Artist Post: Bethann Garramon Merkle

Bethann contributes to many of our issues, but since we've got a stones theme coming up, she made this post about rocks! You know who rocks? Bethann! Visit Bethann at her website!


I've been finding neat rocks and packing them home ever since I was a kid. There are still some of my rocks at my parents' home, and my windowsills in my own house are full of them. In this picture, I am holding some treasures I found in the riverbed of the Salt River, in the middle of Phoenix, Arizona. I take home fabulous rocks, then write on them where I found them and the date. That way, later, each rock reminds me of a special place.

These are my sisters and me (right), hiking to the special hidden lake we used to hike to as little kids. This is the lake where we used to hunt for fossils, the lake where rocks first became fascinating to me. I've never done any drawings up there -- yet! But, as you can see from the sketches I've shared below, I love to make fast, kind-of-scribbly drawings. This style captures the energy and essence of a place or a moment in a way that I find fun and exciting.

This is a sketch I did on a small scrap of paper, while sitting at the edge of a little lake in Grand Teton National Park. Why did I draw those mountains? You guessed it! They are made of so many great rocks!

I don't always draw rocks, but I do sometimes draw my other favorite thing to collect from places I've been - earrings. Can you spot the one earring that is made of a rock? (Hint, it's turquoise.)

Did you know that birds -- like these storks in Tanzania -- use rocks to eat!?! Birds swallow small pebbles, and then they keep them in an area of their throat called a gizzard. Instead of having teeth, birds use these rocks to grind up their food as it goes through the gizzard.