Virginia Forst Delaware River

As a self-taught artist, I have been drawing and painting for over 20 years. My early career focused on using colored pencil to draw pet portraits on bristol board. Over the past two years, I’ve added painting with acrylics on river rocks. I have a special interest in children’s art, and I encourage children to express themselves through the world of art.

I had the chance to sit down and be interviewed about my passion for rock painting. Here’s my Question and Answer session in full.

How often do you search for rocks?
I go rock hunting about six times a year and/or as many times as I need a specific type of rock. For example, if I need a frog to paint and don’t have a “frog rock” readily available at my house, then it requires a trip to get one (or several!).

Where do you find them?
I find and get rocks many different places such as quarries, landscaping nurseries, creeks, streams and some river beds, as well as while I am hiking in the mountains. I am very selective with the rocks for smoothness and shape, especially if it is for a specific job.

What made you decide to start using acrylics on river rocks?
I had to find something to do with my crazy rock obsession, so I decided to combine my passion for rocks with my passion for art. I also started to see “things” in rocks that begged to be painted, so I gladly obliged. For example, I found a rock that was shaped perfectly as a duck, so I painted it a duck. He found a happy home and his owner named him “Chauncy.”

duck rock 8

What do you love so much about rock painting? Instead of another medium.
I love the fact that rocks are a part of Mother Earth and have been around for thousands of years. Think of the rock cycle and what each rock has been through – holding rocks and painting on them connects me with nature in a spiritual sense, and I love the natural, 3-D canvas that rocks provide. It kind of gives the entire piece, the rock and the art together, life.

Is your house covered in river rocks? Do people joke about it with you?
Yes I do have a large collection of all types of rocks but I try to keep them outside, organized in buckets by shape or type of rock that I will be using it for, such as butterfly rocks, owl rocks, portrait rocks, marbled rocks, heart shaped rocks, etc. I think my neighbors wonder what the heck I have in all those buckets and why am I always playing with rocks.

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How did you get the idea for Hot Rocks?
The name Hot Rocks was a name that someone gave to me at work. I would bring in a painted “rock of the week” to use as a paper weight for that week. A regular customer would see these rocks and started calling me “Hot Rocks”. This was at the same time that I was trying to think of a name for my business, when that customer came in again, he said “hey Hot Rocks”, and I said THAT is a great name for my business.

How does it make you feel to teach a class/have a party where people get to create art when they think they can’t? Having a painting party is all about doing something different and having fun. So regardless of people’s ideas about their own talents, we aim to have a good time. So if everyone has fun at the painting party and maybe has learned a thing or two, then it’s all good and I have accomplished my goal which makes me very happy!

What is the thing people say to you most often after a class/party OR when they see your rocks?
People most often say, “Hey that was a lot of fun, I had a great time! I didn’t realize that I could paint like that!”