Diane Benefiel

I can see the Wilson Wetlands Trail from my deck. I walk or ride my bike along the wetlands boardwalk between Hungry Jacks and Owen-Bircher Park several times a week. I’ve experienced the wetlands in all seasons ever since Dodie and ‘Stearnie’ Stearns donated it to the Land Trust in 1995.


One of the most accessible of the Land Trust locations, it’s a diamond hidden in plain sight of bustling downtown Wilson. Tucked into the lush grasses and willows is a diverse wetlands ecosystem including a creek fed by Edmiston Spring located to the south of Dick May’s welding shop.


Anxious to get started on my View22 piece, this morning I got an early start as I needed shadows to help define the complex landscape of the wetlands. I carried my gouache paints and other supplies on my bike and in my backpack.


Painting the Wetlands Trail is an exercise in “green.” Could it be possible every green in the universe appears in the Wetland Trails? It seems like it. I was happy with my first color study but I concede it’s going to be a challenge to capture the essence of the wetlands. Luckily it’s right in my backyard.

– Diane Benefiel