Thursday, March 28, 2013

Painted Rocks: My Process for Creating Butterfly Kitty Cats


painted rocks, kitty, cat, eyes, Cindy ThomasMy creative juices started flowing the other day when I spied several flat, oddly-shaped stones in my rock pile.

The shapes and natural colors of these stones seemed ideal for painting half of a cat's face. The goal was to keep it simple with one eye-catching feature - the cat's eyes!


First, I traced the stone shape on a piece of paper and sketched my idea to see if it would work.

cats, stones, unpainted, rocks, design, sketch, idea
The initial design sketch


I was pleased with the effect and started painting my kitties with these two simple features:
  • A pinkish nose
  • White whiskers highlighted with gray

Because I was leaving most of the stone unpainted, I wanted my focal point to be each cat's eye.  I chose yellow, green and blue eye colors and added more detail to this specific facial feature for each kitty cat stone.

painted rocks, stones, cats, kitties, half, face, eyes
The eyes are the focal point on these painted stones

I liked the result and when I placed the two larger stones next to each other, I had an "Aha moment." Why not create a complete cat's face? I used my graphic viewer and flipped a 2nd image of the painted stone to complete each face. The kitty cat became symmetrical on both sides like a butterfly.

As you can see below, some stones worked better than others when creating a complete face.

painted rocks, cats, kitties, stones, rock painting, Cindy Thomas
Butterfly Stone Kitty Cats

It was a fun surprise to see each kitty's face after the original and flipped image were combined.

Ideas
  • Find stones that closely match in shape and size and paint left and right sides of the face. Then mix and match for funny kitty faces
  • Glue a half-face stony kitty to a stick and use for a bookmark or plant accessory
  • Instead of leaving the stone's natural color, paint the rock black, white, calico, etc. before adding the nose, whiskers and eyes.
  • Place a half-face kitty stone strategically in a garden so it looks like a cat is hiding among the greenery.
  • Use this technique with other critters also - e.g., owls, dogs, bunnies. 

 A PURRfect solution for oddly-shaped stones!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Painted Rocks: A Painting Project for Teaching Your Child Colors and Numbers

Put your child on the road to learning success using this fun, skill-building, rock painting project.

painted rocks, ladybugs, colors, numbers
Painted Rock Ladybugs - A Fun Way to Learn Colors & Numbers

Perfect for preparing youngsters prior to their very first day of school, these colorful ladybugs teach and reinforce basic skills, such as color & number recognition, counting skills, small to large concept, and basic addition & subtraction.

The learning process begins even before you pick up a paintbrush when you and your child find 10 ladybug-shaped stones, counting as you collect them. Collecting rocks and stones is a fun activity too!

unpainted rocks, smooth, stones
Stone shapes perfect for painted ladybugs


You can use this project in two ways:
  1. An adult paints the stones and uses them to teach and reinforce colors and numbers
  2. An adult (or older sibling) and child do the project together allowing the child to learn colors and numbers as the project progresses 

This rock painting project is available as an Amazon Kindle e-book and is FREE to borrow for Amazon Prime members.

painting rocks, ladybugs, step by step, project
Painting Step by Step: Teaching Colors, Teaching Numbers Using a Ladybugs Painting Project

Don't have a Kindle e-reader. No problem. Amazon offers FREE Kindle Reading Apps for smartphones, computers, and tablets. (I used the free computer app months before I purchased my Kindle e-reader.)

This Amazon Kindle e-book also includes access to the FREE PDF version of the project so you can download it to your computer and print the pages. 


Start painting ladybug color counters now.
 

Painting rocks is a fun, creative, inexpensive project for both children and adults. You'll be amazed how plain, ordinary rocks come alive with a little paint and imagination and can be used as teaching and learning tools.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

How Rock Painting Produces Great Joy

painted rocks, Stony Face, Cindy Thomas

I never thought rock painting would give myself and others great joy, but I've been able to warm hearts and brings smiles to faces worldwide with this unusual art craft.


It's given me even more joy to share my rock painting techniques, ideas, and projects on this blog, Pinterest, Facebook and now Amazon.com


The joy of a new grandson inspired me to create these ladybug color counters and write a how-to guide for painting them.

painted rocks, ladybugs, teaching colors, teaching numbers, Cindy Thomas
Ladybug Color Counters

You can learn more about my rock painting how-to books on Amazon's Cindy Thomas Author Page.


Find your joy! 


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Painted Rocks - An Experiment with Shaving Cream and Acrylics

Coloring eggs is a traditional Easter holiday activity that children enjoy and I wondered if something different could be done using rocks instead of hard-boiled eggs. 

I came across this idea using shaving cream and acrylic paints and decided to experiment with stones instead of paper.

This video also shows the process.

My 1st try using shaving cream & acrylic paint on paper

painted rocks, shaving cream
 My 1st result using a stone (smeared by my finger)


painted rocks, shaving cream, acrylic paint
My 2nd stone with a little peach color added (streaked by squeegee)
 
I experimented a second time using different stones:

Primed, egg-shaped smooth stones and natural, flat porous stones

and a new shaving cream/acrylic paint color combination:

Shaving cream and acrylic paint swirled and ready to go

Here's the result of both attempts using the shaving cream/acrylic paint process on stones.

painted rocks, shaving cream, acrylic paint
My results using primed and unprimed stones


What I learned:
  • Stones are heavy and sink into the shaving cream so the finished design is not as pretty and marbleized as when done using paper
  • If your stones are very smooth, you'll need to paint 1-2 coats of white, acrylic paint to prime them first
  • Painting the stones white helps the other colors show up better 
  • The stones are slippery when removing them from the shaving cream/acrylic and your fingers can "smear" some of the area when you remove them from the tray
  • Removing the shaving cream with a squeegee left streaks on the rocks (I also used string and an index card and had the same results)
  • This project is messy so you'll need to protect your work surface and have plenty of paper towels handy 
  • Once dry, you can protect the stones with a clear, polyurethane or acrylic sealer

Even though the results weren't as pretty as I hoped, this would still be a fun painting project for kids whether you use paper or stones.

Do you have any ideas for making this work better? 

Please comment. 


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Painted Rocks: Teaching Your Child Colors and Numbers with Painted Ladybugs Stones

painted rocks, ladybugs, teaching colors, teaching numbers, Cindy Thomas
Ladybug Color Counting Stones

Daylight savings time is here for some of us, Spring arrives next week, and Summer is not far behind.

Collecting and painting rocks is a fun activity to keep kids busy during Spring and Summer breaks. Why not combine fun with a learning experience by teaching young children their numbers and colors with painted ladybugs rocks.

Teaching concepts using the painted stone ladybugs are:
  • Color recognition
  • Number recognition
  • Counting skills
  • Small to large concept
  • Basic addition and subtraction

Get the kids outdoors and start collecting smooth round or oval rocks, counting as you go. As an added bonus, you will all get a little Vitamin N (nature).

Learn how to paint ladybug color counters on rocks.