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, March. 6, 1934

    Friday, March 6, 2015

    I woke while it was yet night, a March gale blowing across the land; the moon was shining clear, and a brilliant star was rising in the east –

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, March 4 -8, 1945

    Thursday, March 5, 2015

    Trip to N.Y. for a little work on the Guggenheim jury and for the “testimonial” dinner for Frank. [Rehn]

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, March 4-5, 1947

    Wednesday, March 4, 2015

    Work on the reconstructed 1939 “Hill Country after a shower” for the C&O. I will re-name it “Appalachian Twilight” or Evening.

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, March 03,1962

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015

    Another brilliant sunshiny day – Before the sun came up, when only a pale orange glow was shining beyond the thicket, the red-bird was singing – A thin sliver of the last crescent of the moon.

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, March 1, 1916

    Monday, March 2, 2015

    I woke up this morning in time to hear a redbird singing. A little later the sun rose in the heavy mists, a red disc.  A beautiful thing is that the harness of work horses of various farms around town are ornamented with rings and brass ornaments etc.

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, March 1, 1948

    Sunday, March 1, 2015

    First drive M for her check up with Dr. Potter.  I shook hands with Potter – When I said “I don’t suppose you remember me” he countered “Yes, I know, I brought you into the world”! A great old fellow

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, February 28, 1941

    Saturday, February 28, 2015

    To Buffalo – Car to Justice for service.Sketching around town — building tops on Main near Chippewa. Then to lunch at one-arm.Then more notes of Elec. Bldg. & then to get car.

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, February 24, 1936

    Friday, February 27, 2015

    On the way up the hill (difficult going, deep soggy drifts) I was overcome with the beauty of the day, it did not seem possible the world could be so beautiful, and I felt anew my utter baseness, and unworthiness of such delights.

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, February 22, 1946

    Thursday, February 26, 2015

    ...all the, time I felt that I was not calm enough in my mind for real concentration on such a work at this time, and that I ought not be doing it; rather some mechanical work would be better.

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, February 18, 1915

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015

    Excellent weather for sap-running. Broken branches are hung with whitish icicles. I ate one and wondered if my imagina­tion made it taste sweet.

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