The Challenge of THICK Stones

For the most part, I choose fairly flat stones to become Alchemy Stones. Painting on a flat-- or flat-ish, at least-- surface makes the most sense to me. As I am not formally trained in graphic design or architecture, I really don't have much experience with working with three-dimensional art and drawing.

A few of the stones I bring home are quite thick and round-- for various reasons, they were "appealing" enough that I wanted to work with them.

Most of the time, I can examine a stone-- hold it, touch it, turn it-- for a while, after which it will "tell me" how to paint it. On thick stones, there are usually "ridges" and "spines," as well as some relatively "flat" planes that can become natural parts of the design.

As I have pointed out before, it is important to me that the stone and design fit "naturally" together. There's much more to an Alchemy Stone than just "slapping some paint on a rock."


Alchemy Stones with "Vine" and "Garland" designs

I have been a fan of "long" stones for a really long time, and the beaches around here seems to have quite a few of them.

Perhaps their relative "rarity" is part of what appeals to me.

Everything we find on the beach gets "tumbled" by surf, sand and other rocks. If you have ever stood by a rocky shore during (or after) a storm, you know that waves breaking on the beach-- aside from their majestic beauty-- can be a very violent process. "Long skinny" rocks are relative rarities because they are more likely to break in half in rough surf.

A "long" stone presents a completely different design challenge from a round stone. Whereas it is certainly possible to create some "version" of a round symmetrical "mandala" style design, long rocks lend themselves better to what I call a "garland" or "vine" type design.

What I mean by that is that I like to use the curves and shape of the stone and "wrap" the design around it. Sometimes the stone will have a soft curve, a bit like a banana, and I try to work with these subtle natural shapes. The core idea behind an Alchemy Stone is to always try to make the decoration and stone seem like they "naturally belong" together.