Important Update...

Visit: Your Spirit Rocks! on Facebook . Our vendors booth appears every other week at the local Farmer's Market(s)

Thursday, June 13, 2024

A Mystery to be lived

"Life is a mystery to be lived, and not a problem to be solved." This quote from Adriana Trigiani echoes what seems to have been happening lately.I've had a tooth pulled, a cracked windshield replaced, and a hot water heater go kapoot. I've also been eating lots of vegetables and trying to get a good night's sleep.What does any of this have to do with the price of tea in China? Metaphors and symbolism has always intriqued me. Everything always seems to have so much meaning, yet is still so mysterious!

When something is put into words, our interpretation of those words trigger images and ideas that are questionably either positive or negative. Yet all our thoughts are malleable. Just as much as the previous paragraph can be considered jibberish, it probably still brings ideas and images to the fore.

 Do you ever stop and ask yourself, " Why did a picture and thought about a gazebo just pop into my head? Can you trace it back? Was it a memory, a complete thought or merely a passing one ? Did it contribute to a certain belief or cherished opinion? These are thoughts that I've been having about having thoughts lately. Oy! (The committee always seems to be in session). Does this mind even have a mind of it's own?

Having a source for one's thoughts will fortify our opinions for sure. Making an assessment, evaluation or observation will keep us from making a judgement which invariably will cause a reaction if voiced. Socrates questioned everything. Not a bad way to proceed. Another way is to keep one's silence and be thought of as "Ignorant" ( or conversely wise or humble ) than, as Abraham Lincoln would say " Open one's mouth and remove all doubt !"

Below, is this weeks Rock of the week...

















Do fish bark? Hmmm...




Monday, May 20, 2024

Living a day at a time

    At times I tend to get ahead of myself. With the advent of the Internet, time gets corralled and it is easy to get distracted , even when following up on a simple task. The iPhone has proven to be a powerful device. It has changed everyone's life for better and for worse.

    However, this blog is not about that. The progress I've made as an artist has grown. Yesterday, I got involved with a paper marbleling class at our local Art Center. It was a wonderful diversion.Learning a new process has kept me engaged creatively in another medium besides acrylics and rocks.

    The process of making and manifesting pleasing outcomes involves following ones intuition in my opinion.Taking a moment (yes, this moment) Instead of future tripping or dwelling on the past, has lead me in unknown directions and adventurous episodes, both in my studio and out in society. 

    Peaks and valleys during the creative process will always arrive in unexpected ways, both having and intrinsic value all their own.Trying to burrow myself out of frustration doesn't work for me. Especially when I find myself paralyzed before attempting another project.Going into acceptance mode does.Trying too hard to control the situation at hand is usually fruitless.Calling someone, going for a bike ride, visiting a museum or whatever; will free things up considerably. 

    In other words, chosing my valleys just as they are, and doing what is next ( and not putting it off ) has helped.When I lay my head on the pillow at night, it can be said that at least an attempt has been made in allowing a solution to be revealed.Sometimes it is just a matter of staying patient and putting things off until later... sometimes not.

    If all of this sounds like sage advice, it is what just what has worked for me. In no way do I speak for others in their quest for excellence, or even mere survival. Just keep on creating and feed your soul. Like the Nike commercial used to say, " Just do it!"

Below is this weeks "Rock of the week" 
( and a sample from the paper marbeling class I took )




Monday, May 6, 2024

The Summer Season begins

 Tomorrow will be the beginning of the Summer Market in Calistoga ( and also in Sebastopol for that matter ).It is really amazing how quickly the seasons fly by. As it turned out, the rains came and it was a total washout on Saturday. I was glad, because it gave me a chance to catch up on my inventory. For every rock I sell, I get to paint another one... a joy to behold.

 White painted rocks are my latest pursuit. I find that the design on top can be fun. It's turns out looking like heiroglyphics that one might find in an open dig somewhere in Mesopotamia.These rocks glow exceptionally well in the dark. Then, when placed on a glowing doiley, or in this case a "Joilie" ( as my friend Veda who made them has chosen to name them ) Which are made from glow-in-the-dark yarn that she took the time to crochet into a star pattern. Now this showcase rock is enhanced even more so. 

Here we present the "Rock of the Week"









Inspired

 Today it looks like the resin coatings on the rocks are behaving. No air bubbles, no overpours and nice hard, dry results. These rocks can be put outside without a worry about the colors fading. They can even be put inside an aquarium without hurting the fish.

