For Charles Burchfield, each season and the time of day expressed a mood that he wanted to capture and communicate. Noontide is the middle of the day when the sun is directly overhead. In this painting, the artist’s neighbor’s backyard becomes an enchanted landscape of spring flowers in bloom in the bright midday sun. Burchfield wanted to express the way the garden felt to all of the senses and tried to paint it so that you could see, feel, and smell the surroundings. On the back of this painting in pencil, Burchfield wrote how it felt: “...The heat of the sun streaming down & rosebushes making the air drowsy with their perfume.”
Find a photograph of a place in nature that you’ve been to. What do you remember most about it? In which season and what time of day were you there? What sounds and smells did you notice? How did it feel to be in this natural environment? Use paint, pastels, or crayons to create a picture of this place. Emphasize the visual details, sounds, and mood of your experience in nature.
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Charles Burchfield, Noontide in Late May, 1917. Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper, 22 × 18 in. (55.9 × 45.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase 31.408
All works by Charles Burchfield are reproduced with permission of the Charles E. Burchfield Foundation