Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), The Promise of Spring, 1956; watercolor and charcoal on paper laid down on board, 40 x 27 inches; Image from the Burchfield Penney Archives
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 20, 1956
Saturday, April 20, 2019
April 20, Tues.
To the Big Woods, hoping to do a black woods interior with falling snow. (At Hamburg, worried about B — I called her from a wayside booth – she said M was arriving home this morning —)
On the way – Rough gray –violet maple trunks (stained with green moss) with their vivid black accents – snowflakes falling in front of them – – – – A distant woods grayed and made feathery by a near-blizzard – The inexpressible beauty of snow in April —
First I made some pencil studies of the two dead chestnuts south of the road. So cold I had to wear gloves —
Then for an excursion into the woods to seek a spot to paint —which I readily found — almost any spot would do on such an exciting day — but I chose a view down the main ravine, where grew some tall hemlocks. As I stood planning my work, a shower of snow slowly advanced thru the woods from the north — and a wave of supreme happiness swept over me, and I thanked God for such a moment.
— A pleasant lunch, during which I watched a succession of snow squalls over the hills to the south, across Zoar Valley. (their tops sun whitened) – Then I set up my easel and started to work – So cold the sponge froze every once in a while. I was still obsessed with the idea of a snow flurry picture, but as the work neared completion I did not have the nerve to add any snow-flakes – It seemed complete without them – Worked until six o’clock –
Tea & relaxation – then got a basket of rotting wood for the rhubarb, after which I are my lunch. Then headed for home.
I was dubious about the sketch but B — said she thought it was a good one.
A game of scrabble for relaxation –
—Charles E. Burchfield, April 20, 1956