Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Summer Solstice (In Memory of the American Chestnut Tree), 1961-66; watercolor on paper, 54 x 60 inches; Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals June 21, 1947
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
To the country S.E. of E. Aurora, with a view to painting. I was seeking the little brown-water stream where I painted a bed of wild iris in 1943. I remembered it as a delightful spot, and too, I wanted to get some ideas for enlarging the 1943 sketch.
The day was almost a complete failure. In the first place my memory was at fault on the location of the place. I thought it was on the Blakeley’s Corners Road, but I was wrong. But the real trouble of the day was a succession of flat tires (3 in all, all on the same corner of the car. The first occurred when I was retracing my road from R. 16). – Back in E. Aurora I spent an hour waiting for the flat to be fixed. The second dirt road also proved to be wrong, and so I went back to the Blakeley’s Corner Rd, and followed it east of Route 78, where it turns to a narrow dirt lane.
My little vale was not on this road, and I spent an hour or so looking for some other likely spot to [spend] the day. Nothing seemed right, - I found a rather attractive spot in a little valley where I decided to eat my lunch. This proves a very pleasant hour. The day was bright & sunny & all nature seemed in the full blush of first growth. A cool wind from the east.
When I went to resume my drive, I discovered the second flat. By noon I felt perhaps something was wrong with the axle or wheel, and thought I should head for a more traveled road. I pursued a devious route over several different dirt routes to R. 16 – After I had gone north on it for some distance, I decided to look at the replacement tire & see if all was well. Air was coming out of it with a loud hissing noise. Fortunately I was near a service station & pulled over. We discovered one of the tires was ruined beyond repair, & the other required a blow-out patch. When all this was completed & I went to drive away, the right front wheel locked & refused to budge, even when the garage attendant raised the car & tried to turn it by hands.
When he confessed to his ignorance of brakes, I called the E. Aurora AAA garage & got them to give him directions over the phone. Eventually the wheel was released and I went on my way – now towards home –, with so little braking power, I had to play safe and creep along.
A mis-spent day that seems like a nightmare.
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, June 21, 1947