Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Wood Thrush and Setting Sun, 1950; watercolor on paper, 19 x 40 inches; Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, July 12, 1948
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Out Painting –
A hot, misty muggy day. I had in mind the painting of the feeling of just such a day, naming a cat-tail marsh as a vehicle.
It developed that I was going to have a difficult time of finding such a spot. On other trips it seems as if I must have passed dozens of such places, and yet I could not remember a single place, except vaguely. Out Route 78 and thence by torturous wanderings thru Bliss & various country roads until I eventually find myself at the Junction of 98 & 243, which was familiar. Thence on 98 & turned off towards Farmersville, thinking to find cat-tails by the R.R. – But none to be seen. At a little stream & ponds, I parked and ate my lunch under a maple. A charming place, and had it not been for my obsession of the cat-tails, it would have been a good place to spend the day.
But on I went, growing more and more irritated and discouraged until I found myself on 219, below Springville. Go to Genesee Rd, & west on it. Just before the junction of it & 219 I saw a little cattail group. Here I determined to set up my easel & paint. And as I did, on the edge of a hay-field where previous rains had flattened the hay.
Very hot & unpleasant – sweat ran off me in rivulets – I felt half nauseated, worked until 5:00, then to the same spot where I spent the other evening.
I spread blankets & ate my lunch under a maple. But soon after rain from the edge of a storm travelling to the south, soon drove me into the car. I did not enjoy the evening as much as on last Thursday. I parked a while on the same spot as I ended the former visit. – Wood thrush sang again but more subdued, a pair of jumping mice amused me – the raced all over the dirt & then into the hayfield. Their progress marked by twitching grasses.
Home at 8:30. B & M liked the sketch, but somehow to me it seems, in parts, to be over-expressionistic.
Charles E. Burchfield, July 12, 1948