Rockin’ It This Mornin’

I love rocks. I get mixed results though when I’m drawing them. Sometimes, they’re barely recognizable for what they are, yet at other times I create fairly-decent looking rocks.

In painting, the results are even more mixed. Sometimes my rocks are looking good; other times they turn into disasters.

I was really pleased last year when I painted this River RockI got a bit of depth and dimension to it and even a slight bit of shadow in the water. The color and the surface texture actually make it look like a big rock.

River Bend

Later, with this painting… well, I didn’t care much for the rest of the scene, but I was happy with the rocky ledge I added.

Ruined Painting

And in one of my favorite paintings, I liked the rocks in the foreground.

Finished and Framed

I thought some of these rocks looked really good.

Framed Cove Painting

After those successes, however, my rocks took a definite downhill slide.

I struggled with this rock in one of my my first attempts at a seacape:

Framed Seascape

It only got worse as I re-did these rocks over and over and never could get them right.

Disasters Happen

Since then, I’ve been hesitant to even try painting rocks. But last week my husband and I drove to  Springfield, Missouri, and all along the way I saw such incredible rock formations. I wish I could have taken photographs.

Rocks have been on my mind since then, so this morning I set about putting rocks into a painting I had on my easel. I’m only showing a small part of the canvas because I’ve really ruined the rest of the scene. But, no matter. It gave me a chance to practice painting rocks without worrying too much about the results.

As I’m being more impressionist in my art now, I wanted to play with shapes and colors, and I enjoyed painting these rocks with bits of grass growing around them.

Impressionist Rocks

I see potential in these rocks, and I’m excited to paint more. Big rocks, little rocks, and maybe one day I’ll even try rocks in the ocean again. Or, maybe not. Maybe I’ll must keep rockin’ it with my colorful little rocks. For me, they’re stepping stones to better art.


  1. I’m glad you like rocks. They’re one of my least favorite things to paint. Despite my best efforts I really struggle with them. I’m currently painting a whole landscape of rocks which I very quickly regretted, but I’m trying to finish it. Good luck with your own rocks.

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    1. Thanks. I’ve been sketching out a practice painting with a whole landscape of rocks. I haven’t started painting it yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Of course, once I get started, I might find myself regretting it and wishing I’d never thought of painting rocks. Good luck to you, too.

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    1. Good idea! Right now I’m mostly working on smaller canvases, so I’m not sure I could handle a palette knife, but on larger paintings that would be an excellent way to paint rocks.

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  2. Capturing nature on canvas is really challenging! Not long ago rocks in a waterfall scene turned into boulders as I painted them! I’ve found that besides getting shadows in the right places, highlights are important to give them form and shape; it’s done with the use of dark and light colors, giving the illusion of textures, cracks, and uneven surfaces. Easier said than done though! What has to be practiced is putting down the paint strokes and leaving them alone, not overworking and muddying up the rocks!

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    1. You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head with that last comment. That’s exactly the problem I have. I keep tweaking, end up ruining rocks that once looked good, I get frustrated, I start over, and the whole process repeats itself. I also find it really difficult at times to “see” where the lights and shadows fall unless I have a very good reference photo. I love when I get it right, but most of the time… well, that’s how I end up tweaking, overworking, and muddying up my rocks.


    1. That’s something I’m working on now… trying to think in terms of shapes and colors instead of rocks, trees, and things. It’s a challenge for me. I can’t quite get free of the “things”.


    1. Oh, how I struggled with green! When I first started painting I didn’t understand how green could be so difficult — until I started using it. With my oil painting, I finally sat down and used several blues and yellows to mix greens with, figuring out what I liked best for my personal color palette. Sometimes in painting, I do get it right, but it’s still always a challenge. I love your paintings. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your art, and I appreciate your visits to my blog.

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  3. I love rocks. Especially large flat ones you find in beaches. I lived in the Hamptons for a while and my favorite beach activity was making rock towers. I really see your progress here. Keep going.

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