Backyard Journals by Daniel Brazcau

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Charles Burchfield has been categorized as one of the most inventive American artists of the twentieth century. Throughout most of his career, his medium of choice was watercolor. His artworks depict a “desire to work from familiar surroundings, and the deep symbolism of his works, which probed the mysteries of nature in an attempt to reveal his inner emotions.” He was inclined to paint what he felt and saw, from an early age he kept journals of things he saw and of his feelings. His sketches and painting often reflect what he put in his journals. In 1917 his invention of “Conventions of Abstract Thought” these are motifs depicting gloomy moods of Fear, Dangerous Brooding, Menace, Morbidness, Insanity, and a Fascination with Evil. The moods where evident in his paintings of homes and buildings, he noted in his journals that houses are ”often more moody than nature”. These moody homes and buildings continued to be one of the subjects of his painting into the 1960’s.

There is a young American artist, a seventh grader, John Woolley, 13 years old living in Temecula, California. He was in the third grade at age 9, when he started drawing and waterclors on a regular basis. At that time, he started “Backyard Journals” that included his writings and artwork, by age 11 he completed over a hundred pages and two hundred watercolor paintings, and has been published twice in “Moonlight Chronicles” by author Dan Price. John likes to paint everything. He took an art class once at age 6, other than that he is completely self-taught. He takes a very simple approach to his art. Which is “The Illustrated History of His Life” The everyday in and out things, he observes and feels he has to sit down and draw. He has recently begun selling and exhibited some of his work at the International Artexpo in New York. John has similarities to Charles Burchfield in that he writes journals, and paints what he feels in watercolors. Although John is a bit younger than Charles Burchfield was when he started painting, they have several similarities’ such as: the writing of journals, the fact that they prefer watercolors as a medium, and they painted what they observe and feel from their everyday lives.


Daniel Brazcau is a retired USCG and is currently a Technology Education graduate student at Buffalo State.