The Crispiest Hawkins Cheeses Around: A Corner Brook Man Has A Passion For Painting And Hiding Rocks For Others To Find

CORNER BROOK, NL “Bill Short can’t pass up a good rock and there’s no shortage of it in his Corner Brook home.

Short doesn’t collect them for their unique colors or shapes. And he’s not using them in some kind of outside project.

Short is a cave painter.

Short found his first painted rock about three years ago while walking his dogs, Bell and Charlie, around Tippings Pond in Massey Drive.

“I didn’t know why there was a painted rock on the trail,” he recently told SaltWire Network.

When he returned it, he found details of a Facebook group known as NL Rock Art.

Curious, Short consulted with the group, where he discovered that cave painting was a thing.


Bill Short’s Dogs with some of his rock art. – Contributed

The idea is to paint rocks and hide them for others to find. Seekers can choose to keep the rocks or hide them again to keep the fun going.

“It looked like a lot of fun,” said Short, who then kept his eyes peeled for glimpses of color while walking his dogs.

As much fun as he had watching, Short also wanted to add to that fun for others and decided to put his skills to good use in high school art class and started painting.

His first rocks were a baseball, SpongeBob, a Mars Bar, a Big Turk, and a Kinder Egg.


“I didn’t go there knowing how to paint things. I kind of had to learn how to do it on my own, through trial and error.”
— Short bill


Thinking back to those first ones, Short laughs and says, “They’re terrible.”

“I didn’t go there knowing how to paint things. I had to kind of teach myself how to do it, through trial and error,” he said.

“I wasn’t very good when I started, but you kind of see your skills growing, which I find fun too.

“The longer you do it, the better and better reception you can see the rocks are getting.”


@cbnl84 Some of my latest painted rocks. Keep suggesting! #rockart #paintedrocks #newfoundland #artistsoftiktok #rockpainting ♬ boom – siredaudio

Short even got other members of his family involved, as his brother, nephew and sister-in-law and a few friends started painting because of him. A sister and niece from Prince Edward Island also paint, but do not have easy access to a supply of stones.

As Short honed his technique, his preference was to paint food – jarred meat cans, Nutella, Eversweet butter, Crosby’s molasses, goldfish, Heinz ketchup – and certain scenes of Newfoundland, which he finds more realistic and more difficult to do.


Other foods that Bill Short of Corner Brook has painted on rocks.  - Contributed - Contributed
Other foods that Bill Short of Corner Brook has painted on rocks. – Contributed – Contributed

Foods are easily recognizable.

“More like a universal thing,” he said, adding that they stand out for all their vibrant colors.

Short can usually get an idea when he sees a rock and will sometimes look for a particular shape or size to match his ideas.

He likes to paint on smooth, flat surfaces, square or rectangular, but round ones are best for things like cookies, he said.

“I happened to see a strangely shaped rock and bring it home,” he said.


Are they rocks or are they cinnamon rolls?  Corner Brook's Bill Short can turn any stone into recognizable food.  - Contributed - Contributed
Are they rocks or are they cinnamon rolls? Corner Brook’s Bill Short can turn any stone into recognizable food. – Contributed – Contributed

For Easter, one of these oddly shaped rocks has been transformed into bunny ears.

He gets his stones from area beaches, and his friends and family add to his collection.

He uses acrylic paint and has tested several sealants to ensure his stones will withstand the weather. Its current sealer is a Dupli-Colour clearcoat.

Depending on their size, the colors used and the details, it takes two to three hours to complete a rock, he said.


A sampling of the foods, some very recognizable, that Bill Short of Corner Brook painted on rocks.  - Contributed - Contributed
A sampling of the foods, some very recognizable, that Bill Short of Corner Brook painted on rocks. – Contributed – Contributed

Small laughs when he says he stopped counting when he got to 1,000 painted stones.

He gives a few of his stones as gifts, and lately he’s been selling a few. A scene from his living room with his dogs and a Toffifee from a few Christmases ago are memories he has no intention of parting with.

Some of his stones came out of Newfoundland thanks to a colleague who took them to Nova Scotia and British Columbia.

Each has their name on the back and information pointing people to a rock art group on Facebook like NL Rock Art or the Bay of Islands Rock Art group that Short created. He also shares his stones on TwitterInstagram and TikTok.


@cbnl84 Reply to @pattyasa #rockart #paintedrocks #rockpainting #paintingrocks #selfcare #mentalhealth #luckycharms #newfoundland ♬ WHATS POPPIN (feat. DaBaby, Tory Lanez & Lil Wayne) [Remix] -Jack Harlow

He mostly paints in the evening after a day of work as an animator in a group home.

“It’s a good stress reliever,” he says.

Coming out to hide them is an excuse to go out for a walk, and Short said three years later he still has a ton of fun cave painting.

“At the end of the day, I’m always going to paint and hide because there are so many benefits to it. It gets you out of the house, and the excitement of knowing someone else is going to find your rock, that’s always going to be the fun part for me, is hiding them and having people find them.


@cbnl84

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