“We went to three different stores looking for the best rocks,” Ellen Lederer-DeFrancesco, creator of the Oceanside Oceanside NY Painted Rocks Facebook page, said. She was hosting a small gathering of rock painters in her home, and told the other parents assembled how she organized the get together so they might do the same.
They got the best rocks, provided by Island Hopper, in Island Park, free of charge because Ellen’s husband is a veteran. Then, they spent about 45 minutes spray-painting each one chalk-white, to help the paint markers show up more clearly the next day.
Around 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12, the population of the Lederer-DeFrancesco home jumped from two parents and three kids, to six parents, six kids and a reporter. Within minutes of arriving, everyone had a white-painted rock in their hands, and, wielding paint markers, got busy adding their personal touches to the stones.
Many of the children, including 3-year old Billie Wofsy took an abstract expressionist approach with their rocks, smattering the colors on liberally, in a clear homage to Jackson Pollock. Sebastian Adelman, 6, drew a disembodied eye on his rock, blending the surrealism of Rene Magritte, with the geometry and color scheme of the Hopi petroglyphs of the American southwest.
The impetus for rock painting, Ellen said, is twofold. First, it brings people together who wouldn’t normally spend time together. Second, it encourages the spreading of positivity. “Every rock is an invitation to join us at our next rock painting event,” Ellen said, pointing to the writing on the back of one of the stones, which implored those who discovered it to join the Facebook page.
The page has almost 300 members, and Ellen hopes that as more people join, more people will hold rock painting events in their homes.