Rock Painting Turns Rocks Into Gold

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An ancient art form is allowing modern artists to establish thriving careers. A layer of paint transforms ordinary rocks into amazing, three dimensional works of art.

Green Forest, AR Anyone with an artistic bent can now establish a home-based business at a rock bottom price.

Remember the fairy tale about spinning straw into gold? The notion of taking something worthless and turning it into something that has great value has timeless appeal. Now there’s a modern twist on this old story. Artists all over the country are discovering that ordinary rocks can be transformed with a bit of paint into amazing three-dimensional pieces of art.

“People still talk about those plain ‘Pet Rocks’ that were such a marketing coup back in the late 60’s,” says Lin Wellford, widely recognized as the spokesperson for modern rock painting. “Adding painted details creates pet rocks with personality. As a society, we are so crazy about our animals, and having a lifelike looking three-dimensional portrait of our beloved cat or dog is a wonderful way to celebrate their place in our lives.”

Wellford built up her own thriving cottage industry doing commissions for pet portraits and other rock art but found herself unable to keep up with the demand. “There are so many rocks out there,” she says, “I knew there was no way I could paint them all!”

Her solution was to write a series of books showing others how to turn rocks into art. Along with animals, her other books feature little rock houses and cottages and rock flowers that will never wilt. With almost a million copies sold worldwide, the books have become something of a phenomenon in the niche of craft publishing.

“People really connect with rocks,” Wellford notes. “They are so solid and real, and they represent a piece of the place they came from, making them perfect souvenirs. I’ve had many people tell me how they collected rocks for years and just piled them up until they heard about rock painting.”

Wellford’s first book came out in the mid-nineties, and since then, rock painting has grown exponentially. There are rock painting web groups on with thousands of members, and many entrepreneurial painters have placed websites online to market their work. Others sell their rock art work at the myriad craft shows and art fairs across the country.

“Rock painting is an ideal art form to establish as a business because it costs next to nothing to get started. Once a rock is painted, it is ready to sell,” Wellford notes. “Rock art is extremely easy to learn, and very satisfying to make. When a new artist sells something that they created, it can change their life because it allows them to see themselves in a new light; as a selling artist!”


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Lin Wellford
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