Important Update...

Visit: Your Spirit Rocks! on Facebook . Our vendors booth is appearing periodically at our local Farmer's Market(s) due to Covid19

Monday, April 26, 2021

Black 3.0

 Exploring new mediums is one way I stay inspired. Black 3.0 (made by Culture Hustle™ ) is supposed to be the blackest paint on the planet. It's pretty black as the picture below will reveal. It's not cheap either. Compared to other acrylic paints, this is the most expensive paint applied to any special rock project. Another paint purchased was called "Mirror" which is supposed to render a chrome-like finish on whatever smooth surface it adheres to. It is a step-by-step process and if a step is left out, you can rest assured that you won't get the results to be expected. 

Stacked Black Rocks

Like the Black 3.0 paint, the mirror paint was also expensive. The only thing that can be said about buying art supplies, is that they do motivate one to further their creative skills by applying different methods and materials. Nail foils on rocks are another challenge that was explored. So far, none of these mediums have produced any of the results expected. That being said, to return to the tried and true metallic acrylics are always the best bet.



Chromed Mirror Rocks





Friday, April 9, 2021

Materials used in the process

 I suppose I should stop telling people that I post a "Rock of the Week" since I always seem to be lax in putting one up. At least a picture of some sort will accompany this blog. 

    Today, a new type of black paint arrived at my door. It's called "Black 3.0" promising to be the blackest black in the world. Naturally, I wanted to give it a whirl. So far, some test rocks have been painted and they look pretty doggone black.

Using either black or white as a base coat will influence whatever color used to showcase the image that will be painted onto the rock. The surface of the rock has vital importance as well. Is it too rough? too absorbent? too many dimples? Is the rock smooth, flat, and large enough size to accommodate the imagery? All these are considerations that have to be made in the process.

    The brushes used, the amount of paint, the careful approach to detail all matter. Some of the mediums used besides just the acrylic will present challenges of their own. Puff Paint, E6000 glue, Resin, Stickler Glitter, Triple Thick, and Krylon Clear Coat are only a few of the materials used to produce the desired results. At last, the final piece can be a sight to behold. No one can tell me I have better things to do during the Covid crisis.




 

Monday, March 29, 2021

To be inspired

 My friend Tom has many collaborative ideas that he is encouraging me to follow. I like some of them and we talk about what will not only inspire him but both of us. Lately, my inspiration has been waning. Sales have been so so, and if nothing fuels my fire it is likely that I will be putting rock painting on the back burner so to speak. I'm all about selling, marketing, and creating new products. So far, I have sold over a million rocks since I began doing this "Hobby" ten years ago. You read that right...over a million rocks.

People like Tom mean well, but unless they are willing to lift a finger regarding their own helpful suggestions it can be annoying. He is also looking to be inspired to create something new. We bat it back and forth, and if the idea has merit, we pick at it until it is time to go to work on it.

I can't rag on Tom too much though, because this is mostly my stuff. Besides, the guy is eighty-seven and has that many years of project experience as I do. He readily admits that I render my work much better than he does. That being said, I can't wait to see what he creates. We were talking about a handmade "Rock" made using clay with a flat surface like a mini canvas. I like the idea as we discussed the size, material, and properties thereof. 

My hope is that Tom won't get discouraged and lose interest because he is prone to do that. 

Anyway, the rock below has nothing to do with the aforementioned, but I like to keep my fans happy




Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Rocks of the week...Rockshrooms !

 This particular idea came to me after a fellow vendor supplied me with a bag full of corks that he thought that I may be able use for a craft project. I know that corks have been used to make bulletin boards, trivets, corny figures dressed up in felt, etc. I found that placing a small flat rock on top of the cork inspired me to put together a little amanita mushroom. The look caught on and I have since painted and sold a bunch of them. Naturally, the dots on top of the "Rockshroom" glow in the dark.

