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Spying The Grand Teton From Delta Lake

In Watercolor Diary Day 164, woodsmoke, turquoise-tinted water and dreamy light create surreal painting conditions

Hiking to Delta Lake in the Tetons has become a cliché of sorts, its popularity created by social media. Who does not want to post an Instagram selfie with the Grand Teton towering behind your head?

I’ve been to every corner of the valley, but had never been there with my paints and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. In our early morning start, the smoke turned the light amber, and in this aesthetic dreaminess the sunrise felt as if it lasted for hours.

By most standards this round-trip to Delta is quick, about two hours. The trail is unimproved and goes from an easy traverse along the slope to a straight up scramble. Once you get beyond the first prominent rock lip, the view does not disappoint.

The water color at Delta is a chalky turquoise from glacial melt, matching my Caribbean-hued aqua shirt perfectly. Beyond the lake, the talus slopes behind the lake lead to the base of the 13,776-foot Grand, the iconic granite tower rising nearly 5,000 feet above the surface.

The diaphanous effect of wood smoke made the view surreal as the profile of the Grand and her neighbors was reflected.  Most artists will tell you: it is intimidating to paint the Grand at any time, because is so recognizable and you want to avoid the cliché.  When it looks this close, the pressure is even more so. As I painted I fell under the spell and found that though the destination was Delta Lake, I did not leave enough room for the water.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can follow Cedarholm’s mission to produce one new painting a day for an entire year here.
Sue Cedarholm
About Sue Cedarholm

Jackson Hole-based Sue Cedarholm is a multi-media artist—painter, photographer and maker of nature-themed, wearable apparel.  You can find all of the works in her ongoing series at Watercolor Diary.
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