Mother’s Day on the Rocks / painting on the rocks

            A beautiful painting for Mother’s day; painted on a rock.

Here is an opportunity to do something special for mom that reminds her that you love her.  And you set it in stone.

IMG_1897     Here is the reference painting , painted on a rock a few weeks back.

I have attempted to demonstrate this project in a way to make it easier for someone new to painting, who is willing to give it a shot the opportunity to paint a work of art, that mom will wonder how she missed that they knew how to paint .


starting on the rock
starting on the rock

The painting I will demonstrate, as well as the one you (may) do will turn out similar yet just as nice when finished.

I started with this rock here that I pulled out of the creek in the back side of the lawn on my parents property. ( approximate dimensions  10.25”long by 9.65”at its widest point and about 0.75”thick ) If you are unable to get a nice rock from a creek or river bank near you , you can go to a place like Lowes or Home depot and pick up a patio paver to work with ( a flat cider block will simply require a little more paint).

IMG_1899  IMG_1901   The supplies needed to do this Mother’s day painting were; Studio grade artist acrylic paint; Zinsser primer ( acrylic gesso will work too );  acrylic gloss; Rustoleum clear gloss; a few paint brushes;  The paint color are from left to right…Phthalo blue, medium yellow(this brand quite bright) Quidacridone Crimson, Zinsser water based primer ( I also use this to tint colors ); burnt sienna; magenta; and titanium white; not seen is mars black and ultramarine blue, or the acrylic clear gloss.

IMG_1900     (You will also need a small container to mix some of the primer and thalo blue in).  After rinsing the rock off with plain water I patted it dry with a rag ( used blue cleaning cloth). The rock did not need to be absolutely dry.  I added about 2 ounces of primer and a very small amount of the blue (thalos are pretty intense colors) and stirred them together to make a sky blue, then painted the top and sides of the rock. Two coats are best. The second coat is not given time to dry before the next step is applied.

IMG_1904IMG_1905IMG_1906   For this step each of the colors was applied separately then the fan brush was used to blend the streaks in slightly.  By dipping the tip of a fan brush in the colors you can control the paint streaks. White was also streaked in for it to be seen as well as mellow out the other colors a little more. If during the blending process a color or two blend too much just add some more to that area.

IMG_1907IMG_1908 Now let this IMG_1909IMG_1910background color dry before moving forward.

Now it is time to begin painting some of the flowers ( though make-believe flowers they remind me of lilac blossoms, or what they call butterfly flowers).  To get the first color I took some of the crimson and a little of the thalo blue and mixed them with a small amount of titanium white to get a deep violet or indigo (but not over mixing the colors). Then taking a well-worn 3/4” flat (you can use the stencil brush for this) I began dabbing this color on the rock-forming the shape of the flowers on the right side.  Now for the flowers on the left side using the blue and red again the color was mixed with white but left on the purple/ lavender side and dabbed on.  To build these flowers up I applied a darker shade of these colors to the bottom side of each flower, then a lighter than the middle part of the flower to the tops.  Then taking some white I highlighted the tops of the flowers. ( you can simply lighten the previous color more to make the highlight if you prefer).   I also very lightly dabbed in some green and yellow to the flowers giving the hint that those need to develop more. ( Usually it is pre-determined where the light is coming from, for this painting we can think of the light being over head and a little behind us.. this will help as you apply the darks and light colors that will be mentioned).

IMG_1913IMG_1914IMG_1915        You can add IMG_1917the leaves now but might prefer to let the flowers dry first. Working wet in to wet can be tricky. I did not mention a green paint in the supplies list because I mix the greens using different blues and yellows. You can work with thalo green if you want.

Placing some of the blue on the paint tray and mixing in a little yellow plus a touch of red , a dark  green color was made.  Dipping the 1/2” flat brush in this color the leaves were applied using a short   ( S ) stroke. in sets of three. one right, one left, one in front in the middle. You can apply the leaves as you like,  to help give form to the painting. Now add a touch of yellow to the green you made, or make some more green without any red, and add the yellow plus a little white. Using this light color green apply  it to the top parts of your leaves.

Once that is done they can be left to dry.  If you see later that more dark or light color needs to be added you can do so at that time. ( It is true that there is much more detail that could be added to really make the parts of the picture stand out but for now we are painting a nice picture for mom that is to be easy enough for a new painter to do ).

IMG_1917    Having the leaves on now some small twigs can be added. Twigs are made using short lines of brown paint with a touch of black and white mixed in. The twigs should be short with little off-shoots.  Some form can be given to these branches by applying a darker mixture to one side of the branch , and a little lighter color to parts of the upper side.

The two photos are identical here , we will add some additional flowers now to brighten up the composition , and break up the other colors some.  I used pink, made by mixing some red with the white ( without over mixing) then dabbed this mixture at random spots in the picture. Also mixing yellow with a little white  a few yellow flowers were added. This part of the painting is done.

        We will call this above, part one, of a two-part Painting project. You can and should take a much-needed break.

IMG_1918IMG_1919IMG_1920IMG_1921    Time to paint your humming-bird and a couple butterflies.

For the humming-bird you can look up images on Google, or photos from one of the many sites;Deposit Photo. Dreams Time , Pixaby and more.  Then as I did brush in the basic shape of the little guy. I use white and tinted it .

Next I mixed some green, lighter though than the final green will be, then applied this over the base. For the underbelly I used a yellow, light brown and a hint of green, you can get a good idea as to how you can go by referring  to your selected picture.  Next I built up the green and added the tail feathers ,feet, nose (beak ? ), and eye.

My Hummer is similar to a Ruby throat( though a true Ruby might not think so ). So after the body colors were built up highlights using white was applied to the nose , eye, feet and tail.

IMG_1922IMG_1923IMG_1925  Now to some imaginary butterflies.

for these basic and quick butterflies I used the same brush stroke as I did for the leaves.

the bottom or tail piece was applied first, then what will be the back wing.

Once the back wing is in place the next stroke is applied just under it( which does not show up very well in the photo).

Now I painted black lines to outline the wings. this also brings the forward wing into view. The body was added with black paint, wider at the front to a narrow back, then white dots were added.

IMG_1926    This is the completed painting that will soon have the acrylic gloss applied, and a coat or two of the Rustoleum ,interior,exterior gloss should this be placed outdoors.

I trust that you found this a helpful piece. It is the first project that I have done providing this much more detail.  I will be glad to answer any questions you may have,  and take heart to any criticisms .  Thankyou. and Good Painting.


I would enjoy hearing from you.