Write Around PAM: Childe Hassam

Childe Hassam. Oregon Still Life, 25 x 30 ¼ inches, oil on canvas. A painting of an assortment of fruit laid out on a round, dark brown table, the edges of which are mostly out of frame. At top, at 11 and 12 o’clock, are a glass bowl with a tall stand brimming with yellow apples that sits beside a squat, silver bowl holding green, purple, and red grapes. Just below the glass bowl are more yellow apples, some with a hint of pink. Further down the painting and scattered over the table are deep blueish-purple plums. At three o’clock are a grouping of a half dozen peaches and pears set near two half-filled glasses that suggest wine. The painting technique is bold and uses dry brush strokes. Paint is heavily layered, revealing the colors underneath in areas. The table and fruit are set against a background heavily painted with horizontal strokes in muted greens, terra cotta, and whites with deep yellow.

As we move into a more intimate holiday season with our immediate households, we know there will still be lots of moments to celebrate traditions together, including preparing and enjoying favorite foods. Today, we invite you to spend some time writing about these favorites, using this piece by Childe Hassam as inspiration. Before or after you write, we encourage you to learn more about Hassam’s work and life through this book by former PAM curator Margaret E. Bullock and this essay from the Met Museum—and to visit our September 4 #PDXFoodFriday post on this same work. Perhaps you’ll add plum cake to your holiday dessert plans.

First, make a list of your 5 favorite holiday foods or traditions. Try to be as specific as you can.

Then circle one of the things on your list.

Finally, write a piece using the circled item as inspiration. We have 2 prompts to get you started. As always, you can use one, both, or follow your own adventure. Set a timer for 6 minutes and just keep your pen moving.

We always enjoy… / Ode to…

Writing in community is powerful. We are grateful to our longtime partner Write Around Portland for the writing prompts and inspiration. You can revisit past Sunday posts and look for continuing weekly posts through the fall. Please share your work with us! @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM 

Childe Hassam, Oregon Still Life, 1904, oil on canvas, Gift of Col. C.E.S. Wood in memory of his wife, Nanny Moale Wood, public domain, 43.2.4

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