Write Around PAM: Katherine Bradford

Ritual, Katherine Bradford, 80 x 68 inches, acrylic on canvas. A portrait-oriented painting depicting figures gathered beneath a full moon. This painting is rendered in hues of blues and greens with hints of pinks and purples. At the center top is a round pale blue orb with darker shading on its right edge. A white cone of light depicted in light brushstrokes emanates from the sphere down to the ground, which starts about a fifth from the bottom edge of the painting. Here swimsuit clad figures gather in the light. Three wear black swim trunks and one at left wears a pink one-piece swimsuit. Their arms are stretched upward towards the light and celestial body or moon. A lone figure in black trunks stands at left and another stands at right with their arm over their head. The bodies of the figures are painted in blues and purples. Near the central gathering, tiny orange and bright blue dots are splattered around the group. A horizontal rectangle resembling a bench or bed sits to the right of the grouping. The sky above the figures’ heads is various shades of blue daubed and brushed on with pinks and purples bleeding through. They stand on green-blue ground, with brushstrokes visible.

As we officially welcome spring and the bounty of beauty it offers, we are also reminded to pause, to reflect, and to honor all that has happened since spring last arrived, and to make space for all that is yet to come. This piece by Katherine Bradford feels like a perfect companion to this time of honoring and of budding. Bradford often portrays swimmers and people gathered outdoors. She evokes the wonder and mystery of communal rituals that we hope to experience again not too far off in the future. Sit with this painting for a bit and see what comes up for you in your writing. Learn more about Bradford’s work from this conversation with PAM Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Sara Krajewski.

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 15 mins and just keep your pen or pencil moving.

Today I honor… / In the moonlight…

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 spring. Please share your work with us! @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM 

Katherine Bradford, Ritual, 2017, acrylic on canvas, Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Victor Platt, © Katherine Bradford, 2018.18.1

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