An Artist’s View With Mary Anne Lund – The Bench In All Seasons

Written By: KPN - Jan• 24•15

The Bench
In all Seasons

For anyone who has visited Sunken Meadow State Park in our town and loves nature, there is a special “sweet spot” after crossing the footbridge over the Sunken Creek (the old dam) where paths lead to the marsh and woodlands.  As you take in the breathtaking scene before your very eyes, you linger at its magnificence only to be welcomed by a bench, placed at an angle, overlooking the entire panoramic scene.  One can only want to sit awhile to take in and ponder this extraordinary view.  This bench was dedicated in memory of an individual.  Does anyone know who the recipient was?

It is ironic that the beautiful photo I captured of “the bench” (see above), in the aftermath of blizzard conditions, was taken on January 8, 2011.  I am writing this column on January 8, 2015.  Coincidence?

My first column for the Kings Park Notebook appeared on April 13, 2014. In that column, I wrote of our coming through a difficult long drawn winter due to the effects of polar vortex with its low temps, high winds, snow and icy conditions. My interest at that time was Sandy’s effect upon the topography of our shoreline and ecosystems.  As we know, Sandy also caused the destruction of the dam at Sunken Creek – the very location of “the bench” where great changes have been made by nature.  As a landscape painter and nature lover, I knew even as I walked the stark wetlands of winter with all the severe damage made by Sandy – there was promise in the ever-changing landscape. I thought back then about documenting the changes from the view point of “the bench” in all its seasons with nature’s beauty returning.  In fact, my words were: “Just wait and see!” With this in mind, here are the different seasons as viewed from “the bench” in photographs I captured in each successive season:

Photo #1 of the bench was taken in April 2014. Unlike spring with bushes, budding trees, and blossoming flowers, the marsh has yet to awaken. Despite the green grass under my feet, observe the background and horizon line to be a brownish-gray and appearing lifeless. In all the photos of the seasons, it is fun to look at the shifting of the topography being changed by the tidal flow as nature is constantly redesigning the marsh (most evident from the view the Kings Park bluff). You can see the different shapes of the sandbars, as well as the different colors and hues.

Photo #1 April 2014

Photo #2 was taken the first day of summer, June 21st.  The background and horizon line show the grasses to be green. Unfortunately, from the view of the bench, you do not see the details. If you were to walk the path along the estuary from the bluff at Old Dock to the bench, you would need your camera to capture the beauty of the rejuvenated wetlands.

Photo #2  First Day of Summer June 2014

The beach grasses you see in early summer are unlike the mature, luscious growth of July and August. They will sometimes grow to a height of over 5 feet.  For the artist or photographer, the patterns of grass, sand and water become one – filled with magic as sunlight glistens on algae, pebbles, shells and marine life.

Photo #3 was taken on September 28, just days into autumn. You still have the tall grasses, but the grasses of autumn are touched by the sun and have a golden glow as you see on the horizon.  They remain so until early November. This was the reason for photo 4 taken late in the afternoon on one of the last days of November.  What a difference!  The landscape is reverting back to dormancy.

Photo #3  Early Autumn, September 2014

Photo #4 Late Fall November 2014

Photo #5 was taken late in the day on January 10, 2015 while in the depths of a polar vortex that caused temps to drop to low single digits not taking into account a high wind chill factor.  Looking at the view from the bench, I noticed to my far left the grasses at the edge of the water seemed to glitter in the setting sun almost devoid of color.

I have walked these wetlands for many, many years capturing its beauty in my art and from my camera’s eye, my eye.  From this wonderful bench, I have often sat and pondered nature’s greatness – and how lucky I am to have found peace and joy in this wonderful area of Kings Park. I hope I have passed on to you, our Notebook readers, some insights you may not have thought about.  For all those who enjoy exploring nature, hiking, birdwatching, photography or just walking in this incredible area – perhaps we will meet along the paths not too far from “the bench.”  Gotta run, it’s freezing out here!

Mary Anne

Mary Anne Lund is a fine art impressionist landscape painter specializing in watercolor and oil painting renderings of seashore, wetlands, marshes, and other scenic and historical sites of Long Island and, more recently, Connecticut. She has studied with noted accomplished artists through the years and is a member of the Art League of Long Island, Dix Hills, NY, Wet Paints Studio Group, Sayville, NY, Lyme Art Association, Old Lyme, CT, Mystic Art Center, Mystic, Ct., and East Hampton Art Association, East Hampton, Ct. Mary Anne, a native Long Islander, has a home in Kings Park on the North Shore of Long Island, New York, from where she has drawn much of her inspiration and compositions.

To see more of Mary Anne’s work on facebook, please click here.

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