Charles E. Burchfield in his own words Share Tweet

 
Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Genesis, 1924; watercolor, 21 3/8 x 30 1/2 inches, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of the Burchfield Foundation, 1975

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Genesis, 1924; watercolor, 21 3/8 x 30 1/2 inches, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of the Burchfield Foundation, 1975

Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, July 12, 1964

Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 12 – Sunday –

Rain – cool wind from the N.E.

I held a barn-swallow in the palm of my hand – what a thrill! It had been hit by a car, and lay struggling feebly on the road. It struggled some more when I picked it up, but then lay still on its back, feet drawn into its belly, eyes full of fear.

What a delicate, beautiful creature, so trim and perfectly shaped for its life of skimming over meadows in pursuit of insects – all buffs yellows and tawny tones on its underside, navy blue and sooty black on its whole top side.

What to do with it? But before I had time to pursue this dilemma, it began to struggle again, and fluttered to the ground. I picked it up, set it right side up on my hand, and all at once it took wing and sailed out over the meadow.

“You would have had to kill it, wouldn’t you?” Bertha said.

“I suppose so, but how could I do such a thing?”

We were on our way eastward from West Valley where we had dinner at the Tea Room, - headed for Machias. Rain had stopped, and the sky was covered with great masses of formless clouds through which the sunlight vaguely filtered.

Northeast from Machias, around Lime Lake, + on to Delevan, thence by Savage Road, (+Allen to Pratham + Crump to Center St. road + on home) –

It is the Camomile season – in great quantities along the roads. It recalls warm sunny barn-yards

Barn turrets with swallows – Sibelius “Finlandia” and pastoral life of old a sense of forlorn desolation fills me on the “finishing” of Summer Solstice – the end of a quest of forty years or more – or is it the end? I must put it aside and turn to new, more different things – “Genesis” (“and the Spirit of god….”) is yet to be started, and many others – the “Blue Dome of June” was but barely launched last year. But the loneliness of a finished work nevertheless eats at me. *

*While an artist is still working on a theme, it fills his whole mind he lives in that world – but once he brings it to conclusion, he must leave that world, and find another to dream in – it is not always easy.

Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, July 12, 1964

 

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