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 9, 1965

    Thursday, April 9, 2020

    71 today — Most of day in studio working on a sketch made in 1951 on the Becker Rd near Collins Center. (Pussywillows by a stream)...

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 8, 1940

    Wednesday, April 8, 2020

    Both morning and afternoon to Buffalo to make studies of Genesee St. Building. P.M. buy groceries at market for my Birthday dinner. 

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 7, 1965

    Tuesday, April 7, 2020

    A very mild day — sun shining — all the birds seemed to go ‘mad’ with singing — Once I saw a male grackle courting a female, spreading his wings and tail, and strutting for her approval...

  • Charles Burchfield, Journals, April 6, 1915

    Monday, April 6, 2020

    "This is a day when I have feelings to which I cannot give expression – vague thoughts & yearnings that are fleeting and transparent...Down Euclid – trees shadows blue on the dusty street."

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, April 5, 1962

    Sunday, April 5, 2020

    a number of old stumps and logs in a vacant lot – lit up with the warm misty sunlight from above with a ghastly highlight – this is but one time of year when such an effect can be seen – 

  • 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...

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