"We Are Here for One Another" - Artist Bethany Kirwen Talking about Her Lifelong Passion for Rocks and Spreading Kindness
“When the world’s divisive dialogue and tragic events would wound my heart and evaporate my half-full optimistic glass, rock painting was my only therapeutic joy”, Bethany Kirwen.
Dear rock painting enthusiasts and lovers of art,
Today I have the great pleasure of presenting to you the fascinating story of a lifelong journey of kindness and passion for art. I invite you to read the story of wonderful artist: Bethany Kirwen of Wisconsin, USA and her most recent plan of creating a 365 collection of “Daily Happy Rocks” with which to put together a calendar of painted rocks.
Bethany’s love for rocks started, as she beautifully writes to me, with “a simple gesture of kindness - a smile”. The passion followed her all through her life, as since that day she continued to paint smiley faces, lady bugs, or turtles just to elicit smiles from loved ones. Such joyous, simple pursuits even sparked the little girl’s and her sister’s imagination to start their own business right from their Lake Huron “little red wagon”.
Bethany's memorable "smiley rocks" which started it all
Twenty-five years later Bethany found herself gifting elementary school students and teachers with little smiley rocks she called "Happy Rocks", When introduced to classes, the Happy Rocks were accompanied with a poem Bethany wrote to encourage kindness and share smiles to the world.
The story of the Happy Rocks continued for nearly 25 years, when thousands of painted stone gifts, painted brightly, traveled the world to lift spirits, to encourage appreciation, or grow strength. How many stories must those rocks have written! As Bethany describes:
“Most of my rocks have found their own adventures. They traveled the world, were placed in the hands of the homeless, comforted hospital patients, reminded tired workers how important they were, and casually left for a surprise.”
For Bethany rocks are a “Nature’s gift”,“they symbolise strength, endurance, and resilience”. When in late 2016 Bethany found herself without her gallery representation of pastels and acrylics, she decided to return to her lifetime love for rocks. She picked the strength and endurance and resilience of the rocks she surrounds herself with and started again with a new plan: to give people an inspiring, thought-provoking message each day.
“I began to explore the power of words in a new, exciting way”, she explains.
And so the Daily Happy Rock calendar journey began.
“As a crusader for good, this was/is one small way I can promote hope, kindness, compassion, love, encouragement, inspiration, and it feels purposeful. I was Divinely moved toward the creation of a perpetual, daily, desktop calendar. I spent six months of sourcing, designing, and creatively photographing over 400 rocks with thoughtful inspirations.”
“Photographing the rocks became artful and memorable to me, especially when placing the rocks in the natural landscapes of our yard, our children’s school playgrounds, the church labyrinth, the beach, and other favorite places.”
Faith, happy to join in Bethany's rock hunting trips
“Soon however, what was once such a fun and relaxing activity began to fade into disappointment, and frustration, due to a significant health scare in the fall of 2017. My goal to have a published calendar in the hands of others became impossible and my dream had to be put on hold.
After a short period of internal pouting, I asked myself, “What is the gift? What is the lesson?” The thought of my 10 month project being unfinished left me deeply discouraged with a sense of grief.
But, isn’t life like that? We make plans and sometimes things just don’t turn out like we thought they would. What I did not expect was that the gift of grief brought a lesson of gratitude in countless ways.”
With these amazing teachings and short glimpse into the life of a person who has dedicated her entire life to sharing kindness and positivism into the world, I would like to end up by asking you to send Bethany your words of support and empowerment.
Bethany, you are such a beautiful, positive and extraordinary person. I look forward to having the calendar in my hands whenever its time may come.
Note: The calendar is being published by Daily Happy Rocks and is to be released soon.
Until then, I’ll keep on reciting your words:
“As rock artists, we share love and encouragements to inspire one another and create joyful smiles around the globe. Truly, we are making a difference. And isn’t THAT what life is all about? To walk each other through this journey of life in kindness, love, and encouragement.”
- Christine Onward