David Cunningham
David Cunningham

Why Paint Stones?

Meditation on the Infinite, 2010, acrylic and oil on panel, 60″x24

As a boy I collected stones, not in a scientific way finding rare stones or rocks of any value. Instead I looked for stones that were beautiful to me in some way. At some point, I was convinced by a well meaning adult that these were worthless and I was foolish to collect something so ordinary. It wasn’t until I had children that I began to relook at stones again. All of my children teethed on the stones in our front garden. Then when my oldest Mary was 2, I took her down to a local creek to throw stones in the water (another fond boyhood memory). As she got older, she became more interested in collecting pretty rocks and shells she found. I began to join her. I had brought my camera to photograph her at the waters edge, but began to use it instead to take photos of the rocks at this special place. Three of the photographs from that day have become paintings. I saw in them beautiful color relationships, amazing juxtaposition of shapes and textures, and most importantly a deep spiritual connection with something in all of us that is very primitive and old. (In fact your average garden stone is somewhere between 8billion and 13 million years old…older than all mankind.) Some of the first structures humans made were stacked stones to mark sacred spaces.

I have always seen painting as a form of meditation and of understanding the world around me, thus understanding myself better. Through now thousands of hours starring at stones, I relate to their scars and “imperfections.” Each rock has their personal story that is much older than my own that fascinates me. I believe it is a story worth being heard so I spend the time to listen and tell it. I take them out of their environment where they remain hidden in the everyday and place them on the wall. I believe that most people are drawn to the paintings immediately by the technique and exhaustive labor that has gone into illustrating them. My hope is that they stay to see what would ordinarily be overlooked.


  1. Jaime Howard - 10 years ago

    Hi David,
    Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary – that’s the task you have assigned yourself.

    I’ve been admiring your rocks and thank you for sharing the “artist statement” with us.

    Jaime Howard

    • David Cunningham - 10 years ago


      Thank you for the kind words. I really believe that is the role of artists in this world…to get people to re-look at the life all around them.

      Thanks again,


      ps going to check out your blog right now 🙂

  2. kathryn - 10 years ago

    your work is fabulous…i collect rocks at every place i visit, i find them so interesting and beautiful!!

    • David Cunningham - 8 years ago

      Kathyrn thank you! I am glad that you like it. There seems to be a big underground movement of rock collectors…we need to unite!

  3. Irfan Cheema - 8 years ago

    Your work is inspiring and beautiful. It makes me relook at extraordinary wonders of nature thrown around us, light being one of them. I love your stones.

    • David Cunningham - 8 years ago

      Irfan thank you for your kind words. It always feels good to know that your work is connecting with others…