Katherine Keenum


A blog about the paintings, photographs, and prints that help me visualize my fiction—both Where the Light Falls and works-in-progress. My main current project is a novel tentatively entitled ANONYMITY. Its heroine works in publishing, belongs to a clandestine suffragist group, and has a married lover. Read on!

Click on images to see enlargements. In the text, click on words in color to activate links.

Selected Works

Fiction
An American woman art student meets a Civil War veteran in Belle Époque Paris.

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Picturing a World

Background

March 25, 2017

Background landscapes in manuscript illuminations (and paintings of any era) fascinate me. More than the depiction of dramatic events, they make the past seem real. I found this one a couple of days ago in an elaborate three-part illustration of a (more…)

Calm waters

March 17, 2017

Tags: Charlie Post, Dusseldorf, Scandinavian artists

Surfing on the net (not the sea!) landed me yesterday at a sale at Christie’s, where this painting was up for auction. It’s just the sort of thing I had in mind for Charlie Post’s obsessively pursued subject of sea, horizon, and shore. (more…)

Celestial measures

March 14, 2017

Tags: illustration

Website alert: I’m working on a story set in an imaginary late-medieval or early-modern university, where my central character is introduced to scientific ways of looking at the sky. This image delighted me, and the entire Manuscript Art website has absorbed all my (more…)

Ellen Clacy

March 9, 2017

Tags: rooms, women artists

Serendipity landed me on an unattributed posting of this image. I have a friend who has a specialist’s knowledge of blue-and-white china, so pictures of it always catch my eye. This painting, moreover, made me think of Jeanette at the Musée Cluny. (more…)

The more things change—

March 6, 2017

Tags: work-in-progress

The more things change, the more they stay the same! Long before presidential tweets, there was pulp fiction. This morning, while looking into a question about the early 20th C publishing industry for ANONYMITY, I came across this title and couldn’t resist posting it.

It was published in Cleveland by The Arthur Westbrook Co. I suppose I could have had my Ohio heroine, Mattie, work closer to her native Circleville; but it would have been harder for her to keep her secrets there. She headed for the big time.

Incidentally, New York University’s Fales Library and Special Collections Guide to the Levy Dime Novel Collection is rich source of titles to borrow, alter, or parody.

Rembrandt en plein air

March 1, 2017

Tags: plein air

This etching on paper is the earliest image of an artist at work outdoors that I’ve ever run across. Jeanette and her friends in Where the Light Falls would have loved it!

Even though etching is a painstaking technique, Rembrandt has retained the informality and liveliness of a sketch for this (more…)

Marie Egner

February 27, 2017

Tags: women artists

Marie Egner, Self-Portrait (1878)
A post on Marie Egner at Lines and Colors has just introduced me to this artist. She was an older (and longer-lived) contemporary of the real Jeanette. Born in Radkersburg, Austria, on the Slovenian border, Egner studied in Dusseldorf and exhibited in her native Austria, Germany, and (more…)

Editing for impact

February 23, 2017

Blog alert: Artist James Gurney specializes in “imaginary realism,” illustrating prehistoric life and fictional worlds. His post, Courtship Display includes a short video that shows him painting a feathered dinosaur and explaining his thoughts about how to achieve effective results. I happen to (more…)

Suffragists in advertising

February 15, 2017

Tags: women's suffrage

Blog alert: This image from a 1908 advertising campaign that never happened appeared in a Princeton University special collections post, Selling Cigarettes with Suffragettes. Irresistible to repost here, even though I don’t really have a point to make!

Rune staves

February 12, 2017

In connection with my post on Fanny Brate, I looked up her husband Erik Brate and ran across this 16th image of children being taught to read runes. Look! just as a boy learns from a man on the right, a girl learns from a woman on the left! (more…)