Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Storm Over Irondale, 1920; watercolor on paper, 24 1/4 x 29 1/4 inches; Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, September 20, 1962
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Very cold (38°) this morning – 52° was the highest all day –
A day of fragmentary sunshine, with remarkable clouds – particularly in the east, a huge fleet of small cumulus wind-shaped clouds, with the spot-lighting usual in September –
Early a.m. – Took a drawing (for Sample’s) and Cathie’s water-color to the framers to be framed.
Bertha seemed so blue and tired that I suggested that we go out to lunch – Just as we were about to leave Tom called, said that the water supply at the school had failed, so he was free for the day – he wondered if he could come over and look over our nickels for his coin collection – so I suggested to Bertha she invite him to go to lunch with us, and he joyfully accepted.
To Creams – As we were eating our soup, the waitress brought our sandwiches etc. stacked on her arm – Something went wrong, and the whole business fell on the table – one of the sandwiches into Bertha’s soup – a real mess – We tried to make light of it, and put her at ease, but she could not relax about it.
We stopped at Tom’s home so he could change to play clothes – After looking over our nickels he was going up on Orchard Ave. to visit a friend of his.
P.M., in studio – got out the 1920 “Storm Over Irondale” to study it with the idea of starting a new painting on the subject – The sky in this has always bothered me – that is the threatening cloud on the right – Suddenly the solution came to me, and I started working on it, ending up by working all over the picture. At the end it seemed much more powerful and organized better – Spurred on by this success, I got out another 1920 sky picture, and managed to make it more powerful and meaningful.
While I was engaged in this, Tom came back from his visit with his friend – bursting with the story of a fight he had with a boy (a group of them had been playing football) – This boy, evidently jealous of Tom because he was the guest of his friend, or just because he was a stranger, kept needling Tom, and roughing him up; so finally Tom put his arms around his chest and flipped him over his head, so the boy landed on his back – from then on he let Tom alone. He was also full of a spectacular catch he had made, and along with it a touch-down. So he decided then and there he was going to be a professional foot-ball player.
About 7:00 to R’s for the birthday celebration. Just Mrs. L there (C. had gone bowling-) A pleasant evening – They have taken in a stray kitten (much to Hank’s distaste, or so he says!) and thus came in for some attention.
Mart had a water-color she had just made today – It is one of her best and strongest to date – with a lot of feeling, and capturing the essence of the season – She had another recent one of a country church (on an Indian reservation) seen through a thinly foliaged tree that also had a lot of charm.
Peggy allowed us to read the “autobiography” which had been a school assignment – very good.
While Peggy was playing an arrangement of the 1812 Overture, David came downstairs and took over, he plays with great aplomb, but his playing in not very sensitive yet – everything must be fortissimo – He seems to have unusual ability, but it needs direction and discipline.
At the end, Tom complained that everyone in the family had made their mark but him. If only I could think of the right thing to say in such a situation.
End of day music – Mozart’s Divertimento #17
In the mail, a request for an autograph and a letter from a man who had just bought my “Sunshine and Shadow” and wanted to know something of its origin etc.
Charles E. Burchfield, September 20, 1962