A month ago, another vendor who sells mushroom jerky and medicinal mushroom tea traded me a couple of these Rockshrooms™ for a bag of his jerky ( which is delicious by the way ). His girlfriend Carly liked them so much that she made a little terrarium and created a sweet little gnome environment. If I can get her to send the pics on to me, I will be sure to post them. Below is a pic I took which shows you what they look like.






Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Variety is the Spice

 Between cooking for myself and creating new things to sell, my muse is back pushing me forward again. Going through the regular peaks and valleys of the sober life is still challenging, yet adventuresome. Currently, the gift rock business inventory needs a little help so the days have been going by quickly as preparation for the work, addressing my other commitments, and generally, multitasking is what has kept this mojo working. Making coffee drinks, chopping vegetables, mixing sauces, and trying some off-the-wall flavor combinations have kept it all very intriguing.

The mixture of Chipoltle sauce and peanut butter seems like an odd combination, yet it is really yum. Butter in general though has been too much of a go-to item that my stomach is beginning to pay a price. Other creative endeavors have included scallop shell night lights, mushroom rocks, spinner rocks, and the latest... a cupcake candy land UV lamp! Who says that food and rock creations don't go together ?!

Target had a sale on these small desk lamps, so naturally, I purchased two to feed my decorative curiosity. The pictures below show what one looks like both on and in the dark.








Monday, February 22, 2021

The Search for Serenity

 My hikes with Sam (not his real name) have been educational. Sam is a NEW friend who I have known for a long time. This means that I've seen the guy around for about thirty years and am just now getting to know him a little better. We have made it a point to go for a walk on Wednesday mornings around eleven. He is pretty close to my age ( now in our 70's ) and will only go as far as is comfortable. The last time we met we walked over five miles. It was surprising that we covered that distance. Recounting mutual tales from the past has provided us with many stories to fill the time. It has been refreshing to talk and listen without that annoying sense of time urgency that has been the hallmark of this modern age.

Sam grew up in San Francisco and relocated to the Napa Valley like me. We have both appreciated the good fortune of living in such lush cultural environments as are both places. We spoke of meditation and other topics that support an inward journey. It seems that the older we get, the less certain of what is happening in the world around us. More importantly, the necessity of finding solace in activities that require focus, reflection, and an appreciation of beauty that surrounds us.

 Initially, the usual topics came up... Covid, Racism, Climate Control, Fires, Floods, Freezing temperatures, and the like, and of course Trump. It seems we cannot get enough of what we never really wanted in the first place! (Where have we heard that before ?) In an era of seeming transparency, people have become overly concerned and more mortally guarded than (seemingly) ever before.

I am so grateful that I grew up in a much more innocent time. Our freedom will probably never be matched like what we both had experienced in the sixties. Perhaps what has stood out is how blessed we were to experience an idealized form of Eden. Even if it eventually devolved into chaos.

Below is a picture that was taken on our hike. The rock below the first picture is one that sits on my window sill atop a brass holder that resembles seaweed. It was taken early in the morning, showing the glow that has been the distinguishing feature of all the rocks that I paint.






Monday, February 15, 2021

Astonishing output

 Today is the day after Valentine's Day and I am happy to say that I did receive a nice valentine from a close friend. Even though it was misty and overcast at the Sebastopol Farmer's Market, it was still a pleasant day, and getting out of bed in the morning wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be. The week before was quite fruitful, so it was thought best to return...despite any forecast to the contrary.

Quite a while ago, a video was made of a wizard-like creature that was painted with both fluorescent and phosphorescent paint. It was painted on a small canvas purchased at the Dollar store. Then it was made into a video shot on the IPhone™ The video featured different lighting effects made using a small UV flashlight. Even a strobe effect was featured that really made the various views exciting.

