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The Story Of The Polar Bear Birthday Rock

‘As a dear friend was arriving for a visit, he handed me a large rock as he disembarked from his boat onto my dock, and then he said, “my birthday is coming up, this looks like a Polar Bear rock, would you paint it for me?” I sent him a friendly smile back, as an unreadable tad of panic set in and I was thinking, ‘Oh, My God, I hope so.’ “Sure,” I replied, hiding my uncertainty.’

The Polar Bear Birthday Rock.

I have painted animal rocks for years, but the reality is for me, (and I’ve not disclosed this before), when first Iook at a blank rock or stone I do have a vision, but I am never sure I can actually pull it off and make the painting look as to what I have in my mind. I am very hard on myself, and I know I have that lack of self-confidence sometimes.

My rock painting started because of my love of nature at the lake, and I have always had a desire to create things that are in line with the cabin world. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am not unfamiliar with artistic forms of painting in general. However, I do need to have help, and I need to have references with which to have as a starting point for a lot of my pieces. I don’t consider myself talented enough to just ‘wing it.’ The reason I am sharing this with you, is that I am trying to tell you that we don’t all have to be a Rembrandt to paint. Some of us just might be a Picasso, that is, a free-spirit as to how we interpret things. However, when I paint it is still my preference to be more of a realist, and therefore I generally like my animals rocks to look fairly realistic. That’s just me.

I have been doing Birthday rocks for years for my children. It has become a very endearing tradition and a special part of our cabin life. Both my children have birthdays that fall in the seasons that coincide with coming to the lake. Therefore, this has become a great way for me to make and give them something special, and these Birthday Rocks are a gift from my heart, not to mention a gift that a rock is a gift that lasts!

I have branched out and given others a Birthday Rock here and there, so this was not a surprise that my dear friend would ask me to paint one for him. I was just worried that he had a specific vision for this piece of stone. I could see his vision in my mind’s eye, but I have my reservations about whether I can accomplish it or not. Add to the mix that this man and his wife are very dear and old friends of mine, and therefore I would want to do a good job. I have known him since my childhood here, so most of my life, and I have known his wife since she delightfully arrived into his life and became a part of our circle of friendship.

Both of these people are highly creative and very talented individuals, so no pressure for me to do something to meet their expectations. (I say, tongue-in-cheek). He is a skilled man in the field of making wooden cabinetry and doors, and he has built their incredible home at the lake from the bottom up. He and his wife have done amazing things with their property. The thing I love most about him is the fact that his wife will say, “take down that wall, Honey, we are building a new room and reconfiguring the house again,” and he will do it. I have such envy.

His wife is also highly and incredibly creative. She is a designer with a delightful eye for decoration and design. She is a fabric artist and sews and quilts the most beautiful things. Both of them are amazing gardeners, landscapers, and chefs. Many delectable meals have been graciously cooked and enjoyed with these two.

So, when my friend asks me to paint him a Birthday Rock, of course I will. Will it turn out well, I guess we shall have to see. I had to get to work, and I had to do a lot of planning. His birthday was in a couple of weeks.

The start of the requested Polar Bear Rock project.

The Polar Bear Birthday Rock had a shape that didn’t quite match the shape of the bear in one spot, so I pondered long and hard and came up with the idea of putting a baby bear in there, one that was snuggling up to his mom. It worked, and I was able to make this gift, a project made from my heart, to give to my friend for his birthday. Although this was 10 years ago now, I still remember the look of joy on his face when I presented it to him at his birthday party. There was a crew of us there to help celebrate, and I was overjoyed that I had managed to accomplish his vision for the stone.

Mom and Baby Polar Bear snuggling.

It is the sense of accomplishment and the joy in giving someone something special that keeps me doing my rock painting. I don’t do it as often anymore, but when I do, I feel great that I manage to get a good one done. It helps me channel my creative energy and add joy to my day, because really, isn’t that the way we can all feel good about our lives in the moment? It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be. Painting my rocks brings me joy, and I am very grateful my painted Polar Bear Birthday Rock gave my friend a birthday gift he wanted and would appreciate. So much better than a bottle of wine, eh?

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