One of the Rhein Center’s Most Cherished Traditions Unmasked

Posted on July 28, 2014

Many artists, young and old, may wonder about the rocks they choose to paint at the C. Kirk Rhein, Jr., Center for the Living Arts.

Where do they come from? Why are they so smooth?

Most of the rocks found at Lake­side are made of limestone, a type of rock that is formed when the shells of marine animals are broken up by the motion of the water and compact­ed over time, along with other debris.

Limestone is a soft stone, com­pared to other types of rock, and eas­ily smoothed by the water’s current, combined with friction as it bumps along the lake bottom.

Lakeside Chautauqua is situated on a peninsula made of limestone. This will help keep the rocks plen­tiful for aspiring artists looking for­ward to rock painting at the Rhein Center.

Limestone that is compacted for a long period of time turns into mar­ble, which gave the peninsula its name, “Marblehead.”

This summer, a record number of 277 students painted a rock during the first week of July.

The Rhein Center offers students more than 66 different colors of paint to choose from and dedicates 81 paintbrushes and 30 palettes strictly for rock painting.

Sarah Thomas and Karin Yoder are the two rock painting class instructors for the 2014 Chautauqua summer season.

Students can assist Thomas and Yoder by keeping the Rhein Center supplies in good shape by rinsing the brushes and pal­ettes until they are free of paint, after finishing their rock painting.

The next painter will appreciate having a clean brush and palette.

Rock painting is offered at the Rhein Center daily. Students are asked to bring one rock, no larger than an adult’s palm, to each regis­tered class.