Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to Tackle a Rock Painting Challenge

Have you ever agreed to paint a rock then asked yourself, "How am I going to paint THAT?!"

A request for Noah's Ark was my rock painting challenge because:
  • It was a complex design
  • I had not painted it on a rock in the past.
I learned (and now apply) these lessons to painted rock designs which seem more ambitious than my skill allows.

Lesson 1: Don't rush to paint. Keep the project in the back of your mind and ideas will start coming to you.

Instead of rushing to paint the Noah's Ark, I spent time:
  • Thinking about and finding suitable rocks for the project
  • Looking at pictures of animals and Noah's Ark
  • Gathering reference materials.

Before I could envision how to paint Noah's Ark, I needed a rock to paint on. I was fortunate to find 3 rocks of a suitable shape in varying sizes - small, medium, and large.

Lesson 2: Paint a practice rock. Test the design and try techniques on one or more practice rocks before tackling the "keeper."

I painted Noah's Ark on the smallest rock first. From this practice rock, I learned:
  • The paint color for the wood portion was too dark and did not feature enough interest
  • The wood-painted portion could have been lower to allow more room at the top for the animals
  • Something should be featured in the windows of the ark
  • It was best to paint the largest animal(s) first then select the remaining animals based on the space available.

Lesson 3: Test Designs and Colors. Try out colors and designs on paper before committing to the rock. Record the steps and paint colors you used.

Before continuing to paint on the medium-sized rock, I sketched a simple ark on paper and played with various paint color combinations for the wood portion of the ark. Noting the colors I used helped me recreate it on the rock.

The 2nd Noah's Ark I painted (medium-size rock) incorporated what I learned from painting the practice rock:
  • The painted wood portion was a lighter color and more interesting
  • More room was allowed at the top portion of the rock for the animals
  • The windows of the ark and the roof now featured animals
  • The animal selection and placement process was easier.

The Noah's Ark challenge wasn't daunting by the time I painted the 3rd and largest rock (which would be gifted to my friend).

Lesson 4: Use reference materials for inspiration and guidance. Don't feel you have to paint from memory.

I referred to photos and these how-to guides to paint the animals:
Note: When you click on certain links in this post, I may receive a commission for the purchase of products.

When you accept a challenge and push yourself to paint a complex design which you've never done before, the sense of accomplishment makes your spirit soar.

Have you been asked to paint a complex or challenging design on a rock? 
Try these tips.

Please leave a comment about your experience painting complex, challenging designs on rocks.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks


  1. Great advice. Not just for rock pAinting either! Don't rush, sleep on it, think of different ways to go.

    1. You're right! These tips could apply to many things. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Thank you, that is what I need to do.

    1. You're welcome, Betty, and thanks for your comment.