Communing With Rocks

Communing With Rocks


Buck Art produces “genuine simulated Paleolithic cave art.”

Nearly 40 years ago while studying fine art, C. Buck Reynolds, better known as Buck, got a student job at the last place anyone might suspect an art student to work: the UC Museum of Paleontology. “I did really geeky ice age paintings as a teen,” Reynolds explained, recalling that as an early sign of her fascination with prehistoric times.

On a trip to France’s Lascaux and Pech Merle caves, which contain some of the best-preserved figurative cave paintings in the world, Reynolds found the inspiration for her life’s work. Today, Buck Art features Reynolds’ handmade “cave art,” which involves a wide combination of techniques from sculpture, airbrushing, water color, etching, and lithography and captures the period of human history when people lived in close connection with animals. “I have to treat each one differently,” said Reynolds, who added that while a canvas is always going to act in the same way, each stone has its own personality, and it’s her task to bring out the unique features in each one. “It’s like having a dialogue between my hand and the rock.”

In an effort to keep her art accessible to everyone, Reynolds offers a variety of pieces at a wide price range. Magnets and ornaments begin around $16 each, followed by smaller stonework for $32 and her most complex pieces for $165. Her latest series depicts climbers painted on rocks, using the stone’s natural features as the ledges.

For those who want to feel the stones in their hands while choosing a piece, visit Abrams Claghorn Gallery on Solano. Shoppers also can browse her website or Etsy page, which has the most up-to-date inventory. Look for her open studio during her annual winter solstice sale.

“I look at them as meditations,” said Reynolds, who sees each piece as a way to connect with the past. “I like them to go out into the world and hope others will commune with the rock. I encourage them to feel and rub the stones.” Each one is a beautiful reminder of something early humans knew very well: that our fate is directly linked to the fate of the earth.


Published online on May 1, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.

Faces of the East Bay