Secret Lemonade in the Desert

June 1st, 2012

There are those who think Lake Powell is an environmental desecration.
I agree. It was a mistake. A political pork barrel. A great tragedy in process. Many say it will fill with silt and sand within a few hundred years and cease to exist.
But the old adage: ‘when you are given lemons, make lemonade’ rings somewhat true. It’s not going away within our lifetimes and it has much to offer.

Though the journey is not for the faint of heart,  the 186 mile long lake allows access to magical refuges and vast horizons in the desert. It may have looked like Thomas Moran’s landscape: Amphitheater Utah Territory before filling with water.


The juxtaposition of stark desert vistas and abundant clear water is stunning. Opposites on the color wheel: orange and blue are the dominant colors.  Orangey-red  sandstone and sky-struck cerulean waters are all you see in every direction.

Sculptural forms carved by wind and water must have been some of the inspiration for Henry Moore’s abstractions of the human figure. At the lake they are everywhere. Towers, spires, gracefully curved canyon walls.

And then there is the magic of plants in the desert. They must be tough and tenacious to survive. And lucky. Over the eons, they have developed deep roots and defensive mechanisms such as thorns, and bitter or poisonous sap. For those who live in green and water-logged climates it may be difficult to understand, but somehow each plant becomes more precious, more exquisite in its rarity. More noble and admirable in its struggle to survive.

All life forms from snakes, pocket mice and lizards to bighorn sheep, bobcats and coyotes are part of a delicate balance of life in the desert.

I find it overwhelmingly beautiful and vast. I tried to paint while I was here but found it exceedingly difficult. Partly because of wind which dried my paints and blew my easel over, but also because of the immensity.

Rock Creek Canyon ©David Drummond





Artist David Drummond has created many luminous watercolors of the landscapes of Lake Powell. Taking hundreds of photos will allow me to explore the imagery in the studio here in green, green, green Vermont.

6 Responses to “Secret Lemonade in the Desert”

  1. Lynn Bridge says:

    I love those desert landscapes, and you described them so well.

  2. Robin Kent says:

    Beautiful. I like the starkness too. A nice change from the northeast for the eyes.