Write Around PAM: Childe Hassam

New England Road, Childe Hassam, 34 x 34 inches, oil on canvas. A square painting depicting a man walking along a rural road in autumn. The road is positioned diagonally across the painting starting at the lower left corner where it is broad and wide and continues to center right where it narrows slightly, ending at the horizon line a third of the way from the top. Shadows from nearby trees fall across the road’s pale, tan surface. The top third of the painting is a blue sky with drifting, billowy clouds in pale, watery blues and whites. The center area of the work features a stand of trees with leaves of rusty red and yellow amid green grass, shrubbery, and fallen leaves. At center, a man stands with his back turned wearing a light-colored shirt, a dark vest, light blue trousers and a hat. He carries an ax as though he has been chopping wood at the roadside. Paint is applied with small brush strokes and colors are layered creating a soft effect without hard edges.

Fall is deepening in the Northwest, and the natural world is letting go in preparation for winter. Amid the shifting social, political, racial, and economic hardships we are facing as a community, our seasons are shifting as well, offering us invitations to write and reflect on change. Childe Hassam’s New England Road captures this shifting season well, and we hope it offers inspiration for your writing. Before or after you write, we encourage you to learn more about Hassam’s work and life.

We have two prompts to help you get started. As always, you can choose one, both, or write whatever else comes. Set a timer for 8 mins and just keep your pen moving.

The leaves turned the color of… / As the days grow shorter…

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.

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, New England Road, ca. 1902, oil on canvas, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Wendel, public domain, 56.19

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