Write Around PAM: Grandma Moses

Sugaring Off, Dark Sky, Grandma Moses, 15 ½ x 19 ¾ inches, oil and tempera on commercial canvas board. A horizontal, rectangular landscape painting depicting a bustling outdoor winter scene. The painting is a bird’s eye view of people collecting and boiling maple sap to create syrup or sugar amid snow covered ground and trees. At bottom right are two men tending a fire on which a huge black, steaming cauldron boils. At bottom left, another man collects sap from a gray tree with bare, snow-covered branches. At bottom center two children play in front of an evergreen tree. A man and woman make sugar candy in the snow to their left. The center of the painting includes men driving horse drawn sledges containing more sap, children playing, people carrying buckets, people collecting sap from the many trees. A large, rambling, dark red house sits at right center and a light gray house is at left. Snow covered hills continue in the background and show more horse drawn sledges heading towards the action in the center of the painting. A stand of evergreen trees is at left in the distance. A dark gray sky completes the scene. The people wear shades of brown and black with many wearing brick-red and blue. The painting’s style is child-like with simply drawn faces and flat shapes and figures.

Tomorrow marks the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. We invite you to spend some time reflecting on and writing about this arrival of winter, using this piece from Grandma Moses as inspiration. Before or after you write, learn more about her life and work through the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  

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.

Things to do on a winter day… / December smells like…

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 

Grandma Moses, Sugaring Off, Dark Sky, 1948, oil and tempera on commercial canvas board, Bequest from Mary and Pete Mark, © unknown, research required, 2018.77.11

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