In Plymouth County, Massachusetts, a series of streams flow south from the Miles Standish State Forest across rather flat terrain to empty into the salt water of Buzzards Bay at Wareham. The land was formed by glacial moraines and outwash plain. It contains sand, pitch pine, scrub oak, ponds, springs, and swamps. There is slow flowing water where the streams have been left and there is no bedrock or rapids. I have enjoyed canoeing on the Wareham River, the Wankinco River and the Agawam River and even out to the salt water.
This series of paintings closely examines several of the streams and the land uses at regular intevals along them. I have illustrated by color choices, the vegetation, open space, housing, town, dams, marsh and cranberry bogs. I used a USGS (United States Geological Survey) map to accurately assign the land uses on either side of the streams. My map was dated to 1970. Much has changed in the study area which site visits quickly affirmed. There are now many more cranberry bogs. Massachusetts is a major grower of cranberries. These bogs supply Ocean Spray which produces cranberry sauces and juices. The largest grower of cranberries in the world is A. D. Makepeace in Wareham, MA, with over two thousand bog acres.
My painting, 'Agawam River Cranberry Bogs', depicts graphically a forty nine square mile area, viewed from the south. The vertical bars represent the streams descending from the forest to the sea. The palest blue are the streams furthest back and the darker streams are closer by. The bars also show the adjacent land uses. Vegetation as green, the most prominent land use, bogs are in shades of red, and the various tones of tan recall open space, housing and town buildings. Swamps and marshes are the darkest greens. The bar heights refer to the descent from sixty feet at the forest to sea level at the base of the composition. The many dams are depicted gray.
The smaller paintings of this series are detail enlargements from the large painting. These show the many land use colors in splendid and provocative adjacencies. Selected by the artist, but governed by the data from the USGS. A Fall visit to the Wareham environs will offer much more red acreage than I show. Green berms containing bogs of floating cranberries ready for harvest.
Malcolm Montague Davis