Every summer, my dad and I take a day trip to somewhere in California; I sketch, he reads. It's been our way of carving out some time to spend together. For a couple of years, dad's been wanting to show me Mono Lake. Now, being a Central California girl, I've gone to Yosemite at least once a year for as long as I can remember, but I don't really remember going as far as the Eastern side of the Sierras (though the family has traveled that way).
I have never seen a stranger place; Mono Lake seems almost completely unspoiled, save for a handful of tourists (numbers no where near as large as the ones we passed on our way through Yosemite). The lake is huge, surrounded by volcanic mountains, and contains more salt than the Pacific Ocean. That wasn't the weirdest sight, however. The coolest thing about Mono Lake are the tufa towers. on the south side of the lake. It seems weird that we are still in California.
These things remind me of coral, and the ones that we were near were huge. Apparently, these were once underwater, but as the water level of the lake goes down, they become more visible.
I used to love using chalk pastels, but during college I sort of fell out of practice with them, so I decided to bring them along. I wanted to warm up with a quick charcoal drawing.
Afterwards, I broke out the chalk pastels, which was challenging. It took a lot of false starts to get to this point and I'm happy I got a chance to go out and do some plein air work in such an unusual setting.