Painting, hiding stones, a “random act of kindness” which has global reach

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You are walking in the woods and out of the corner of your eye you see something colorful.

Hidden in the hollow of a tree or under a bush and often on the back, there is a friendly note: “Post to Halifax Rocks on Facebook. Keep or hide.

According to the Halifax Rocks page, “ralking” – painting, hiding and finding rocks – is a “random act of kindness, a gift to keep or hide from a stranger.”

In just a few years, the Facebook group has grown from a dozen friends and family of founder Ivan Graham to over 17,000 members.

“I’m not an artist by any means, but I thought I could do it and I could definitely start the Facebook group,” he said.

Global Tracking

Graham said the ralking has attracted a worldwide audience.

“They are all over the country,” he said. “They’re big in the United States, they’re big in Europe. We had contact with groups in Switzerland, and some people here – when they were going to the Caribbean – would leave stones there and they would be found by people in Europe and bring them back to Scotland, England or Germany or whatever. “

One of Lawrence’s creations placed along a path. (Ross Laurent)

Sometimes “overwhelming” response

The artwork by Ross Lawrence, who daytime works as a residential counselor with Metro Community Housing, has become popular among rock scholars in the Halifax area.

“Some days it’s a little overwhelming. It surprises me sometimes how many people really admire my work and ask me if I ever make any orders,” Lawrence said. “It really makes me feel good about myself as an artist.”

Lawrence recently painted a collection of winter and vacation themed rocks to hide around the HRM. (Ross Laurent)

He recently painted a winter and holiday themed rock collection that included a certain talking Christmas tree resurrected this year.

“I kind of thought it would probably be fun to make a Woody rock and put it out there and see what people think about it,” he said.

Some keen researchers weren’t far behind after posting on the Halifax Rocks page that he was heading to Shubie Park in Dartmouth to hide his creations.

A woman said in a message that she rushed to the park to find one for herself. She arrived empty-handed despite more than 8,000 steps.

Smith and his seven-year-old daughter, Serena, say they plan to keep Woody Rock and display it for years to come. (Designs Meaghan Downey / MNEO)

Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. For Diane Smith and her 7-year-old daughter, Serena, the timing was perfect.

“The people who painted it [the Woody rock] stood next to me and I asked mum if we could take the boulder and they heard me and they said yes, ”Serena said.

Smith said it was the first time his daughter had heard of Woody.

For those who don’t know, Woody the Talking Christmas Tree delighted and terrified children for over 25 years at the Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth before retiring in 2007.

The famous Hali tree made a comeback last week – it looks like he’s had a facelift, Botox, and eyelash extensions.

“It was a nice little walk in the past,” said Smith.

Growing up in the fishing village of Prospect, Nova Scotia left its mark on Lawrence’s art. (Ross Laurent)

“We’re going to keep it forever and ever,” Serena said. “It is really awesome.”

There are a few rules to follow if you want to participate. People are also urged not to remove rocks from parks and beaches and to stay away from commercial properties.

Lawrence says he takes inspiration from everywhere, like the legend of Glooscap’s creation. (Ross Laurent)

Bob Ross an inspiration

Lawrence said he takes inspiration from many places, but the landscapes have special meaning to someone who grew up in the sea-swept region of Prospect, outside of Halifax.

“Growing up, I loved watching Bob Ross and the way Bob Ross painted his paintings, so I kind of take inspiration from his work.” he said.

You never know where you might stumble upon the works of Ross Lawrence. (Ross Laurent)

Lawrence said it takes him anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to paint his designs using acrylic paint and varnish to preserve the artwork. He said about 70% of his rocks were found and tagged in the Facebook group.

“I’m really happy that people are enjoying my rocks and I really love reading the comments people make, especially these comments about how they make a personal connection to this,” he said.

“I really love that my work really touches people in so many different ways.”

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