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, August 28, 1916

    Friday, August 28, 2015

    A cool rainy morning – clearing  - vivid blue cold sky – reflected in pools + wet roofs – brilliant cold sunlight

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, August 28, 1913

    Thursday, August 27, 2015

    Clouds! While other phenomena of nature delight us and arouse the poetry in us I do not believe anything quite stirs our imagination as do clouds...

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, August 26, 1914

    Wednesday, August 26, 2015

    A poplar tree, no matter how distant, may be discerned from all others. Saw one this morning quite aways off whose twinkle, lessened by distance, appeared as heat waves. All the coldness of the sky + wind + the freshness of the sunlight was in that tree.

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, August 25, 1917

    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    Strange how Summer and Fall should meet all at once. Last night was deep August – stagnant, heavy, a huge thunderstorm booming to the North...

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, August 24, 1948

    Monday, August 24, 2015

    To Zimmerman Rd. to do the grasshopper picture...unpremeditated was the introduction of a yellow & black spider (Miranda) feeding on a grasshopper...

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, August 23, 1945

    Sunday, August 23, 2015

    A fine clear, blue-skied day, with a cool wind from the N.E. – A few clouds in the morning but clearing in the afternoon. 

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, Vol. 50b, August 22, 1949

    Saturday, August 22, 2015

    Evening – Picnic on Lake Shore with Alspachs — they brought along fried chicken, & wieners which we roasted over a fire. – Wonderful sunset clouds – a storm to the north, A & I looking for agates -. As we were eating & twilight settled down, hundreds ofmore

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, August 23, 1926

    Friday, August 21, 2015

    Summer attains its greatest dignity & power in August. In this dignity & power exist simultaneously a sinister quality, and a deeply mystical one. 

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, August 20, 1938

    Thursday, August 20, 2015

    After breakfast, I retraced my way to Wellsville for spring water and then came leisurely back along the river, which was beautiful and serene in the thick sun-shot morning mists.

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, August 19, 1947

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015

    A restless night – got to worrying about Red & Sally running their car without insurance. Finally had to write them a letter about it.

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