 Occasionally I use a clear-coat called TRIPLE THICK™ which is fine for a quick, shiny and long lasting coat, however, UV resin still works the best. The only down side perhaps is a yellowing over time, but that is more a concern with larger works of art.

    The pendants and keychains have been a profitable sale lately. The pendants are fun conversation pieces, and the keychains are kewl eye catchers when hanging from a backpack, or even when used to hang a set of house keys that are sometimes hard to find when fishing around for them in your purse. Usefulness is the key word here (always fun to add a pun).

    Like the gift rocks that they are, these are heirlooms are eventually meant to be passed on over the years. It is this artist's hope that you are inspired to have them as a keepsake and an item that brings you joy.








Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Bringing back the best

 This is my thirteenth year of painting and selling rocks. I have not even held a job that long during my entire work life. Like many members of my family, I treasure independence and freedom.I also like being my own boss.

 Having worked in hospitality most all of my adult life, I really like people. The Farmer's Market is my classroom.Getting to know the regulars and tourists are always enlightening, and can be educational. There are many artists out there too, and it doesn't take much to convince me that EVERYONE employs some type of creative activity, be it cooking, gardening or even washing and waxing a car.

 After having attained a degree in Art, it was time for me to do something that validated my own creative pursuit. Commercial art never really fueled this passion, although i am now familiar with how to use the computer as a tool for composition and output.

 Rocks however, were about discovering a small canvas, and having the liberty to come up with fun designs... a venue that became the medium of choice. Over the years, I have found that some imagery people will find more appealing than others. It also occurs to me that some colors and backgrounds have a special appeal all their own.

 Lately, I've been painting seashells as night-lights, specialty rocks that include waves, dolphins, birds,cats, meditation stones for focusing,mandala rocks, keychains, magnets and (as an occasional departure from the usual) decorative wind chimes and mobiles.In many ways, craftspeople live lives akin to a monk's existence. Pursuing beauty is certainly a meditative activity and there are many who explore different mediums in their search for an authentic creative expression.I devote this blog to those people who are making the time to do this very thing.Below is this week's "Rock of the Week".


Thursday, April 4, 2024

April, comes she will

 Spring has sprung, and the weather is still cold and wet. However, this past weekend was a blast. Sunny warm and beautiful. The Easter bunny hid eggs (not painted rocks, mind you) all around the town square in Sebastopol. Sales were good that day, the group onstage played Hawaiian music that kept all the visitors in a mellow mood. Kids ran around with their baskets collecting a bounty of eggs that were hid everywhere. Unfortunately, a few little kids missed out when the bigger kids made a clean sweep of them all. 

A few egg-shaped painted rocks were kept around in the hopes that a parent would come by and get one of these for their youngster. I have this spinning "roulette" rock  ( kind of like a dradle ) that gets spun around with an indicator painted on it, that if it ends up pointing directly at an orange dot, that lucky person wins the Easter egg rock.

A nice lady gave it a spin and won, and was so pleased that she ended up purchasing another rock for someone else. 

On another note, it is said that another eclipse will be happening this coming Monday. I've learned that we won't be able to observe a suitable view of it here in Northern California, but the people in Texas will get the full show. More to be revealled.

This week has been busy, because for every rock that was sold last week, a new one will take it's place. So, back to work! 

Below is this week's Rock of the week... naturally, it's an Easter egg rock that will not rot or hatch.



Friday, March 22, 2024

Gracious Falls

 Yesterday a group of ours went on a wonderful hike up in the hills west of Napa. Little did we realize that there was a beautiful waterfall as we reached one of the peaks before the property descended into Sonoma. I took a couple of my painted rocks with me and hid them in a few spots on our way up.It is always a treat for someone to find one on the trail.Usually there is a small knothole where a branch has fallen off to where one of these rocks can be placed. 

I won't usually pick up rocks that could be used to paint on these hikes. Not because it is private property, but because the rocks are gnarly, as opposed to the ones that are flat and smooth that can be found on the coast.However I did find one that caught my eye lying in a creek bed.The texture was appealing so it was added to a collection of specialized rocks are just appear interesting just the way they are.













 






Monday, March 4, 2024

Rock Stars

 For a long time now, I've been telling folks that I will be posting a "Rock of the Week". This has been a regular feature for a long time ( going back to 2010 ). Sometimes, I go off on a tangent and get caught up in the creative process and only get back to my blog when the time presents itself.This pursuit has been a joy, insofar as I have had the opportunity to meet people from many other states and countries. It seems that everyone has a story about rocks that they either have painted themselves or have collected over the years. It is especially touching, how youngsters find these items so captivating whether they find one at a park or on a beach. Below are some of the rock stars who have come by my booth at the local farmer's markets.So, instead of the "Rock of the Week" I'm featuring some "Rock Stars" who have happened by my table.


















