From the Catskill Mountains: BPAC Artist-in-Residence Entry 1, December 25, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Dear Nancy, Merry Christmas.

Today is my first day in the country since September. There were many things I shared with you, in spirit, including this piece in The New Yorker about Burchfield and an introduction to Walden by Emerson in which it seemed many times that he was describing Burchfield: "His eye was open to beauty, and his ear to music. He thought the best of music was in single strains; and he found poetic suggestion in the humming of the telegraph-wire." And: "He knew the worth of the Imagination for the uplifting and consolation of human life, and liked to throw every thought into a symbol."

By the stream this afternoon, I found pieces of fresh wood scattered over the snow at the base of a tree trunk. I looked up and saw a rectangular hole, as long as it was deep--about twelve inches and nearly symmetrical--likely the work of a Pileated Woodpecker.

Tonight while reading a May 30, 1959 letter from Burchfield to Dr. Braasch, I came to understand why, as you said in your December 19th note to me, Burchfield called cardinals "red-birds:"

"Another I worked on was the 'Song of the Red-bird' (I refuse to call it a cardinal, for the simple reason that Red-bird is a more unpretentious name). I'm not sure if I showed that to you. It's a 1917 that has been added to."

I hope you enjoyed the holiday.

Warm wishes,



Janelle Lynch is the 2013 Burchfield resident artist. She has garnered international recognition over the last decade for her large-format photographs of the urban and rural landscape. Widely exhibited, her work is in several public and private collections including the Burchfield Penney, George Eastman House Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Newark Museum, the Fundación Vila Casas, Barcelona, and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Salta, Argentina.