In an effort to cheer people during the COVID-19 pandemic, a Norman artist is totally rockin' it.

Zulema "Ann" Klein tiptoes up to random people's gardens and distributes decorated rocks for homeowners to find later. The result is a colorful surprise when they are discovered.

Klein said she's been painting rocks for years and with the pandemic, she decided she would paint little stones and pass them out in her neighborhood during her walks. Not wanting to invade anyone's privacy, she slips her little rocks into flower beds situated close to the curb or sets them on top of street-side mailboxes. It's clear that Klein is determined to be the rock fairy when she walks.

Klein's friend, Miyo Tanizawa, said the pair were going to go for a walk one day. When they were already underway, Klein stopped short and said she had to go back to her house to get a ladybug.

"She was, like, 'Oh, I forgot my ladybug,'" Tanizawa said, adding that her curiosity was now piqued.

The pair retrieved the ladybug and Tanizawa watched as Klein put it in a neighbor's yard.

Sometimes people see her placing her little bugs in their yards, and other times, they don't know where they came from.

Jean Cate was one of those who wondered where her little creatures came from.

"She put two out by my mailbox," Cate said. "They did make me smile, and I enjoy them."

Cate described Klein as a "wonderful neighbor" and said she brings joy to others when she sets her painted rocks in people's yards.

"The pandemic causes everybody to go hibernate," Klein said. "It's been fun because when I walk, I look for them. Is it still there? Has the rain washed them away? Then when I meet people I ask them, 'Did you see my rock?' and they'll say they wondered who put it out there.

"It's a great way to get acquainted. People love the idea, I guess. I thought it was something that I would enjoy doing, and I think people are happy for it."

Klein shows and sells her canvas, tile and rock art at an annual fall showing at the Norman Senior Citizens Center.

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