I collected and painted these rocks found along Lake Erie's shoreline after a small painted stone inspired me. 

I attended an arts high school in my youth until I was bitten by the music bug. I have had a professional career as an award-winning singer-songwriter for four decades, but I've always painted; jean jackets, cowboy boots, furniture, and antique windows. 

One morning I almost tripped over a painted rock someone had placed on my front stoop. The artist remained anonymous. I put it in the front garden. Then another gem appeared, a large one with "Dream Big" written across it in black lettering. 

I was dealing with grief due to family loss and anxiety, and loneliness due to the global pandemic. I knew I was not alone in this dilemma. In search of comfort, I was inspired to pick up the paintbrush, so I unpacked my paints after many years. Sleepless nights found me in the early morning light painting with acrylics while the city was still asleep. This practice was cathartic, meditative, and healing. 

I'd place the painted stones in my front garden beside the wild roses. I hoped they might brighten someone's day and encourage creativity. 

I live in a high-traffic downtown community. I didn't want anyone to feel self-conscious about taking a rock, so I painted one that said, "Take a rock, leave a rock, paint a rock," and the community responded with painted rocks of all shapes and sizes. Conversations and friendships blossomed over the painted rocks. 

I recently walked the shores of Morgan's Point and found a rock amongst the millions on the beach. It had a barely readable message that said, "You are loved." This is the message I pass on.