When Michelle Pratt started to go stir crazy from being cooped-up last summer, she found a way to get out of the house and connect with neighbors: She started painting the rocks in front of her Bonnie Brae home.
Newly arrived to Denver, Pratt was inspired by an artist in her native Michigan to use stones as her canvas. Not just any stones, of course, but ones whose shapes suggested a subject and whose surface was smooth enough for detailed paintings. Now, some 100 rocks later, she and her whimsical creations attract the attention of passersby.
Pratt planted the rocks in a rock garden in front of her house, poured a glass of wine, sat on her front porch, and waited. She didn’t have to wait long.
“It’s been a catalyst for us to meet people during COVID. People stop and look, and that leads to conversations. It’s been a needed connection to the outside world,” she said.
Children particularly seem attracted to the rocks, perhaps in part because of the pictures of Dr. Seuss characters, Sesame Street personalities, and lots and lots of candy wrappers. Sometimes, children “borrow,” the creations, but most usually make their way back, Pratt said.
She’s even attracted guest artists, which she discovered when some new painted rocks appeared around Halloween.
Each of the paintings has its own demands. Some are done quickly, while others take a few hours. Although she’s not a trained artist, Pratt said the paintings aren’t difficult.
But since they’re on rocks? They’re hard.
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