in development, but this year will be the year for breakthroughs.Finding the canisters and black LED lights has been tricky. At this point, I am searching the web for these and finding suppliers stateside is challenging.

Below is one of my favorite rocks as of late.It is not always easy to find heart-shaped rocks so this one is very special. I still have a few more just in time for Valentine's day, though.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Rock of the week

This is a dandy of a rock that I designed for a regular patron. It is a flower, loosely resembling an Iris. I took liberty with the color and adornments of the rock, just for aesthetic purposes. Saturdays at the Farmer's Market have been very cold, but hour by hour you find yourself peeling layers of clothing off as the sun rises in the sky. This month has seen the continuation of a terrible drought where the days are Spring like, but all the trees have lost their leaves and all the plants and lawns are drying up. That is why I offer this flower as a symbol of hope for the Spring which will surely come if Winter ever decides to show it's true colors. Perhaps we will get some of that liquid sunshine come February.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Hummingbird Rock

This weeks rock is one that many people request.This image is not mine originally, but is a mylar sticker that I have adhered to the rock. Hummingbirds are unique in many ways. They fly and hover over nectar bearing flowers, and can approach them from many angles because of their wing speed and ability to remain stationery in mid-air.Their are many different types of hummingbirds and will vary in general size. Using this image as a totem calls forth one's desire to approach a subject from different points of view, and a rapid ability to detach from a source.There are more than 300 species of this beautiful minute bird, with its iridescent plumage. Hummingbirds range in size from the tiny bee hummingbird, which is only about the length of an adult’s little finger, to the giant hummingbird, which may reach 22 centimeters (8.5 inches)—the width of a magazine page. There are nine species in North America. The hummingbird is a very good example of the evidence for God as Creator.