Charles Burchfield grew up in Ohio where he enjoyed nature's company in the woods which surrounded his home. He attended the Cleveland School of Art and later moved to New York. In 1929, he retired from designing wallpaper and devoted his time to painting, supporting himself off the sales of his paintings.
Burchfield is best known for his expressionistic large-scale watercolor paintings of the "American Scene" genre, although he did not consider himself a Regionalist painter. Other motifs in his work include fantastical scenes of memories from his youth as well as mystical scenes.
Burchfield's thick and heavy stroke creates substance and vitality in his watercolors. Brooding Earth reveals earth's anticipation of an oncoming storm on the horizon. The solitary tree on the left produces a feeling of loneliness or even melancholy. The earth itself fills the majority of the picture as the pale crest of the hill draws the eye upwards and to the left.
The earthly foreground seems quiet when compared to the dark storm brewing on the skyline. The forms are simplified, the brushwork is elegant, and the colors are monochromatic; these qualities help create the mood which Burchfield was seeking.