Charles E. Burchfield in his own words Share Tweet

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Rainy Day, 1935; watercolor on paper, 37 1/4 x 31 1/4 inches; Private Collection

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Rainy Day, 1935; watercolor on paper, 37 1/4 x 31 1/4 inches; Private Collection

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. It was from the southeast, whence come all such rains. These kind prevail thruout (sic) the fall winter & spring.

There is a beauty about a rainy day that is hard to express. There is a sort of rest & peacefulness about it. We seem nearer to the creator on such a day - the barrier has been let down.

The moist air holds the smoke prisoner & the breeze carries it idly about, mingling it with its own steamy breath until we cannot tell which is which.

The damp coolth (sic) of the air is like no other thing in nature. Our thoughts & movements indeed are softened. On rainy days the man is thrown back upon his own resources - as we find an absence of sunlight, bird & insect songs.

All things swell - the earth trees plants wood & even iron why should not the same thing be true of our minds. We must expand, like the leaves, if we would receive all the cleansing water in our souls.

As the sun mounts noonward,the clouds begin to break. A cool wind - sunlight intensely bright & shadows black.

Overheard JRB & JL discussing the “sport” of fishing. JL defined it as the moment when the angler felt a slight nibbling on the line. JRB’s was not much different. His was the moment when the cork goes slowly under and the angler is in a thrilling state of doubt whether it is a bite or not. JL said there was nothing is catching a bushel. This is right –in other things as well as angling. It is the rarity of things which produces a thrill.

Day ends fresh & wonderful. The sky clears, the wind comes from the N.W. & is cool & fresh. The sunlight is very yellow. The wind contrives to expose the undersides of the foliage which the sun yellows. How quickly the grass responds to this damp weather. New blades spring up it seems a patch of lawn struck by the almost level rays of the sun, seem as fresh as in the spring. The grass in the gutters is brilliant. 

 I remember recording about the wren singing in the face of his enemies the sparrows. Did the wren chirp because they did?

Charles E Burchfield, August 12, 1914