I’m guessing a chunk of coal? Charcoal? Maybe you know. But what attracted me was the wonderfully complex form, with all the intricate planes and cracks.
I brought it home and spray-painted it with flat gray primer. The paint unified the surface, and made it photograph clearly. Below is how the same little rock looks in real sunlight. Now I’ve got a great reference tool for the future, whenever I need to paint a jagged rocky mountainscape.
It’s hard to sculpt such forms from clay or foam, and hard to find existing photos that meet your specific lighting needs. Why bother, when you can find great rocks everywhere? I got this idea from Maxfield Parrish, who had a small collection of "bonsai" rocks to help him imagine his mountain backdrops.
Next time you take a walk in a rocky place, keep an eye out for mountains underfoot.
Tomorrow: How About a Book?