Charles E. Burchfield in his own words Share Tweet

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), November Storm, 1950; watercolor on paper, 26 x 40 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sherlock A. Herrick, Jr., 2001

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), November Storm, 1950; watercolor on paper, 26 x 40 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sherlock A. Herrick, Jr., 2001

Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, November 14, 1911

Monday, November 14, 2016


The moaning wind of yesterday had not been for nothing as I supposed. This morning when I pulled back the curtain, I saw that it was warmer, altho it was still cold. The sky was overcast with a solid mass of dull laden clouds – a snowbank. The snow which Sunday’s blizzard had brought had a softened look. The outline of trees, fences and buildings was also dulled. After breakfast I went outdoors half expecting to see it begin to snow. The sun was vainly struggling to come forth but only succeeded in becoming a pale white spot in the ever thickening mist and as the morning advanced disappeared altogether. The air was very still and a silence spread over everything. After I had wiped the dishes for Mother, I went upstairs and wrote in my diary a while. While we were at the dishes Mama had said that Carrie’s birthday was Saturday and so I decided to make her a little picture. By the time I had finished cut out the paper it was eleven o’clock.

I wanted to find out the names of some more flowers so I went down to the Library. As I went outdoors, I said to Mama.

“Well its about time for that snow to come.”

“Yes its a long time coming.”

The only difference in the weather was that it was a little darker and quieter. Dawn at the library after rummaging around I found a “Field book of American Wildflowers.” Glancing thru it I found many of the flowers I wanted so after getting a book on trees I went home.

Kinkie came in just about school-time with a book he had borrowed. He stayed and talked a while. He’s as crazy as ever. When he had gone I started on a letter to Bill. It was mostly a lot of crazy talk and I wrote it in six different colors of ink. While I was doing this Mama went over to Aunt Maggie’s who had been sick. When she came back she said Aunt Maggie had intended having us to a chicken dinner tomorrow but it had to be postponed now.

The snow came a little after noon. At first one or two flakes began to float down. Then they gradually grew thicker. The wind started to rise and our snow-storm had commenced. Snow-storms always had an irresistible fascination for me and to-day I couldn’t keep away from the window. As I stood at the kitchen window watching the whirling snow I presently noticed that some sparrows were flying around the window of the haymow in Strawn’s barn. Six or seven settled on the ledge while others perched on a fence across the alley. The audacity of entering a haymow frightened them somewhat and they were slow in carrying out their purpose. Presently one flew in and then another and soon all were fluttering in.

     I called to Mama and told her.

“Isn’t that good”she cried “that’sjust the place for them.  I hope they leave it open all winter

“Yes” I replied “and they can get the seed in the hay.

 After mother had gone to Aunt Maggie’s I was looking out the kitchen door and noticed two little sparrows on the porch looking for crumbs. So I went to the cabinet and got a piece of bread and went out on the porch. Both birds flew up to the grape arbor. I tore the bread up into small pieces and threw them on the walk. Even while I was doingthis one bird flew up to the walk and then became frightened. Just as I was going in I dropped a large piece at the door. Fearing I would frighten them I did not pick it up. I had scarcely closed the door when they came down. One passed by all the pieces on the walk and came up and got the large piece. Then both flew away to enjoy their feast.

As the afternoon wore on it became warmer and the flakes larger. I thought it would turn to rain but as night came the snow ceased falling and the clouds were beginning to break. After all it was a short snowstorm and I was disappointed. After I had written Bill’s letter I took my wild flower book and my sketches of flowers and began to look them up. I found lots of them and it was fun.

After supper Frances and Louise and I went to the picture shows, They were good and we enjoyed ourselves. When we got home I stayed up awhile looking up flowers.


Charles E. Burchfield, Tuesday November l4, 1911.