Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Volume 39, Page 17, May 3, 1934 - May 4, 1934; handmade cardboard notebook, 9 5/8 x 11 1/2 inches; Gift of Charles E. Burchfield, 1966
17. without thinking, I struck a match & touched it to the grass under a box-lid – without looking back I walked rapidly away – finally I stole a glance back – a great sheet of flame was writhing where had been the trash-pile. Fearing the farmers’ wrath, I left the road-bed & ran into a swampy depression where I continued until some trees would screen me from anyone’s view, when I resumed the road-bed. Looking back, I could see a great white smoke rolling up into the hot sunlight – no doubt a field of dry weeds adjoining the trash-pile was burning. I could see the farmers still calmly plowing and concluded they were not concerned about it.
Here I had come upon a large pool in the swamp fringed by low shrubs – it was just the material I needed for the swamp – picture – sit here & make studies. Against the bank here it was very warm, and I lay flat on my back awhile absorbing the heat.
May 4, 1934 – (Friday)
In studio all day working on Hermitage – bringing the picture pretty well to completion – at the end of the day a feeling of futility came over me – the picture seemed trite & pretty & without strength –