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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Burchfield’

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Charles Burchfield- Sun and Rocks- Albright-Know Art GalleryAn artist must paint not what he sees in nature, but what is there. To do so he must invent symbols, which, if properly used, make his work seem even more real than what is in front of him.

–Charles Burchfield

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I am a big fan of the work of Charles Burchfield (1893-1967), a western  New York painter who lived and painted in the Buffalo area for most of his life. His work was decidedly visionary in its scope, taking the environment that he knew around western New York and embellishing it with a life force and energy that he sensed beneath the surface. That’s what he was referring to in the quote above– taking what you see around you and not simply recording it but painting how it moves you emotionally. To me, his work is as emotionally charged in the same way as that of Van Gogh.

Charles Burchfield- An April Mood- Whitney Museum of American ArtCreating symbols, as Burchfield refers to in the quote, has been a big part of my work. I have long emulated his use of creating a visual vocabulary that moved through a body of work. It becomes a sort of language of its own  that people who take it in and understand it find easy to read and absorb as they move from picture to picture. Those who can’t read it find less in the images and feel less drawn into them. In an earlier post featuring Burchfield, I wrote about an artist friend who just didn’t get Burchfield’s work in any sense.  He just one of those people who couldn’t read the language clearly written in the work.

I also have been influenced by the way Burchfield would constantly go back to earlier work and use it as a new starting point, as though the added knowledge gained through the years would take this work in a new direction. I often do the same thing, constantly revisiting images and motifs from years ago looking for a thread or path to follow anew.

Even this post is a revisitation, going back and looking at an influence, trying to pull that original inspiration from it. With Charles Burchfield, that’s always an easy thing to accomplish.

Charles Burchfield- Childhood's Garden

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Get yourself to a vantage point of seclusion and view the world with your eyes alone. Think of the infinite spaces of the skies and the world beneath.

Charles Burchfield

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Good words for a painter. Or any other human, for that matter.

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It’s a dark, damp day here that seems to sap the color out of the forest around the studio. All grays and browns and pale washed out greens.

It very much feels like the blues. The music, not the color.

I’ve got much to do today so I’m going to share a video that shows many of the works from one of my favorite painters, Charles Burchfield, set to the sound of one of my favorite Miles Davis songs, Blue in Green.

It’s a fitting song for a day like the one outside my studio windows.

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Charles Burchfield- Sun and Rocks- Albright-Know Art GalleryAn artist must paint not what he sees in nature, but what is there. To do so he must invent symbols, which, if properly used, make his work seem even more real than what is in front of him.

–Charles Burchfield

*********************

I am a big fan of the work of Charles Burchfield (1893-1967), a western  New York painter who lived and painted in the Buffalo area for most of his life.  His work was decidedly visionary in its scope, taking the environment that he knew around western New York and embellishing it with a life force and energy that he sensed beneath the surface.  That’s what he was referring to in the quote above– taking what you see around you and not simply recording it but painting how it moves you emotionally.  To me, his work is as emotionally charged in the same way as that of Van Gogh.

Charles Burchfield- An April Mood- Whitney Museum of American ArtCreating symbols, as Burchfield refers to in the quote, have been a big part of my work.  I have long emulated his use of creating a visual vocabulary that moved through a body of work.  It becomes a sort of language of its own  that people who take it in and understand it find easy to read and absorb as they move from picture to picture.  Those who can’t read it find less in the images and feel less drawn into them.  In an earlier post  about Burchfield I wrote about an artist friend who just didn’t get Burchfield’s work in any sense.  He just one of those people who couldn’t read the language clearly written in the work.

I also have been influenced by the way Burchfield would constantly go back to earlier work and use it as a new starting point, as though the added knowledge gained through the years would take this work in a new direction.  I often do the same thing, constantly revisiting images and motifs from years ago looking for a thread or path to follow anew.

Even this post is a revisitation, going back and looking at an influence, trying to pull that original inspiration from it.  With Charles Burchfield, that’s always an easy thing to accomplish.

Charles Burchfield- Childhood's Garden

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charles_burchfield glory of springAy my opening, a friend who is also a painter and I were talking and the name of Charles Burchfield came up.  My friend asked if liked his work and when I said that I did very much admire Burchfield’s work, my friend shook his head and said that I’d have to explain it to him because he just didn’t get it.  Thought it was crap.

I told him that I always immediately engaged with Burchfield’s paintings, that I felt that I understood in a small way how his mind conceived his imagery and how he translated that to paper.  His work just made sense in my mind.  It was more about getting across something more than a scene or mere image and that clicked for me.

Charles Burchfield_sun_emerging Charles Burchfield is a real presence in the art world of western New York state, having created most of his work while living in the  Buffalo area in the early and middle part of the past century.  There is a well known art center and museum bearing his name at the University of Buffalo and his work is in the collections of many major museums. 

For me, his work is more about the spiritual elements of the everyday world.  Things that are seen all the time and simply overlooked take on a meaning and a life of their own.  This excites me because I consider that an important element of what I try to do.  I always pull inspiration from his work and hope that someday someone will feel the same thing from mine.Charles_Burchfield_September_Wind and Raincharles burchfield Rainy Night

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