Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), July Drought Sun, 1949-60; watercolor on paper, 45 x 54 inches; Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, July 1, 1948
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
July 1 – (Thurs.)
To the country south of Java Village sketching:
A fine windy day, with deep blue sky and an infinite variety of rain & cumulus clouds –
First over the Warren Hill & Vermont Roads, which last summer I found so rich with material; but somehow it seemed sterile today, and so I went on, south on the Vermont Hill Rd & then eastward on the Chaffee Rd.
For a time I thought it was going to be one of those futile days, when no shot seems just exactly right, and I drive endlessly on until complete frustration sets in and I must give up and go home. But then I took a road east from a “corners” (unnamed) but which was east of Sardinia according to the signs) which soon turned from macadam to a hard gravelled road, I had not gone far until I came to some wide spreading hay meadows, enclosed by deep mysterious woods on all points, excepting of course, the road outlets, and a point in the north, & then to the northwest, where was afforded a run over rolling blue hills (it was from this direction that the great sweeping phalanxes of clouds proceeded). The sides of the road were solid here and I was able to pull clear off the road, and park under a group of small wild cherry and ash trees.
For a time I merely wandered about revelling in the beauty of the day, as a child might, reaching out to get handfuls of the cold wind, and examining each field flower – self-heal, black eyed susan, pink and ...clovers, white daisies, yellow & white sweet clovers – as if they were the rarest flowers on earth, as indeed they are ! – the Timothy was just coming into head, a soft silvery green, which the wind, and a strong burst of sunshine turned into glistening white ripples that raced across the meadows with joyous abandon. Sometimes great cumulus clouds piled up into large towering masses, overhead, blotting out the sun, and casting a deep shadow over the trees and fields that almost seemed as if it could be felt with the hands – To the north white round clouds, on a background of deep blue black cumuli were startling and [???]– a fine North feeling, especially above a low-lying woods.
A barn-swallow (who stayed all afternoon & evening) kept flying low over the meadow, evidently catching insects; darting with seemingly reckless abandon here & there in great long glides, making sharp angled turns or even an about-face in a split second, or turning half over revealing his orange tinted breast. – a marvelous creature, the epitome of the day – of wind blown meadows in June or July. The longing to do exactly what he was doing became almost too great to bear.
Charles E. Burchfield, July 1, 1948