Write Around PAM: James Lavadour

James Lavadour, Salamander, oil on board. Size: 48.5x60x3 inches. A rectangular panel composed of three rows of three images depicting individual landscapes for a total of nine scenes in all. Each abstract landscape is painted in earthy tones of browns, tans, grays with bright rusty reds and shows a rugged landscape with cliffs, mountains, canyons and mist. When viewed from a distance, the images can seem almost like photographs but upon close inspection paint appears to have been applied with broad brush strokes, sometimes scraped and dragged to create jagged, rocky shapes.

Writing invites us into other worlds and allows us to smell, taste, see, feel what it might be like to be in a place. This week, we invite you to spend some time with Salamander by James Lavadour and see what stepping into this landscape offers as inspiration. Before or after you write, take some time to learn about Lavadour’s life and art.⠀

We invite you to take a moment to put yourself in one or more of the scenes of this piece. What might it taste, sound, feel, smell, or look like here? Who might you meet? What experiences could you have?

We have some prompts to help you get started. You can choose one, both or follow your own adventure. Set a timer for 15 minutes and just keep the pen moving.

I’d never seen the sky like that… / In the distance…

BONUS writing exercise!

The title of this piece, Salamander, was borrowed from the poem of the same name by Octavio Paz. Spend some time reading this poem, and then revisit Lavadour’s piece. How has your view of the piece changed? Consider how titles can evoke and engage and add layers of meaning. Brainstorm 3 titles for the piece you just wrote, and use one of them to inspire a new piece! 

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 posts from Sundays in May, June and July, and look for continuing weekly posts in August. Please share your work with us! @writearoundpdx  @portlandartmuseum  #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM 

James Lavadour, Salamander, 1997, oil on board, Gift from Gary Lewis Moe in memory of Kevin Michael McGee, © James Lavadour, 2015.92.59

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