Charles E. Burchfield in his own words Share Tweet

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Appalachian Highway, 1939-41; watercolor on paper, 22 x 28 inches; Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Appalachian Highway, 1939-41; watercolor on paper, 22 x 28 inches; Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives

Charles Burchfield, Journals, August 13-14, 1941

Sunday, August 14, 2016

August 13-14

To Emporium County sketching.

I was happy to be back again to this County, which I have grown to love.
I was late in starting, so it was not until one o’clock when I arrived at the point about 20 miles beyond Emporium, where I usually ate my lunch (on the 1939 trips). A truck was parked at this place, so I drove on to the berm of a hill that overlooks Sinnemahoning, I spread a blanket under the trees, and after resting awhile, ate my lunch with great relish. The night had been unseasonably cold (I later learned that  frost was reported in some places) and tho by noon the hot August sun beat down with power, under the trees, there was a chill, of autumn.

I spent the after noon making notes and studies for the three pictures I started in 1939 (The Great Hill, Late Afternoon in the Hills, and Appalachian Highway.) I did not finish until 6:30, then drove lazily towards Emporium.
Cold spring water.

Room at Hotel Brunner – more crowded than two years ago – forced to take a room on the third floor, in which the furnishings were really bad. The bed however proved to be excellent.
Dinner at the “Coffee-Shop” –

After eating for a walk westward through town. The great hills to the south brooding darkly over the town. The freight whistle – echoing + re-echoing thru the valley.
A carnival on the outskirts – I walked out and gazed at it unseeingly a moment, then returned to my room.

Awake at 7:00 – It seems like a gray cloudy day, but later I find this to be caused by the great blanket of fog that hovers just above the town.

To the Fire-tower south of the town – pleasant going up the long winding road.
The great thistle.
To Sinnemahoning for lunch at the Sherbrooke Inn.

Back to Driftwood, where I had picked out a subject for my afternoon’s work. A view looking down on some houses at the base of a high steep hill, with a scraggly tulip-tree in front, the steep sunlight pouring down.

All afternoon painting with complete happiness.
The powerful echo here – has sounds reverberate hollowly thru the hills. A [unintelligible] on the wooded hillside – it evoked some long forgotten memories, perhaps con-genital. A car back-firing – the first echo was almost instantaneous – and seemed even louder than the initial sound – shouts of children at play, neighbors calling to each other – I wish I could express somehow the feeling these sounds gave me as they echoed + re-echoed thru the valley. Especially towards evening, as the sun declined in the west, and the misty blue-violet shadows slipped over the steep hillside, did it seem even more elemental – with something of melancholy about it.

I finished work – or rather change of light forced me to stoop – at abouot 5:30 – but I lingered, loath to leave the spot –

I finally tore myself away, as I had planned to return home on this day. The deep woods adjoining from Emporium to Smethport.
Supper at this turn – (the negro boy waiter – two men who came in, urging him to apologize to the principal of some school – told him to look them up when he came back to Olean – that he wasn’t supposed to leave the state etc.)

Route 59 to Bradford – a fine cement road. The ominous yellow afterglow brooding over the hills, casting deep shadows under the trees.
Salamanca – telephoned Bertha from a wayside lunchroom. The great black hill brooding to the east –

Fine driving along thru the dark landscape. When trees came close to the road, the sound of katy-dids.
Home at a quarter of eleven.

Charles Burchfield, Journals, August 13-14, 1941