Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), North Otto Thunderhead, 1964; watercolor on paper, 44 x 26 3/4 inches; Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, September 4 - October 14, 1964
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Sept 4— Oct. 14— (Wednesday)
A period of confusion and aimless dissipation of time and thoughts — Bouts with labyrinthitis and bronchial infection — Not serious but debilitating —
Victor died on the 7th — we were unable to go to the funeral.
Brightest event was the visit from Mary Alice and the three children — Steve, Him and Sally (Sept. 5 to 11)
It was so good to have Mary Alice “under our roof” again, and to get acquainted by our California grand-children again. Bright, interesting youngsters a little shy, of course, something to be praised for.
We did nothing spectacular, just visited, and talked — A trip to the Falls, and a trip to 18 Mile Creek (Steve, interested in geology, had read about this creek, famous for it septarin — they saw quite a few all too big to be carried away. A good visit in the studio
Later Mary Alive told me that Jim had confided to her “Grandpa is really a boy at heart, he knows just how a boy feels” which puffed me up quite a bit!
They left by plane the afternoon of the 11th — leaving behind a vacancy in our hearts, but also the feeling that we had had a uniquely satisfactory visit.
During this period I worked on the “Sparrow Hawk Weather” picture — eliminated the upper half
(Oct. 14 — Cont.) Put a fresh piece of paper on, and repainted the whole tree and sky, with some changes in the lower part. The tree looks better, but I feel vaguely dissatisfied with they sky — However I had to put it away, not knowing further what to do with it.
For several weeks, Bertha has been plagued by abdominal pains. ... — She also is troubled by insomnia more than usual perhaps on account of the infection — My therapy of putting on records at bed-time does not work so well any more, or if it puts her to sleep, she wakes up an hour later, then has to lie awake for several hours — But in the morning when I call down to her, she always answers in a gay manner, as if nothing were wrong — a wonderful person.
Preliminary plans with Mr. Binzley at the Bank, for the Chamber of Commerce dinner to be given Nov. 7. I promised to bring some pictures, and talk about — Some of my time has been taken up with selecting pictures etc —
1…Visiting down south on a large farm or plantation — altho (sic) it was July, I found many hepaticas in full bloom in an open grove — My host explained they bloomed so late on account of the high elevation — They were beautiful, ranging in color from white, pink, bluish lavender to deep pink and the deepest blue-violet —
2 — Visiting Evie & Bob — Evie had sent me of the children to a corner store for some groceries. When he did not return, I went out into the street to look for him — and beheld a strange fantastic scene — which, awake, I find hard to describe — that is to show why it seemed so unusual — a range of low mountains, one a high grassy hill. Patterned with low bushes of wildly varying shapes, and in the center, just beyond the corner store, a volcanic crater —
3 — On a trip into outer space, which seemed so realistic during the dream — from out space-ship I could see distant planets as huge spheres — As we approached one of these we (my fellow-passengers and I) speculated on what sort of inhabitants we would find. When we landed we found people like ourselves, but talking a strange language — what seems worth remembering is the realistic sensation of really sailing through space and seeing the vast caverns of illimitable void.
Charles E. Burchfield, Sept. 4 - Oct. 14, 1964