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  • Writer's pictureStephen Paul

We paint rocks and then throw them away

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

This is an excerpt from the hosting speech made at Sunday Assembly Reading, Nov 2018 by Stephen who was talking about the place of art in his life: performing with The Word of Bob, his music ....

And then most importantly, there is Lynda’s Rock Painting. The idea is we paint large pebbles, write, SAR Rocks on their base, hide them and await others to report their discovery through Facebook, and in turn, for the finders to hide the stones elsewhere. It’s a special thing - finding a small treasure left by a stranger - something they have worked on and given without expectation of anything in return.

But these rocks don’t paint themselves.

Last Sunday we met up enmasse in the Great Expectations pub to paint some.

Here are a few examples taken from the Facebook group

My attempt from Sunday was so bad that I hid it in a plastic container to sneak it out of the building unnoticed. At home I thought the stone would be better cleaned than continuing in the vandalised state I had inflicted upon it.

Interestingly, the stone resisted my attempt to completely remove the paint, and a subtle imprint remained of my efforts in the imperfections of stone’s surface - one that I liked for more than I expected or deserved from my efforts.

Unlike the concrete gains that science and technology give us, art often does seem superficial but its persistence in the pores of our ‘soul’ (however you want to define that), are often more meaningful than the wonders of a toaster or a MRI scanner. To rebel or dismiss either of those kingdoms of art and science is to render one only half human.

But what I gained from the time with that disobedient brush was to bond with Dave Brown, who’s confidence in the productiveness of decorating pebbles was so low that he even refused to hold one, yet we found solace in each others non-artfulness and where we didn’t share this art with shared thoughts and memories.

I’m sure today’s speaker Mary Genis, will put forward a powerful message of the ability of art to bind cultures and society, but from my observations I would arguing that the mere act of creating an environment for art has it benefits not just in creativity but giving permission for people just to gather. So, thank you Lynda (Chater), for you rock, as much as your rocks do.


Find the SA Reading Rocks Group here

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