The final step was to make a Lifeprint™ Hyperphoto that would activate the small printout when held up to my iPhone. The "Hyperphoto" triggers a link that will animate the still printout of the image. What can I say? what was produced still blows my mind. Watch the video below








Tuesday, January 26, 2021

A Calm before the Storm

 It is Tuesday afternoon, January 26th, 2021 at 1:12pm Here is the situation as it stands now. We are currently in a holding pattern as we have been alerted that Flash Floods may be occurring this evening, which gives us yet one more reason to shelter in place. The sun was out this morning, so I rode my bike to Ace Hardware™ to purchase some bungee cords to "Batten down the Hatches" so to speak. Last week we had a terrific wind storm that blew the tarp off of my sun deck. I am hoping that the same thing does not occur again tonight. Sometimes I think that all we need in an emergency are duct tape, bungee cords, tarps, and a staple gun. Hey, that's not a bad start. This morning, it seemed that the whole neighborhood was doing something in preparation for this big event ( ...like we haven't had enough big events as of late? ) Besides dumping the Trumpmeister, we have had major fires, rampant racial injustice, insurrection, viruses, climate catastrophes throughout the world, and so it goes.

Yesterday, I got a shot to protect myself from getting a virus. No, not Covid 19, but Shingles. I had a horrible bout with this nasty condition last year. Waiting until January to have this done was a good idea. My new insurance policy which now covers these shots with a co-pay, cost me 40. as opposed to 165. which is what they would've cost me had I not switched. However, I cannot get a Covid 19 shot until after two weeks have passed. No biggie... ain't going nowhere except to Grocery Outlet to stock up on food.

Sleep patterns have not been consistent. I purchased an app for my iPhone called, "Synctuition". It's pretty good. Initially, I was convinced that it was a Russian brain-washing program designed to overwrite my core beliefs but have come to trust the 3D sound effects and the binaural beats that are designed to lull my mind into a perfect Gamma or Theta state. It also uses affirmations to reprogram the usual cynical frame of mind I resort to when getting too lonely, tired, angry, or most especially hungry ( or at times... horny ). 

When things get stale around here, I break out the paints and put on some good music to breathe life into this one-bedroom apartment. Limiting the coffee intake has served to keep things stable for the most part. Exercise is what challenges the schedule lately. Riding the ten-speed around the perimeter of town has sufficed for now. I do miss the hikes to Coyote Peak at Bothe State Park though. I was told by ranger Jessica that the trails should be partially back open in the Spring ( trusting that there will not be much erosion resulting from the Glass fire last Fall ). 

We cannot expect any sort of "New Normal" type stability to ramp up on such short notice these first few weeks of January. Time takes time.

That being said ...it's time for a nap.

This Week's Rock is a double-sided bedside piece designed to bring about restful serenity. Four views, same rock under different lighting ( blacklight, no light, and normal light )






Saturday, January 9, 2021

Old Hat?

Some years ago, at the height of the Movie Ratatouille's popularity, I produced something that I thought would be of value to both the Pixar and the Disney team. After much angst and preparation, I was able to secure an appointment with a marketing director at Disney, and drove to LA to meet them. To do this, was to show them this thing I had created which I thought would be a fabulous gift for anyone who enjoyed the overall theme of the movie.

 At the time, the movie had already peaked, and since the Remy™ character wasn’t going to be "evergreen," more promotional ventures wouldn’t be viable. ( as it was explained, characters like Mickey Mouse™ and Donald Duck™  were iconic, and therefore long-lasting )

    When the film came out in 2007, I had been working at the Culinary Institute of America as a Concierge. Students there are required to wear clean, disposable chef’s toques in the kitchen during class time ...not just for identification but for sanitation purposes. When I wasn’t busy assisting tourists who came to visit the school, some time was spent sketching out ideas for fun. That's when I began working on a new chef's hat. Having seen the movie, the very idea of having a rat inside a chef’s toque was amusing. Finally, I figured out a way to imprint the shadow of  Remy™  the hair-pulling rat on the interior of a toque.






Some of the staff at the Culinary Institute encouraged me to build on this idea, which I did to the point of annoyance.
   
    Finally, when an opportunity to meet Celebrity Chef Thomas Keller became available I quickly provide him with one of my prototypes in appreciation for his advisory contribution to the movie, and to perhaps endorse this as a potential product. Needless to say, it didn't fly, but at least I got a chance to further my creativity.