Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Early Spring, 1966-67; watercolor and charcoal on paper, 37 1/8 x 42 1/4 inches, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Charles Rand Penney, 1994
In a journal entry from 1962 Burchfield wrote:
I spent an hour in the studio after our return from town, studying the “Appalachian Highway” – Made studies of various portions of it, to use in the development of the “Old August Hill”. One study of a tree interior suggested its application to the “Tree as a temple of God” idea (which has not yet been launched) – This is a procedure I should follow with each picture sent away, I think –
In this painting from the last years of the artist’s life, the trees shoot up like the spires of a gothic cathedral, reaching for the heavens and celebrating their glory. In this and other works from the 1960s, Burchfield indeed found success in conveying the idea of a “Tree as a temple of God.”
From the exhibition Charles E. Burchfield: Oh My Heavens
Upon hearing a new recording of Dvorak's Symphony No. 1, which had been given to him for Father's Day, Burchfield noted that it was magnificent . . . in the grand romantic manner of Beethoven and Schubert. . . . As I listen vague longing and regret for scenes and events past, come over me. One scene evoked is a broad low valley running north and south--it is late April; the low sun sends rich yellow sunlight streaming over the land, striking the wooded hills with the strongest light. . . "