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Between a rock and an art place

Painting rocks and hiding them brings joy to hundreds on Facebook groups

3 min read
caption A few rocks Dinn painted with mandalas from her Facebook page
Toni Dinn

Toni Dinn is a rock artist — but not the kind you’d think.

Dinn lives in the Annapolis Valley, and she is one of many Nova Scotians who paints rocks and hides them around the province.

Originally from Newfoundland, Dinn said the rock art scene is “really big” back home and that is where she first got into it while visiting family.

“It’s phenomenal the stuff that people there paint on rocks and just hide for the public. Like they’re not selling them. They’re just hiding them for people to find and it’s like amazing artwork,” Dinn said.

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caption Toni Dinn, rock artist
Toni Dinn

She originally started rock painting as an activity to do with her daughter, but Dinn found that her daughter was less interested in it than she was.

“I kind of jumped on the bandwagon and went full throttle with it myself and went kind of crazy,” she said. “I bought all kinds of supplies and whatever and kept trying to get her to do it of course, but she still won’t and it’s been three years now.”

The rocks like the ones Dinn paints can have a big impact. She is an active member and administrator of the Facebook group Nova Scotia Rock Art. The group has amassed 2,207 followers.

The page brings together painted rock enthusiasts. Christine Caldi is an active member of Nova Scotia Rock Art and several other groups.

When Caldi lost her dog of 14 years, who she used to take on nature walks, she found her mental and physical health deteriorating until she discovered painted rocks.

“I wasn’t getting out in nature in parks, you know? I had no motive, no mission,” she said. “And (painted rocks) gave me a mission. It gave me motivation to go out and search for them and the whole point is spreading the kindness, spreading the love.”

caption A rock painted by Toni Dinn of an infinity symbol on her Facebook page
Toni Dinn

Caldi described how happy she is when she finds a rock.

“It’s like you just found, you know, a ten-dollar bill in your pocket from last year or a chocolate bar in the fridge that you missed.”

Like Caldi, Dinn enjoys finding rocks painted by other artists.

“I don’t find very many, but when I do, it’s kind of embarrassing to anybody who’s with me as I’m pretty much like a four-year-old that found a rock — super excited. And I’m a pretty loud person. When I get excited, I’m even louder,” Dinn said.

However, she says there is a deeper meaning for her when it comes to painting rocks.

“Well, it’s kind of like a therapy … I can just go into my paint room and paint (and) kind of forget about whatever might be bothering me that day or stressing me out.”

Anyone looking to find painted rocks can join any of the multiple Facebook groups dedicated to rock painting and hiding, where clues are regularly posted.


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