Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), In the Deep Woods, 1918-56; watercolor on joined paper, 33 x 45 inches; Private Collection
Charles Burchfield, Journals, February 24, 1936
Friday, February 27, 2015
Beyond E. Aurora on Hill above Olean Rd, painting – the first trip painting outdoors since last August –
A mild soft breeze from the south, the sky partly cloudy & with a misty sun at times; snow melting rapidly the roads full of black water –
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.
As I worked, the roar of the wind in the tree tops was exciting – at times the wide-open nearness of roaring trains from the railroad below – As the afternoon drew to a close, the clouds thickened, the wind increased, and grew colder, and a dark gloom settled down over the woods that seemed almost frightening – I was loath to leave the place, and as I tramped thru the soggy snow, I paused often to look – the sky had a vibrant electric, steel gray quality to it, trees rocked back and forth swaying majestically from their very bases.
Leaving the woods I came out to the brink of the valley. It seemed tremendously vast & wide; the snow had a peculiar yellow light on it, the woods on the far hills was smoky violet in color, and the sky was a mud gray, misty & looming forward.
Charles Burchfield, February 24, 1936