Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), December Storm, 1941-1960; watercolor on joined paper mounted on board, 40 1/2 x 56 inches, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Andrews, 1964/1966
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, Vol. 44, Dec. 6-7, 1941
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Dec. 6 — (Sat.)
A strong wind from the west — driving great massive clouds before it. Up at north end of lot — The sun breaking thru at times, sending down shafts of light — (reminding me of the time long ago, when in the same month, I observed this phenomenon from the window of the art school, and compared it to a great rim-less wheel, revolving hugely thru the great black storm sky) — One can imagine Ezekiel, eyeing this same effect, over-awed by its power and majesty —
Hastily gathering my materials I started to paint — using as my foil, or foreground, a view of Cottrells and Smedja’s houses, and all their backyard buildings.
Painted all day with vigor and forcefulness — at times snow fell, and towards the last, my sponge & water froze. What unalloyed happiness there is in working under such conditions! — “Battling the elements,” — the painting takes on a character it could not have under milder conditions.
Dec. 7 — (Sunday)
Cold and clear!
P.M. Philharmonic concert — In the intermission, news of Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), The Philippines, Hong Kong etc — Impossible to take in its significance at once) —
4:00 — to Bartholomew’s to pick up Catherine, thence to Fredonia to get M.A. & M. — (Sally & Cathie to play at a Walther League convention at Eden.) —
A fine sunset — the sun sinking behind long bars of golden clouds — it appeared as a huge elongated oval of blinding light; then again, as a series of such bars, quivering & swelling and contracting — At Fredonia, Venus above the houses with a beautiful halo of light around it.
The meeting both boring & tiring — A flippancy and utter lack of taste in the manner in which the toast-master introduced his speakers — Cathie’s & Sally’s playing (Berceuses fr. Jocyln) & Rev. Neeb’s speech only redeeming features.
Afterwards, the moon high in the sky — a ring around it.
— Charles E. Burchfield, December 6-7, 1941