Road and Sky is painted in the fluid, rhythmical style that is characteristic of Burchfield's landscapes of 1917. At this point in his career he was still drawing compositions in graphite before painting. After applying watercolor washes, he added contrast and luminosity by using opaque black ink for the shadowy parts of the trees and passages of white gouache for highlights in the grass.
This seemingly mundane view of a country road and trees, though devoid of any obvious activity or drama, is mysterious in its impact and hypnotic in its suggestion of life beyond the visible. The title of the painting is curious because it is what is between road and sky that holds the greatest interest. The trees are painted mostly in green, buoyant shapes, which imply growth and lushness. Sounds are also invoked in this area of the picture. The curving lines that emanate from the bottom of the trees in the copse to the left, as well as those that spring from the tops of the trees near the horizon, are visualizations of the noises of crickets and cicadas. Other sensations are suggested, too. The curved V forms in the grass can be interpreted as shorthand notations for the flight of insects. The broad curves of the sky, painted while the paper was very wet, are the embodiment of the sweltering heat and humidity of an Ohio summer. This sensitivity to weather conditions was a recurrent trait, as Burchfield noted that he had been interested in weather since childhood.
Road and Sky places the emphasis on emotion rather than decorative effects. The beautiful organic curves and patterns, which had their basis in the artist's exploration of Oriental art and Art Nouveau, are less important individually than they are in the totality of the painting. Both languid and bouncy, they evoke the effects of a lazy day when flights of fancy and a desire to be elsewhere are commonplace. The call of nature is alluring but also elusive. The painting is redolent with a sense of anticipation, but what waits beyond the horizon is not revealed.