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, September 22-24, 1962

    Sunday, September 22, 2019

    ...for example in radical innovations such as the “Moth and Thunderclap,” which I get a thrill from every time I look at it, but which has made me wonder, “Is this going too far into the abstract world?” John seemed “bowled over” by it in fact it probably was hismore

  • Letter from Charles E. Burchfield to Frank K. M. Rehn, September 21, 1944

    Saturday, September 21, 2019

    I feel happier than I have felt in years…. I’m going to give you more sounds and dreams and—yes, I’m going to make people smell what I want them to, and with visual means.

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, September 23, 1916

    Friday, September 20, 2019

    I have forgotten these idealistic lands to the south—sun-beaten thunderheads at noon! To awake some morning entirely refreshed, to walk out barefooted in the dewy grass & walk eastward in the dusk over a strange land to meet the sun—

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, September 17, 1914

    Thursday, September 19, 2019

    A little of Beethoven. He was deaf. I have sound ears, pretty good eyes—all my senses are well developed even to several others not mentioned in the physiology. Yet I admit the possibility of failure sometimes. I contemn myself.

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, September 18, 1916

    Wednesday, September 18, 2019

      The days are cold – The afterglows are yellow; a blueness pervades the air – light blue smokes goes up stagnantly from some chimneys –

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, September 17, 1914

    Tuesday, September 17, 2019

     A clear air day. Patches of white pithy dapple-like clouds in the blue. Morning fresh & cold. Noon sun warm. I hear katy-dids, the first for some days...

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, September 16, 1913

    Monday, September 16, 2019

    "...The combination of wind rushing thru trees and the clatter of rain beating against streaking winds is one of the fine things about Autumn weather..."

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, September 15, 1962

    Sunday, September 15, 2019

    After a long and animated conversation in the house we went out to the studio, where I showed them some of my recent work – It was a pleasure showing to them for they not only understood what I was trying to express, but were enthusiastic too –

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, between September 12 and September 14, 1919

    Saturday, September 14, 2019

    Negley— the shriek of the locomotive is tossed about from one hog-back to another like children play ball; it seems all over when far to the northeast comes a last remote echo, and the hot white silence settles down over the town again –

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, September 7, 1914

    Friday, September 13, 2019

    This dew-drenched spurry valley is a wonderful thing on misty mornings. Shrub willows star-studded which, snapped by the new born breeze, flung upward pieces of silver that struck by the sun were given voice & dissolved into killdeers.

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