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 E. Burchfield, Journals, July 29, 1947
Saturday, July 29, 2017
I no longer get pleasure out of the Wilds. We do not seem to have anything in common—I get some stimulation, but most it’s irritation.
After they left, B & I out by the creek & on East Ave. to watch the heat lightning. A gorgeous display in the southeast over the creek. It was a fine night – the almost full moon, misty low in the south, a strong mild wind from the southwest. A distant storm, too far for the sound to reach the observer, ranks with the Northern Lights in mystery; and visually, it is more beautiful and dramatic. Though seemingly always in the same group of thunderheads, the variations in the cloud forms illuminated were infinite. Sometimes fragments of “snake” lightning leaping from one cloud to another would flare forth blindingly, free of the obscuring mists.
But I could not free my mind of the irritations of the early part of the evening, and felt frustrated that on this one evening, which will probably be the only one this season for “heat” lightning, I was not attune.
Charles E. Burchfield, July 29, 1947