Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Heat Lightning, 1962; watercolor, charcoal, and white chalk on joined paper, unfinished, 58 x 45 inches; DC Moore Gallery, New York
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, July 29, 1947
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
July 29 (Tues.)
A fresh windy morning with less humidity. In studio studying my recent work, and playing records—The Dvorak Quintet Opus 106, and V. Williams Symph. & S. I was especially receptive, and they sounded more beautiful than ever before. My pictures, too, seemed better than I had expected.
P.M. To Buffalo—to get supplies for a picnic lunch in the evening, and also to look up books on mushrooms.
Hardly had I entered Ulrich’s and asked for the mushroom books than one of the clerks, overhearing, came forward and asked “Are you Mr. Charles Burchfield?”—“Yes” “Your wife wants you to call home at once. She said you would be in asking about mushroom books.”
It turned out that Carl Wilds had called, and B had invited them for supper which meant a change of plans and especially of the meat.
I found two good books on mushrooms. Unable to choose between them, I purchased both.
I no longer get pleasure out of the Wilds. We do not seem to have anything in common—I get some stimulation, but mostly its 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 now in the south, a strong mild wind from the southeast. 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 leaking from on cloud to another would flare forth blindingly, free of the obscuring mists.
But I could not free my mind of the imitations 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