Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Street Vista in Winter, 1957-60; watercolor on paper, 26 1/4 x 43 3/4 inches; Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Charles Burchfield, Journals December 24, 1914
Thursday, December 24, 2015
A.M.- thru Posts + around Rosemeadow sketching + after alder berries + fir branches.
Cold + grey at starting. A milky blue haze on the air. Even as I started a fall of starflakes commenced out of the southwest, driven by an icy wind.
It was a splendid day for a walk. I strode but braced by the cold. At Post’s front about a dozen geese fly over head, one or two “Honks” coming down. They were so low, I could hear the floppy whistle of their wings. They flew in a regular waving course due westward. The first I had ever seen, I was thrilled and watched them till they disappeared in the snow-fog. At Covered Bridge - the sparrow’s.
In Rosemeadow Territory - thru the crusted snow. Secure evergreen - homeward on Egypt Road.
At the Swamps - Cries of Jays - Chirping of sparrows out of swamp. A Sparrow Hawk in graceful flight against the snow-sifting wind. The wind in the cat-tail blades; the snow becomes a fine powder almost rain.
Later afternoon clouds break some - it is dark at zenith + light at horizon and the wind commences to blow. As I was coming in on porch, I heard a welcomed “cht”. It proved of course, to be a pair of cardinals - that flash of red against the winter sky.
After reading an essay, for several days I churned its subject matter over in my mind; certain sentences keep repeating themselves persistently. So it has been with Fonseka’s “On the Truth of Decorative Art.” This one sentence I have been thinking about much “Your notion of artistic creation is as blasphemous as your notion of the contemplative life. You should not emulate God, not duplicate creation, but stay on earth and beautify.” While disagreeing with the idea that to emulate any God is blasphemous, I do believe it is best to “stay on earth and beautify.”
Charles Burchfield, December 24, 1914