Finding kindness between a rock and a hard place

Finding kindness between a rock and a hard place
Lena Shore places a ladybug-painted rock in a palm for a passer-by to discover.

Lena Shore credits rocks for helping her resolve her artistic blockage. Not just any old rocks, but ones that she paints. 

“I discovered rock painting a few weeks ago and find it to be very useful for relieving stress,” explained Shore. “When I was first introduced to rock painting through a friend, I said, ‘What is that?’ Rock painting is a cool thing to do.”

Rock painting is a craze that has taken wings across the globe. In Shore’s world, a rock she painted has gone internationally. “A friend traveled to the Netherlands last month and I sent along with her my most favorite rock – a painting of a lizard – which was also the first rock I painted,” said Shore.

Shore, 48, said the idea of rock painting is simple, “You paint rocks and leave them outside for people to find. It’s a random act of kindness initiative. The hope is someone will find your rock and it will make them happy!”

Shore’s painted lizard rock is on the Thinker on a Rock sculpture, created by Barry Flanagan, in the Neude Square in Utrecht, The Netherlands, thanks to neighbor Roxanne Henkle.

Shore’s painted lizard rock is on the Thinker on a Rock sculpture, created by Barry Flanagan, in the Neude Square in Utrecht, The Netherlands, thanks to neighbor Roxanne Henkle.

Shore noted a “rock initiative” via the Facebook group, Jacksonville Rocks. Information from the group’s page revealed that the group was created last October because a few people enjoyed what other rock painting communities were doing and wanted to join in the fun locally. The group’s page now boasts over 7,800 members and is steadily growing. Shore said when she joined in July, there were about 2,500 members.

As with any initiative, there are rules, explains Shore. “No hiding rocks in stores unless you have permission; no hiding in hospitals or national parks; and, no hiding in people’s yards because the rocks can be a hazard if a lawn mower or a piece of yard equipment should come in contact with the rock.”

Shore offers more information on her blog at to consider, including where to find rocks, suggestions on the types of paint to use, and places to hide the rocks. Her blog also features many of the rocks she has painted and hidden around the Riverside area.

“When my hubby, Kevin, and I are walking around our Oak Street neighborhood, we hide rocks. Memorial Park is a favorite spot,” added Shore. “I was in the park recently and saw what appeared to be a parent with two children rock hunting. This is a family fun activity but I’m anxious to see if the rock painting/hiding/finding craze dies off with the opening of the new school year.”

Either way it goes, Shore is glad she found out about rock painting because it has helped her to not become so stressed in her day-to-day business of graphic art and web design. “I have a background in creativity. My mom was an artist and taught me to do things, some of which are not being taught to kids as much today, like crochet and sewing. Dad did ‘dad stuff’ and I would help him sometimes in his garage.”

Shore’s creative passion led her to Stephen F. Austin State University (Texas) where she received her degree in Illustration and Graphic Design. Before starting her business, Lena Shore Web Designer, Graphic Design, Illustrator, Shore worked in print houses, on several publications and as a freelance designer. She was in Gainesville when she decided to relocate to Jacksonville. 

“I told Kevin that I couldn’t compete with the college students’ prices. I got a job in Jax as art director at MODIS and we purchased our Riverside home. We had visited Jacksonville on an earlier occasion and drove through the area looking at houses because we both love older homes. When we decided to move to Jacksonville, we knew this would be the area to live.”

Shore joked about her 23-year marriage to Kevin Pettway. “I decided I was through dating but mutual friends set us up on a blind date telling us both that we would either like or hate each other because we’re both art people. We spent a few days being brutally honest about ourselves and decided ‘I can live with that.’ Ten days later we made the decision to get married.”

The couple lives in their 100-year-old historic home with two dogs and three large freshwater aquariums. Shore promises herself that “as long as I can create what I want to and not grow weary about turning my creative stuff into work, I’m fine. I love my clients but I know at some point, I will take less clients and do more fine art…but doing the art as my release, because when it becomes work, it’s not fun anymore.”

By Phyllis Bell-Davis
Resident Community News

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