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story.lead_photo.caption Madison Hancock places a small painted rock in the window sill of Fine Mess Boutique last week on High Street. Hancock has been painting rocks and leaving them at different places and searching out others by hints or photographs of them hidden in business' sills as posted on Facebook. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

Have you looked down recently to see a cheerfully painted rock sitting in an unassuming location on the ground?

Rock painting has exploded in Jefferson City, thanks in part to a Facebook group created by Charity Blair only a couple weeks ago. Already the page has nearly 3,000 members.

And posts are frequent of members' newest creations or finds.

"We're big into finding, too," Blair said. "The kids love it; it's like a hide-and-seek game."

When someone finds one of these painted rocks, they might admire it, take a picture of it or take it home.

Madison Hancock holds out a half dozen rocks she's painted that she is going to place around town. She has several she's found and will be moving them to other places for someone else to find. People are posting their locations on the Facebook page, JC Rocks, and/or giving hints as to their whereabouts.
Photo by Julie Smith/News Tribune.

If it's the latter, Blair said they should either relocate it later or make their own to replace it.

Blair said she was originally invited to join a similar group from her hometown of Lebanon and soon asked if she could replicate the idea for Jefferson City, where she has lived with her family for two years.

"It's really kicked off," she said. "I had no idea it would take off like this; I hoped it would inspire other people."

The group held its first get-together last month at Memorial Park, giving members a chance to meet and share painting ideas, said member Gail Carroll.

"Basically, (it was) a good time of fellowship," Carroll said. "I believe, in a world of negativism, this is a great way to bring some positivity to others.

"Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we forget how easy it is to bring a smile to others. Something as simple as a painted rock could change a dismal day into one of happiness."

That was Blair's motivation, too.

"We're spreading creativity by just painting rocks," she said.

Canvas and formal paint supplies also can be expensive.

"But you can find all kinds of rocks and paint lots of cool stuff," she said.

In just more than a week, Blair said she's painted about 30 rocks.

"I like the fact that my art goes to someone else," she said. "It's not just in my house."

Members get ideas from websites like Pinterest and from each other, as the Facebook page is updated regularly with their latest work.

"It's pretty cool, the different things you can paint," Blair said. The important part is to be creative and "be yourself," she said.

A few rules exist, particularly being courteous about where rocks are placed.

Also, they share tips, such as painting a clear-coat layer over the finished design for durability.

Some of the unique designs local folks are making include a slice of pumpkin pie, patriotic, namesakes, bugs and animals, happy faces and inspirational sayings.

"It's a really simple things, just for inspiration and to have a good time," Blair said.

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