The 38-acre farm he had bought in the Cowichan Valley was a place where he could work in peace. At his own pace. He soon began to inform galleries he would bring them their requested number of panels when he knew they were fully 'realized'. This did not sit well with gallery owners who needed to plan ahead. Individual collectors had to search him out as he didn't keep a contact list. If any found him when he was working intently on something he could make it clear he didn't like being interrupted - not a particularly endearing attitude for some.  By the mid-1970s, Burrell had intimidated sufficient numbers of possible purchasers and small galleries that he found it necessary literally to sell the farm. He was rescued by a collector/pupil/friend in an affluent area near Victoria who provided living and painting quarters. But ... he found the neighborhood orthodoxy stultifying,  which he expressed through a tormented series of oil pastels: rooms without exit, faceless figures of impotent potential. Prior to the move he had been experimenting, cultivating all his critical faculties. Now, despite the genuine respect and warmth of his close friend, he knew isolation was the only solution to free his spirit and let it soar.

Unwilling to leave Vancouver Island, Burrell was thrilled when he happened upon a small erstwhile satellite church for sale in lovely Maple Bay near Duncan - and within his budget.  An open space, perfect for working and living simply. He accepted a number of shows in the 1970s, but once again avoided openings and neglected to notify past patrons of his new address. When prevailed upon by some advanced and serious students attracted by his reputation, he did agree to hold a few week-long outdoor seminars in summer time. Continual changes over this decade had caused quandary about which direction his work should take now. The intense focus of the room series had cramped his thought processes. A friend on Minstrel Island at the entrance to Knight Inlet suggested Burrell come and enjoy the peace and beauty for a week while his spirit resettled.