Friday, February 16, 2024

Back to my future

 





Occasionally I like to go out in the woods to hide some rocks. If I find a little spot kind of hidden away, I place a rock there for some youngster to find.Perhaps it will be someone who just wants a little souvenier. In either case, this is a gift that I want to pass on. Hopefully, it will travel to a place where it ends up holding down a stack of important notes, or maybe just a door stop.Either way, it is meant to be passed on. One must probably wonder where all the treasures that they have collected as a youth ended up.

Obviously, if they were real treasures, they would be keepsakes and may travel through the years to new horizons.As a kid,I went to the Y.M.C.A. in our town to an event where we got to fill a large container with objects that young kids would find fascinating.Objects like a spark-plug , a skeleton key, caps, marbles, a quarter, and the like.These items were buried in a time capsule on an island not far from the mainland.

 Eventually, they would be dug up by some future generation to see what children found interesting in those days. I only I wish I could have been there when/if it was to be dug up. 

 A few years back I traveled to the town of my birth to speak with someone at the local paper to see if they had a follow up story on a picture that was posted in their paper at that time. Apparently, they regretfully had not. Below is a picture of that event... 




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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Rave on

   It is already 2024 and if I had any idea that I would still be painting and decorating rocks after thirteen years, I would say you were crazy. It certainly has been a learning experience for me and will hope that I continue to find new inspirations and lessons. 

  Lately, I've been branching out a little by painting these round wooden discs that I got at the Dollar Tree™, which is one of my favorite places to buy odds and ends. I've used the basic black for the primary coat and have been doing a preliminary sketch right on the board. Then i trace over the lines using a metallic gold puff paint. Flourescent green and fuscia are a powerful combination of color. It looks great under a black light ( of course )

  The butterfly theme sort of evolved. I love the sinewy strokes representing the some otherworldly flowers. These flowering plants cannot be found in reality, unless someone knows something that I don't. It was never clear to me as the composition evolved, it just sort of happened.

  We are not featuring the Rock of the Week for now, but it will return as soon as I venture forward with some new designs.



Saturday, January 13, 2024

Distraction and creativity

  I've been listening to an audiobook about the creative act. It seems that a lot of people don't think that they are creative. I would contend that they may be confusing being artistic with being creative. We are all creative to some extent, and the ability isn't on a scale of proficiency. The creative act is simply that. One creates when one employs the awareness that they are creating.

  It may be confusing as to how one will manifest their creative expression, but even on the most minute level, creativity allows for choices that are made moment by moment. Yes, demonstrating that blueberry pancake recipe you took from a Betty Crocker cookbook, involves choosing that particular mixing bowl that you mother passed on to you as a vehicle for containing the ingredients.The mere fact that it is porcelain instead of steel may be considered a creative diversion. Artistic, probably not.

  The aforementioned may be a bit of a stretch, but using your power in making choices to render certain outcomes is a creative exercise.Losing track in the process of choice-making is difficult when we assess our behavior as a mistaken attempt.

 The renowned chef, author and T.V. personality Julia Child is a case in point. When she accidentally dropped a dish (or) prematurely added an ingredient out of sequence, she would remark,"... If you can't fix it, feature it ! ".Thus some may conclude that there is no room for mistakes and that spontaneity is always the pitfall of a creative pursuit. Nonsense! Improvisations are all a part of the creative process, of which distractions are inevitable.

Below is a recent attempt at Art Nouveau (done on a wood panel, not on a rock as of yet )










Thursday, January 4, 2024

Conformity and balance

  It is not unusual for me to paint a rock and add a design that intentionally conforms to the shape of the rock.Usually the work can be symmetrical, as the look will retain some semblance of balance.The rocks below were painted with a gold puff paint which doesn't include that regular glow-in-the-dark feature.The strokes are modified with an exacto knife that sweeps to a point, as if applied using a very small brush.The rock is then dried and clear-coated with resin,for a high gloss finish and water-proof protection.

  These stones are pocket size and are intended for use as a meditation device,or what one may call a "Worry Stone" to alleviate anxiety. It can be used to calm the nerves as it is rubbed with your fingers before making a speech or watching a closely contested sports event. Usually any activity which may produce an uncomfortable sense of dread, which is only human when anticipating certain outcomes.