Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Two Ravines, 1934-1943; watercolor on joined paper mounted on board, 36 1/2 x 61 1/8 inches; Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Gift of the Benwood Foundation, HMAA.1976.3.9
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, February 6, 1943
Saturday, February 6, 2016
The last three days of bright spring-like weather — the sun shining brilliantly from watery blue skies, a brisk cool wind from the south –
They have been somewhat marred for me by a mental turmoil brought on by a telephone call from Henry Poor, who wanted me to go with him and a few others, to Alaska, in the status of a war correspondent, attached to (but not subject to) the army. The artists would paint scenes relative to the army’s duties in that territory. There were so many attractive elements connected with the idea (“all my life” I have longed to go to some north country) that my first impulse was to say yes; but soberer reflection presented less attractive features, which in the end outweighed the others. It boiled down I think to the fact that I hate to leave my family, for one thing, and I hate to leave my painting here, when I seem to be entering upon a new creative period. Financially, it would have been wise to accept, for (on calling Rehn) I learned little has happened in the way of sales this winter. By summer if no change comes we will be without income, whereas with what I would get from the Gov’t, we would be able to start next Fall, with a little nest egg. However, Bertha (God bless her, for she is a jewel) told me not to consider either finances, or family, but to consider only what I wanted to do personally, and what was best for my work. So I chose to stay here.
And today as I stood on the cement abutment by the creek in front of our house, looking at the ice-jammed creek, and feeling the strong keen wind as it came out of the vast sunlit southern sky, I felt a wave of gratitude and peace sweep over me, as tho I had been delivered from some disaster! –
I am determined to continue with my painting until it is absolutely impossible to do so.
Charles E. Burchfield, February 6, 1943