Charles E. Burchfield in his own words

From the age of seventeen until the end of his life, American watercolor painter Charles E. Burchfield wrote in journals that chronicled his artistic and intellectual development. These journals reveal much about his unique vision, love of nature and gift for writing. Burchfield’s passion for writing could not be contained in the journals alone. Throughout his career, his moods, ideas and personal critiques were also recorded on thousands of scraps of paper and studies for paintings as well as in letters to family, friends and colleagues. His complex and layered visual language points to a complex human being. The inner triumphs, struggles and ambitions of his career are reflected and recorded in his own words and serve as an inspiration for all.

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  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 4, 1948

    Saturday, April 4, 2020

    P.M. B & I to Hepatica Hill below Springville. This delightful spot is being ruined by the trash-dumpers and road-trimmers. The whole hill in shadow, the sun sinking in the west. In spite of all, we enjoyed ourselves, digging hepaticas and I getting a lot of black earth in baskets

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 3, 1965

    Friday, April 3, 2020

    All day intensively on the “North woods in Spring” In it I am coming closer to the realization of the theme of North in woods. But I doubt if I will ever be satisfied...

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 2, 1954

    Thursday, April 2, 2020

    The world white and wintry – aside from some pussy-willows by the road, shining white tops – there was not the least obvious sign of spring...

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals April 1, 1917

    Wednesday, April 1, 2020

    Walking homeward over the luminous dusky fields, with the rain full in my face –

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, March 31, 1948

    Tuesday, March 31, 2020

    S.W. of Gowanda – (Route 18 & 62 S.W. to Cattaraugus Rd, east on it & then left on a narrow dirt road a short distance.) A warm windy day, with dark layer clouds, seemingly an ideal day, for painting...

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, March 30, 1915

    Monday, March 30, 2020

     "A brilliant day; a few blinding clouds across the blue..."

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, March 29, 1962

    Sunday, March 29, 2020

    After breakfast as we were getting ready to go food shopping, Bertha called my attention to a great number of bees that were hovering at the east side of the garage...

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, March 28, 1946

    Saturday, March 28, 2020

    Inconsequential activity in the studio. Scrubbing out apple trees in a small water color made in 1932 (of the square house with tower on Clinton near Bowen Rd) – When the too-dense trees were removed, the house gained in power.

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, March 27, 1917

    Friday, March 27, 2020

    I was dreaming I had been forsaken by all my beloved and sat by a stream in the woods in misery, when a bluebird fluttered up strangely tame & sat on my knee...

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, March 26, 1917

    Thursday, March 26, 2020

    At afterglow time To Bentley’s – Pipers – woods + frogs in the glassy ponds – In the twilight woods – a leaf whistle – 

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