JAMESWELLING: April Mood strikes me as a very depressing painting.
NARRATOR: Photographer James Welling.
JAMESWELLING: I think Burchfield’s painting with this incredibly gloomy, raining sky, some hawks in the distance flying toward the viewer and these trees which almost look like crucifixes in the left hand side of the painting underscore this deeply moody, depressing view of this moment.
NARRATOR: In fact, Burchfield originally called this painting Good Friday Mood, intending the trees to stand in for Christ on the cross. The flowers suggest regeneration.
The tree branches are also interesting because, as in other works by Burchfield, they look less like trees and more like sounds or emotional shapes. They look like lightning, the edges of the branches. To me, [it] exaggerates, accentuates this dark mood that Burchfield’s in.
NARRATOR: Burchfield’s late works are unusually large for watercolors.
JAMESWELLING: This painting was obviously worked on extensively in the studio. I’m not sure that it even began in the field. It’s such a large watercolor that Burchfield only could have worked on it in his studio. It’s thickly painted.
Burchfield’s watercolor technique was to use very dry, stiff pigment. He’s not painting wet into wet. He’s not using the fluidity of the paint. He almost using watercolor as if it’s oil paint, so his methods— he’s painting this painting probably vertically, so he can’t use paint that’s too liquid or else it’s going to run down the surface of the painting.