Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rock Painting Workshop

This past weekend I had the privilege of being invited to give a workshop on rock painting at the Rural Women's Conference in Binghamton, NY. This was the fourth year for the conference whose purpose is to provide an opportunity for rural women who often experience isolation due to "location, launguage, culture, or resources" to come together to network and develop strategies for change.

These workshops are usually geared towards health, social justice, domestic violence, families, and various resources. This year they decided to offer two creativity workshops as well, acknowledging that this is an area that is often neglected and yet so important to nourishing a healthy life.

Jill Austen was asked to do a session on storytelling, encouraging women to examine their own stories after hearing one that she would share. I was to provide a class in rock painting. As Jill and I were discussing how to arrange the room, we decided that the two workshops could blend together very well. I often find that the stones I paint tell stories, they allow people to share the things that are important in their lives, the things that make them laugh, or that give meaning to their days.

Rock painting is a great way to get people to engage in art. So many folks tell me about how they used to do it as a child. It's so unintimidating - you can start with just some color. Maybe the shape suggests a theme. And the focus on something small is utterly relaxing. The women who attended the workshop were exclaiming how wonderful it felt to just have a little time and space to play like that.
I love the idea that I am able to take something simple like this, that has added so much joy to my life, that has led me to a very different way of being in the world, and share it with a larger community. Creativity is contagious.


  1. what a wonderful experience. I use to paint rocks and try to sell them to adults in our neighborhood lol. Now I just collect them for when my daughter is old enough to start her painting.

  2. She has a treat in store for her! And you do, too!