Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Heat Lightning (also known as Landscape with Grey Clouds), ca. 1962; watercolor, charcoal, and white chalk on joined paper, 58 x 45 inches; DC Moore Gallery, New York
Charles Burchfield, Journals, July 21, 1962
Sunday, July 21, 2019
July 21 – Saturday –
A variable day – sometimes dark, overcast and again hazy sunlight – low humidity –
A.M. Installing a sliding drawer under the sink – cutting down a shade for canned goods shelves in the back-hall.
After the noon-day meal – to the studio. Struggling with the two cartoons for “The Bearded Hills of August” and “Heat Lightning”. Working first on the latter – I made a distinct advance on this idea – I plan a farmhouse, surrounded by tall pointed firs or black spruce. And also in the shapes and placement of the many little lakes with one to reflect the lightening – A [unintelligible word] the house to the left of center, made me think of the “Bearded Hills” house, and that perhaps it should be placed more to the right and not just left of center as it was. I tried this out with a tracing, and it seemed to balance.
Tired and frustrated at the end of the afternoon – Had tea and then for a nap.
In the mail received a letter from T.R. MacDonald Director of the Art Gallery of Hamilton that they had just purchased my “December Day”.
Evening to Creams for a snack, then for a drive – sunset time; the sky full of scattered cumulous clouds and other non-descript fragments of clouds, all made rosy by the setting sun. Stopped at the Twin Oak Motel to make reservations for Mary, Vic + Clara who are coming next week-end for a visit.
When we got home we went for a stroll in the back-yard. While we were admiring the riot of field flowers next door, a bat suddenly appeared, performing astonishing gymnastics in the air, catching insects. He seemed so large we concluded he was not the common Brown Bat – later two more joined him. It was thrilling to watch their bewildering gyrations against the twilight sky.
The wonderful twilight glow under the willow tree –
On our way out I had seen a large dragon-fly over the path – darting this way and that – I saw him catch two insects – oddly enough the first I saw the [unintelligible word] in a life-time of watching them.
We stopped at the studio to look at the two cartoons Bertha thought the changes I suggested were decided improvements –
Evening music – Smetana’s “My Fatherland” wonderful exciting music from beginning to end. If music could properly be described as “masculine” this surely can be masculine in the highest, noblest sense, not just non-feminine. (Men like Hemmingway or Picasso are anti-feminine in their overly-masculine outlook – whereas men like Peter or Paul, Beethoven etc., are masculine in the truest sense) The powerful drums in “Tabor” always send chills down my back –
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, July 21, 1962