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 Burchfield, Journals, August 19, 1913

    Monday, August 19, 2019

    Today was a care-less happy go lucky day at the office - and lazy. I might add.

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, August 18, 1953

    Sunday, August 18, 2019

    Evening to Celia Schutz – (Mrs. Fisher, Porterfield, Bob + Evelyn Westphal, Dr. + Mrs.     ) A pleasant chatty time. Celia showed us her recent flower pictures. Lunch at 11:00 good but too much.

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, Vol. 54, Aug. 17, 1953

    Saturday, August 17, 2019

    A.M. – completed the Johnny Walker sketch (having already made the finished picture! Too complete to send as a “sketch” on B’s suggestion I made a more careless copy. Then we decided we had nothing whatever to show that he had ordered the picture so wrote asking him for amore

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, August 16, 1914

    Friday, August 16, 2019

    Now that I am here I can not tell what is in the wind—and this is indeed its greatest charm., like the women-in-love stories. 

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, August 12, 1914

    Thursday, August 15, 2019

    There is beauty about a rainy day that is hard to express. There is a sort of rest and peacefulness about it. We seem nearer to the creator on such a day—the barriers have been let down.—

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals August 14, 1950

    Wednesday, August 14, 2019

    How good to be out again in this wild secluded spot. Aug. morning in the woods – cicadas singing, oval patches of sunlight falling aslant tree-trunks, spot-lighting patch of rugged bark...

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, August 13, 1914

    Tuesday, August 13, 2019

    The sun is peculiarly golden just at sunset. The level rays strike the sidewalk and turns it to a sheet of gold...

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, August 12, 1914

    Monday, August 12, 2019

    A calm heavy downpour lasting from about 4:00 to 7:00. This marks the first rain this summer that has come without a thunder­storm.

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, August 11, 1962

    Sunday, August 11, 2019

    In studio most of the day – readying up, sorting out notes etc. – It is discouraging to me to come across notes and ideas I had forgotten – discouraging because they suggest good pictures and yet...

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, Vol. 49, August 10, 1948

    Saturday, August 10, 2019

    About noon Harold Olmsted & his son-in-law Roderick in for a visit...One thing he wrote was that had I never painted such a thing as my “Mid-June” the world would have lost much.

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