Today we have the Cindi Riley Rock Painting Interview. I first noticed Cindi’s rock paintings on the Facebook Whidbey Island Rock Painting Group and immediately loved her work.
When I was trying to come up with a Christmas present for my niece, I saw a rock she had painted of a girl with a cat hanging over her shoulder. I knew if I commissioned a rock for my niece with her beloved dog – it would make the perfect present.
My niece loved the rock and it warms my heart that it’s something she will treasure for her entire life.
I was able to even take a rock painting lesson with Cindi at her home. What a treat that was! Her collection of painted rocks was amazing! Every rock told a story.
The one thing that Cindi told me that made rock painting so special was that fact that unlike a painting that hangs on the wall, rock art you’re able to feel it and hold it for comfort if you want to. That is so true. It made me love rock painting a little bit more (I wasn’t sure that was possible!)
Here’s the Cindi Riley Rock Painting Artist Interview:
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and the art you create.
I did not start painting at all until my mid 20s. I took a few lessons in oils on canvas… painted on canvas for several years, then did not paint for over 20 years.
I currently live on Whidbey Island and I’m a wife, mother and granny!
How did you get started rock painting and how long have you been doing it?
I was in need of joy in my life, when a friend connected me onto the Whidbey Island rock painting group back when it had about 400 members. It took several other wonderful ladies in my life to convince me to give this rock painting thing a try.
All the different aspects of rock painting brought such joy into my life.. I have not been able to put it down.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Many of my rocks have children or animals in them. I have been a Preschool teacher/ childcare giver for over 30 years, so children and animals are my passion.
What has been your favorite rock you painted and why?
My favorite rock I painted is one I found with the claw marks already in the rock.. I felt a connection to the rock.. and wanted to do it justice, so I added the wolf which went perfectly with the claw marks. I don’t think this rock will ever leave me. 🙂
Do you like to jump from project or project or do you like to create clusters of themed stones?
I have a hard time parting with many of my rocks, so painting in clusters helps me, in letting go, and hiding them. I keep one of the cluster rocks, and hide the others. 🙂
If you’re having a hard time letting some of yours go, that trick might help you as well.
When you start a new series of rocks, do you sketch out the designs on paper or do you just start immediately on the stones?
Sometimes, I will play on paper first. Since I started painting on rocks, so much of the rock is a main part of my work, I find it easier to just sketch directly onto the rock.
Where do you get the beautiful rocks you paint on?
Most of the rocks that I use, I hand pick from the beaches that I walk on the Island where I live. I’m a very picky rock person. I pass up the thousands of rocks, just to find the right ones.
Is there a special brand of paint you like to use? Why is it your favorite?
Most of my paints are a mix up of what ever I have collected over the years at garage sales. It really does not take massive amounts of paint.. just only put out what you need, and it will last forever.
Don’t be afraid to try new things.
What are some of your other favorite supplies?
I have a fingernail buffing pad that I use to clean up any bumps or rough spots on the backs of my rocks made from the sealer. I love it.
Is there a special tool you can’t live without? If so why?
My liner brush is one I would not want to live without. Many of my rocks are painted with the use of only my liner brush.
It’s not just a 1 hair brush, but used the right way – it can make wide strokes or fine hair strokes.
Do you participate in the kindness rock movement in addition to selling your rocks?
Most definitely, that’s one of the most fun aspects of this rock painting thing… giving and sharing, knowing that it will bring a smile. At least 50 percent of the rocks I paint, are hidden for others to find.
I almost always have a couple rocks with me that are left along what ever path I might be wandering…
What do you wish you knew about rock painting before you got started?
I wish I knew that many types/brands of watercolors fade away in the light, not just sunlight, but light… so be sure to find light fastness colors, so that your artwork does not just vanish.
I had it happen, and it is very sad and disheartening. I found that most acrylics hold up well.
What are some of the key elements in creating a rock painting?
Having both light and dark colors. You need a balance.
What advice would you give to other rock painters?
Have fun, and never be afraid to try something new.
If you find something that you believe might be too hard for you.. the worst that will happen, is it looks different that you envisioned. Ha! That happens to me all the time. Just do it. Love it, and hide it…then someone else will love it also. Win, win.
What would you say to a beginning rock artist that didn’t feel his or her work was up to par?
We all start at the beginning, just know, that as you practice regularly, you will get better. Have fun, enjoy, and don’t be so hard on yourself.
What is the most challenging part of being a rock painter?
Many people do not see it as a real form of art, they think it is just a rock.. I love the fact that these rocks are so multi-dimensional in the way this art can be experienced, over other forms.
Can you share with us what a typical day rock painting looks like to you?
