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Lacombe resident finds joy in sharing beautifully painted rocks

If you have ever found a beautifully-painted rock along the trails in town, it’s most likely a special gift to the community from Lacombe resident Fern Aldrich.
One of Fern Aldrich’s lovely rock paintings. Mark Weber/Lacombe Express

If you have ever found a beautifully-painted rock along the trails in town, it’s most likely a special gift to the community from Lacombe resident Fern Aldrich.

“I’ve been interested in rocks for quite a long time,” she explained during a recent chat. “And I started painting them - not to get famous or anything,” she added with a laugh.

Aldrich’s rocks are painted with intricate, brightly-colored designs, and it’s something she not only loves to do, but it’s also something that she loves to share.

“I really enjoy doing this - that is for sure.”

And knowing that folks are finding them in the local park system makes it that much more worthwhile.

“I thought about that for a long time, and then last summer when my daughter would go for walks, I gave her some to put around,” she explained. The family started noticing that it was becoming something of a trend, with other residents painting rocks and sharing them here and there as well.

“I do it because it’s fun, and I like the colours,” she said, adding that she started painting the rocks she collected about three years ago.

The inspiration to give them away also was sparked by her own family, who asked her to paint some for them, too - and there is plenty of family to share with for Aldrich, who is mom to five, grandmother to 17, and great-grandmother to 26.

“They’ve all got some,” she said. And not only that, her love for rocks and for painting these remarkable works of art has caught on with some family members as well. She’s pretty speedy with the process, too. “In one session, I’ll maybe have two done and she will have five or six done,” said her daughter Bobbie McNeill.

The rocks themselves are collected locally and beyond, including such areas as Canal Flats near Invermere in B.C. and Valley View up north. Canal Flats is a particular favourite, because many of the rocks she finds there are quite colourful and smooth.

For her kids, Aldrich’s rich sense of creativity is an inspiration in and of itself.

“She will pick up a rock and see a certain thing about it, and paint it from there,” explains McNeill, adding that her mother has always been interested in crafts and design. She recalls her mom looking for rocks when Bobbie and her siblings were little.

“It also makes mom happy to give them away.”

But there is much more of course to this remarkable lady than her gift for expressing herself through art.

“She’s one of the best humans I know and has always been,” explained her daughter Donna Kennedy.

“She’s selfless, kind and generous to a fault,” she added.

“She inspires me every day when I’m with her and every time I think of her when I’m not with her. If I could be like anyone, it would be my mom!”

A close-up of one of Fern Aldrich’s pieces. Mark Weber/Lacombe Express
Lacombe resident Fern Aldrich enjoys sharing her artistic creations with the community. Mark Weber/Lacombe Express

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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