Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Ancient Maples in August, 1957; watercolor and pencil on paper, 16 3/4 x 21 3/4 inches; Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, August 15,1942
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
All morning on the frames - then I felt the need of getting out and doing some painting so strongly that after lunch, I hurriedly gathered together my stuff, packed a lunch, and went out.
South thru Boston Valley to the Genesee Rd, thence eastward to the Pratham Rd, north on it to first road and turning east. Here I found my subject in a little lone farmhouse, framed in by the half-arch of a maple, close by the road.
Hardly had I started, when dark storm clouds appeared in the west. The last gleam on sunlight before the clouds spread out, lit up the bleached dead grass beautifully. I worked rapidly, first having gotten my umbrella ready, in case I needed it. It was well I did, for tho the worst of the storm passed to the north, at times rain fell quite heavily, once so much I had to take my painting into the car. In spite of these minor interruptions I was able to work most of the afternoon.
The tree that I included in my picture, was the last of a row, behind which the land ascended upward abruptly, composed mostly of pasture and wooded tracts. The sound of various obscure activities came from this area - the screen of trees was so dense, that I could only see small portions of the scene beyond. There was the clank of some sort of machinery, men's voices, and occasionally the bawling of a young heifer; which had a contrivance about its neck to prevent it sucking. Later in the afternoon, one of the men apparently was trying to bring the cows in to be milked, and it called for a lot of shouting, running, and cursing. Far from being annoying, these vague goingson, seemed only to make the whole area behind the tree screen one of mystery.
Charles E. Burchfield, August 15, 1942