There are times when a thought or picture will come to mind, or be stuck to the inside of my eyelids.
I will try to quickly grab a rock that might work for that image, and sketch enough out, to capture my thought, then I will set down and paint it as soon as the time is available.
I sit in a recliner as I paint…I don’t know how you table painters do it. I need for my body to be relaxed so the work can just be enjoyed.
Where in your home do you paint?
I have all my supplies next to my recliner and I’m able to do everything from there.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
I really never know until inspiration hits. You can bet, they will have children, or animals involved. 🙂
How can people buy your artwork and find out more about you?
Thank you so much for all the kindnesses you have shown me. Hope to see you out there on the trails, hiding and hunting these beautiful forms of art.
Painted Rocks by Cindi Riley on Facebook, there is where most all the rocks I paint are posted, I have an album that is ever-changing. If you follow the page, you can see them first. Double click on the pictures to see the prices.
I would like to thank Cindi for taking the time to share with us her ideas and techniques. If you want to get started on rock painting – check out the resources below.
Here’s how you get started on Rock Painting:
You want smooth flat rocks to create your masterpiece unless an unusual rock acts as the body of your art piece. Keep your artwork ideas in mind when selecting the perfect stones.
Make sure you’re able to remove stones from where you find them. Removing stones from National and state parks isn’t okay. Taking rocks from waterways can also be against the rules. It’s also illegal to take rocks from railroad tracks.
If you live in an area that it’s hard to find rocks, head over to your nearest home improvement center, landscape supply store and garden centers to purchase some. Amazon ships this 30 pound bag of rocks for a great price.
Paint won’t stick to dirty rocks. A smooth surface is what we’re aiming for, so washing your rocks in warm water and soap will ensure that. You might want scrub it with an old toothbrush to make sure all debris is removed. Allow rocks to dry before painting.
If there is any light bumps or grit on your rock, you can sand using 150 grit sandpaper.
For best results, you’ll want to prime your rocks especially if the rock is pitted. This gesso primer is perfect for smooth results. You can find out more here.
Use acrylic patio paint for best results if you will be hiding your rocks outside. Adding a white layer before painting the color you want makes it pop. Let each layer of paint dry before applying the next layer. You can find acrylic patio paints here.
Shift paint is paint that shifts color as you look at what you painted. Shift paint can be found here.
6) Paint Brushes
A selection of various sized paint brushes will help you create the perfect look you are going for. This set has an amazing variety of sizes. They say watercolor paint brushes, but work wonderfully with acrylic paint. You can find them here.
Adding text with markers is easier than painting words. Through trial and error, I have found that Posca Markers work best for rock painting. Make sure you look at the tip size before purchasing to make sure you have the right size. I use the Ultra thin tip for outlining and writing words. You can find them here.
You could also buy this amazing set on Amazon. It’s the BUNDLE SET.
8) Fineline Applicator
This Fineline Applicator lets you control your artwork. You can find a set here.
These Fineline Applicator tops easily screw on to your paint. You can find them here.
Dotting tools make perfectly round dots. You can find a set on Amazon for an AMAZING price.
Here’s an inexpensive set of dotting tools and paint brushes combined. You can find them here.
This is one of the most important steps to rock painting. All that hard work that you put into your stone would be wasted with any type of moisture. You want a seal that won’t curdle if the stones are subject to the outdoor weather. Krylon Colormaster Spray is what I use. Two thin coats works best.
You could also use Krylon Low Odor Clear Finish. You can find it here.
For a non-toxic sealer, you can use DecoArt Varnish. You can find it here.
11) Brush Cleaner
How many have us have been guilty of not cleaning our brushes right away and throwing out a rarely used brush because of it? Soak your paint brushes in this and you’ll never have to do that again.
12) Brush Stand
It’s important to stay organized while you’re painting rocks. This wonderful paint brush stand will have your brushes ready when you want to paint. You can find it here.
If you have a special rock that you want to display, you’ll need a display stand. You can find the three prong tulip display stand here. (The price is for 6 stands.)
Here are my favorite books on rock painting. You can’t beat the price and you learn so many different styles. The Art of Stone Painting is a treasure chest full of amazing art that teaches you to create them too. You can find it here.
Mandala Stones will teach you how to master your dotting. You can find it here.
Art on the Rocks: 35 Rock Painting Projects and Tips. You can find it here.
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Make sure you pin the post below so you can refer back to it again and again.
Don’t forget to check out Rock Painting Ideas & Resources Facebook group here.
Thank you so much for visiting. Check out our other blog posts on rock painting. Rock On!
thank you for this article. Love cindi’s work. I discovered her art on another group. So inspirational.
Rock Painting says
Yes, Cindi is so amazing. Love her work.