Monday, December 19, 2022


Title: Painting Stones: How to Turn Rocks and Pebbles into Mini Works of Art

Author: Marion Kaiser

Publisher: Search Press

Pages: 96

My GoodReads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

It was the cover that first drew my attention to this little book; the penguin was my favourite. My daughter had taken to painting pebbles during the pandemic, so I downloaded this book for her. This review contains her opinions, as well as mine.

The book is divided into two sections. Basics tells us where to buy stones from, the right paints and brushes needed, the painting techniques used and also how to care for the brushes.

The larger section, Projects, provides instructions and photographs of projects that the author has completed. The cover of this section shows us a stone with a chalky leaf painted on it.

Each project begins with information about the materials and colours required, followed by a bit of trivia. Each of the projects is linked to a certain quality. The link is stretched further through a bit of trivia, or a wish, or an expression for gratitude. This was sometimes done effectively. Mostly it appeared forced, an unnecessary attempt to inject philosophy.

Here’s a breakdown of what we thought about each of these:

Ladybug (Luck): The Luck came of finding stones of the right shape. The ladybug painted was rather cute.

Clownfish (Transformation): The project with the clownfish had an interesting bit of trivia, about how after the death of the only female, the largest male changes sex and takes over the role of the female.

Lizard (Relaxation): My daughter was impressed with the mixing of the black and white to get grey and the other colours painted in later to get the metallic effect on the lizard. She wished the author had given details about how to paint the lizard’s shadow as suggested in point 4. All she says is, Paint the shadow that the lizard casts on the stone using lots of water and a little black paint. My daughter said that more details would have helped, as painting shadows is difficult. 

Goldfish (Courage): Again, more details about how to paint droplets would have helped. Also, Goldfish should have been linked with Calmness.

Bee (Devotion): This one was beautiful. The end result looked embroidered. My little girl described it as Christmassy, chiefly because of the knit clothing that the bee is wearing. This link was one of the few that made sense. The author says, "Treat yourself with kindness: feed your inner bee with honey."

Cottage (Safety): This one was really pretty. It looked like an illustration from a children’s book.

Guardian Angel (Protection): The guardian angel had a rather creepy expression.

Panda (Conservation): The shading on the fur was superb. The musing on the panda’s link to the theme was vague.

Penguin (Patience): The author says, Raising a chick in the cold of Antarctica requires a lot of stamina and devotion. This makes no sense, given that Antarctica is the penguin’s natural habitat.

Mouse (Openness): The mouse hides in dark places. The theme of Openness doesn’t fit.

The others projects and themes were Feather (Serenity), Swan (Love), Yellow Mandala (Peace), Dragonfly (Calmness), Elephant (Wisdom), Blue Mandala (Joy), Dandelion (Letting Go), Cat (Healing), Dragon (Freedom) and Turtle (Confidence).

There are plenty of instructions to explain the simple drawings, but only a sentence to cover the tricky bits like shadows or droplets or other 3D effects. Sometimes the author says, use white, but whether she means pencil or paint is left to use to guess. Where the author mentions colours, she doesn’t indicate the shade. There’s a great difference between leaf green and bottle green. The author advises use of “your thickest” or “finest brush”. My daughter said, the author should have told us about the size of her stone and the size of brush she used.

It’s obvious that the author has gone to great lengths to find the right stones that will heighten the aesthetic effect.

What enlivened this book for us was the inclusion of the photographs. They are all beautiful shots. The author has taken great pains to frame the images well.

(I read this book on Edelweiss. Thank you to the author, the publisher and Edelweiss.) 

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