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, Volume 58 (b), March 25, 1957

    Saturday, March 25, 2017

    Each day I stop to contemplate the downy bowed heads of the hepaticas, half-hidden under the leaves – there they wait humbly for their cue to lift their heads and open wide to the sky – the one being the first warm ray of the sun.

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, March 26, 1911

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    At one place I found a pile of bird feathers, strewn over the ground. They were mostly grey and white, but a few were of a dull orange, and I thought it had probably been a ground oriole. 

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, March 23, 1917

    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    P. M. Out Ellsworth Road, sketching – terrific high, wind looming clouds – bluebirds & singing of telegraph wires – Host of redwings while I was in a gale on a hill painting the sun & clouds —

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals March 18 - 27, 1945

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    Guggenheim Jury – more exciting & interesting this year – a new member – he represents the detached museum mind that assures a much wider tolerance of art styles than any practicing artist – we had many interesting discussions

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, March 21, 1946

    Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    To country east of Bowen Rd. Park first on Bowen Rd. and walk eastward to explore swamp...

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, March 20, 1917

    Monday, March 20, 2017

    A dappled sky, silver sun...sunlit some places greening grass...A haze vibration over the ground.

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, March 19, 1943

    Sunday, March 19, 2017

    Ice-storm from the east – Crackle of poplar branches swayed by the wind – 

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, Volume 48, March 18, 1947

    Saturday, March 18, 2017

    Edward showed some of his recent acquisitions, all abstracts. — One in particular I like, by Tobey. Abstracts are fine for people who have all the material benefits, and who wish to avoid all unpleasant contacts with the world. Abstract art offers a complete escape.

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, March 17, 1911

    Friday, March 17, 2017

    Erin go Bragh! Hurrah for Ireland! Everyone had green or orange on to-day. Spring is coming back. It has been cloudy all day but it has been growing steadily warmer and the snow is melting fast.

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals March 16, 1919

    Thursday, March 16, 2017

    It had rained all night & all day—I went out over the loose spongy earth—the rain increased in fury—a flock of bluebirds in a meadow were chattering with a melodious cheerfulness—

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