Painting on stones is a quaint art form, utilising the many shapes and sizes of natural stones to create all kinds of pictures, from pet portraits to cartoon caricatures. Animals are a favourite subject for painting on stones, especially for use in the garden. Painted stones can not only be for decoration outdoors, but as paperweights, door stoppers or simply tabletop decorations. Acrylic paints are the ideal medium for use with stones, as they dry quickly and are very durable.
Soak the stones you want to paint in warm, soapy water, then scrub them with the scourer to remove any traces of dirt. Let dry for one day.
Fill any depressions or smooth over any bumps with wood filler if desired. Or leave the natural stone surface to add character to your artwork. Let dry.
Paint the entire stone with gesso. Let dry.
Sketch the picture you want to paint onto the rock with a pencil. If the picture is of something furry, you can use gesso with a large bristled brush, applying it in the direction of the fur, and making the bristles of the brush leave furrows in the paint to add a furry texture underneath your painting. Let dry.
Paint over the outline of your picture with a dark colour. Use a colour in the colour scheme of your painting---if you are painting a frog, then a dark green; if you are painting a blue flower, then a dark blue or purple, for example.
Paint on the medium colours in your painting, filling the entire stone surface with colour. If you are painting something like a frog or lemon that has textured skin, lay a very thick layer of paint on the part needing texture. As the paint starts to dry, a skin will form on it. Press the ends of a hard-bristled brush lightly into the paint skin, making small, textured depressions. Let dry.
Paint on the lighter, highlight colours. Use a smaller, fine-tipped brush for the highlights, adding depth and dimension to your stone art. Let dry.
Spray the stone with the spray varnish, shaking the can vigorously beforehand and holding it around 6 inches from the stone as you spray. Let dry, then repeat once if the stone is intended for indoor use, two more times for outdoor use.