NL Rock Art Rocks the Province

This summer it seemed like the entire province got stoned. That is to say, that it seems as if everyone and their dog was painting rocks and posting them to the Facebook group NL Rock Art. The Racket spoke with page administrator Karen Young about the group, why she started it, and how much it has taken off in the last little while.

Karen Young, creator of NL Rock Art painting a new pebble.

Karen Young, creator of NL Rock Art painting a new pebble.

“I am not that great a painter but I am interested in it and have taken some online courses in things like abstract flowers and abstract landscapes just for fun in my spare time,” said Young. “So when I started seeing painted rocks pop up in social media I thought it would be a fun thing to try.”

Young said she soon realized that the painted rocks were part of The Kindness Rocks Project, a viral trend originating in the United States in which people, usually children paint pebbles, or rocks and leave them for others to find and collect. Participants post photos of the painted rocks along with hints as to where them. These photos are usually shared on Facebook groups similar to NL Rock Art with groups all over the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand.  

“I started painting rocks and placing them around Paradise, Mount Pearl, and St. John’s,” said Young. “I particularly liked placing them around Neil’s Pond since I walk there frequently in hopes that people would happen upon them and brighten their day.”

An example of some of the art you can find on NL Rock Art

An example of some of the art you can find on NL Rock Art

Young said she was already a member of a couple of rock painting groups on Facebook and would share some of the rocks she painted and hid but those groups were based in the states. “I could not find a Newfoundland based group so I decided to create one. I was hoping it would attract some like-minded people who were either already doing this too, or liked the idea enough to start.”

NL Rock Art went live in late August 2017 and attracted a little more than 300 members. “It was catching on locally and I was really happy to have other people hiding rocks other than myself,” said Young. In the two years since, NL Rock Art has grown to just over 31,000 members, a feat that Young called “mind-boggling”.

An example of some of the art you can find on NL Rock Art

An example of some of the art you can find on NL Rock Art

You can find just about anyone on NL Rock Art; young and old, professional artists, and people who have never painted before. Young believes that this is why the group has become so successful. “Rocks are fun to paint, and then there is the fun task of hiding them about,” she said. “Though it was not the original intent to ‘search’ for rocks since many hide them along walking trails, people will often search through these trails for hidden rocks which can be a lot of fun. And finally, it is fun to share what we paint and what we find on the Facebook page.”

Young said she has no immediate plans for NL Rock Art other than to keep the page running as smoothly as possible. “My goal, in general, is to keep the page one hundred percent positive- no complaining, no arguing. Part of what people like about the site is that it is a feel-good place to visit.