My Favorite Artist

Charles Burchfield © Time Inc

Charles Burchfield (April 9, 1893 – January 10, 1967), was an American artist who enjoyed painting nature. He didn’t just paint nature, but he had a very successful way of painting nature with emotion by inventing his own symbolism. When you look at his artwork you immediately experience what he was feeling as he painted. Some of his nature paintings depict happiness, sadness, scary times, melancholy,  and euphoria.

"Night of the Equinox" (Smithsonian American Art Museum)

Here is a short video c/o The New Yorker on-line, with some of Birchfield’s work.

I read a biography that as a young artist trying to sell paintings, people often overlooked them because they looked, “depressing”. I think he really loved nature as it was; thunderstorms, gray skies, pouring rain, or winter blizzards. That’s not depressing, that’s exciting…and beautiful! 
Another trait of his that I can relate to is that he didn’t like to travel. He had anxieties about being out of his element and away from his family. I understand.


  1. Hi Christine, thanks for stopping by my nature sketching blog too! I love Charles Burchfield, did you know he’s from Buffalo NY?, where I live now and went to college. I love how expressive his work is too, love the way he used repeated ‘waves’ of lines to show movement or emotion. I found myself doing that when I first started watercolors, but I think with me I sensed it as an energy thing around the subject.
    Lets hope as nature sketching field artists we can be as successful as he!
    (ps. I taught nature sketching classes at the Charles Burchfield Center in East Aurora, one block from his former studio, and felt honored to be there!)

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