Camping portraits

Last week we were camping in Mendocino at Van Damme State Park (a perfect example of why we should save our state parks. Without parks such as this, places like Mendocino would be off limits to all but those wealthy enough to afford $300-a-night rooms in high-rent “Inns.”)

Camping in the park provides much needed respite from the noisy, hot neighborhoods and city streets of the Bay Area. You can hear the birds, see banana slugs, hear the wind in the trees.

But I have to admit that we were the loudly chattering neighbors that keep you from hearing the birds and the windy trees. Even the banana slugs fled. But we did entertain (or bother) the campground with Irish music. And we do shut ourselves down at 10 p.m.

Cast of characters:

This is Liz and her new earring. I sketched this with pencil, Tombow Brushpen, and Niji Waterbrush, at the Mendocino Cafe, where the food was okay, and the light from the window was exquisite.

This is Kat. I drew this at dusk, in front of the campfire. The light lovely to begin with, but as the sky faded, the flickering confusion of firelight (and the eye-stinging smoke) made it harder to see form. She was listening to a story while I sketched this.

Sunday morning we went to breakfast, where I sketched Jo-the-Librarian (on the right) and architect of camping trips and other fun stuff. On the left is her husband Doug, who looks lopsided and grumpy in this sketch because he kept fidgeting around so that I could not get a good likeness. He is an author of wonderful books for children and young adults. His most popular (I think) is Vampire High, although my favorite book he’s written is The Janus Gate, a creepy ghost story as well as a treatise on art and beauty.

I’m really fortunate to hear him read aloud from his projects in progress, acting all the characters as he hears them in his head. In fact, he was reading from a book-in-progress as I sketched Kat, which is why she sat so still (except for the occasional outbursts of laughter).

You can see other books he’s written at