Charles E. Burchfield in his own words

From the age of seventeen until the end of his life, American watercolor painter Charles E. Burchfield wrote in journals that chronicled his artistic and intellectual development. These journals reveal much about his unique vision, love of nature and gift for writing. Burchfield’s passion for writing could not be contained in the journals alone. Throughout his career, his moods, ideas and personal critiques were also recorded on thousands of scraps of paper and studies for paintings as well as in letters to family, friends and colleagues. His complex and layered visual language points to a complex human being. The inner triumphs, struggles and ambitions of his career are reflected and recorded in his own words and serve as an inspiration for all.

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  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 30, 1963

    Sunday, April 30, 2017

    P.M. Bob B. [Robert Blair] picked up “North in the Woods” to be photographed.Colder as the day progressed.

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 29, 1943

    Saturday, April 29, 2017

    A bright sunny day —P.M. Two water-color studies of the hepaticas which are in their full glory now.  Their rich odor comes up to me in the heat of the sun, reflected up from the ground.  Oh, would that the hepatica season go on forever –

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 28, 1916

    Friday, April 28, 2017

    A heavy fog at morning – Green lawns blend to lt blue mists – Cleared by noon – Bright sunlight – A strong blue atmosphere; objects in middle ground a distinct flat blue 

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 26, 1953

    Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    My mind has been full of little else but thoughts of the Whitney Retrospective, and teems with ideas – 

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 25, 1947

    Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    A brooding day, cloudy, a feeling of rain at any moment a vague silvery light from above—

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 24, 1958

    Monday, April 24, 2017

    “The Four Seasons”...  – I am mentally ready to work on all these, but not physically – It is hard to be held back...

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 23, 1964

    Sunday, April 23, 2017

    Last night looking at the “Burning Stumps” I came to the conclusion that the big tree in the foreground would have to be eliminated – This was a hard decision to come by –

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 22, 1932

    Saturday, April 22, 2017

    Herbein planted the fruit trees today — I went out to see them rejoicing in their trim appearance — there is something sacred about a young sapling.

  • Charles Burchfield, April 19, 1911

    Friday, April 21, 2017

    By noon, the day had resigned itself to a long dreary rain. Steadily and with constant pattering the rain came down, making streets full of pools, roofs shiny; and the roads were broken by long ruts of shining water. 

  • Charles E Burchfield, Journals, April 20, 1963

    Thursday, April 20, 2017

    A sunny cool day – The “Life” photographer (John Loengard) arrived at 11:00 (instead of 1:00 as he announced yesterday) When I asked him how long it would take he said casually he expected to be around most of the afternoon. 

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