The 38-acre farm he had bought in the Cowichan Valley was a place where he could work in peace.  His paintings became more in demand so galleries demanded more. He refused to trade quantity for quality and would only bring work when he knew they were fully 'realized'. This did not sit well with gallery owners.  Individual collectors had to search him out as he didn't keep a contact list. He would gladly sell if the person suited him, otherwise his response to interruption could be verbally colourful.  Nor would he  take commissions as many customers thought they could dictate.  By the mid-1970s, Burrell had intimidated sufficient numbers of possible purchasers and galleries that he found it necessary literally to sell the farm. Rescued by a collector/pupil/friend in an affluent area near Victoria, with living and painting quarters, he nonetheless found the neighborhood orthodoxy stultifying.  The torment precipitated a 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 his close friend, he knew isolation was the only solution for him.

Unwilling to leave Vancouver Island, Burrell happened upon a small erstwhile satellite church for sale in Maple Bay near Duncan - and within his budget.  Perfect. He accepted a number of shows in the 1970s, but once again avoided openings and neglected to notify patrons of his new address. Some advanced and serious students, attracted by his reputation, convinced him to hold a few week-long, outdoor seminars and practise in summer time. The intense focus of the room series had cramped his thought processes until a friend on Minstrel Island along the northern BC coast suggested Burrell come and enjoy the peace and beauty while his spirit resettled.