Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Clover Field in June, 1947; watercolor on paper, 39 3/4 x 28 3/4 inches; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, George A. Hearn Fund, 1948; Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, June 27, 1947
Saturday, June 27, 2020
Up late, but determined to go out painting nevertheless.
To the country east of Strykersville. A very warm quiet humid day, which was what I wanted for the particular mood I wanted to express. (the full noon of the summer solstice).
I wanted to visit the little vale that I missed last Saturday & accordingly took the first dirt road leading east of Strykersville.
After I had gone over five miles into unknown country I realized I again was on the wrong road (but the road & country were delightful & I intended coming back unless my little vale proved far superior). I returned my course and took the next road from the center of the village. This proved to be the right one.
The little spot proved to be disappointing—probably because it was shut in by the hills & therefore very hot and moist. I drove back to the first road, and parked under a maple tree, and decided to spend the day there.
It was very delightful— While flat, it was nevertheless high enough to afford views in most directions to lower country. The fields were mostly unentangled. It was pleasant in the shade. A slight breeze from off of the fields. To the south distant rolling hills & meadows almost lost in a steaming blue haze. A blue bird sang from a wire overhead.
After lunch a brief survey of a clover field along the road. This was my subject & I soon had my apparatus set up.
[Burchfield bracketed the next paragraph in red pencil.]
A glorious afternoon—the breeze lifted the rich clover scent until I was enveloped in it—the hot sun beating down, the glare of light on the fields, the sense of earth & sky being fused by the sun’s rays. I felt as a child again, lost in the wonder of God’s creation.
A pair of bobolinks scolded me all the while I was painting.
Shortly after I had started, I suddenly heard “Why, hello there” in the exaggerated cordial tone of society people. I trembled: Someone I knew! — But the two ladies in the car were completely unknown to me—“How is it going?” was the next question. “I have just started. I replied shortly. “Would you mind telling me your name” (!!!) I mumbled something unintelligibly—Then “Do you have any pictures in Hamburg?” — “No, I do not”—A slight pause, then as that started the car—“It’s a lovely view here,”—“Yes, isn’t it?”—and they went on.
After I had finished I spread a blanket and lay down looking up onto the sky. The day was coming to an end, and like me seemed tired. Down the road a brown thrasher was presenting his infinite variety of songs; the bobolinks were still suspicious of me, but another one further off spread his cascade of song over the meadows, and the bluebird still sang at times…… a slight rustle—a small dark brown snake was slowly stealing thru the grass toward me. I touched his back with my fingertip and he fairly leaped into the ditch to get away……. Again a rustle in the ditch—possibly a mole, but he eluded me.
I ate my lunch, then rather emotionally exhausted, I drove back to the iris vale, picked some forget-me-nots and some large rank-growing spikes of great flowers, then drove on home.
Hank & M, there—with B & M.A.—The girls went up & got ice cream—we had scarcely finished when C came home with some more.
Everyone rather liked my sketch—tho they found it rather startling.
—Charles E. Burchfield, June 27, 1947