Katherine Keenum

A blog about how paintings, photographs, and prints have helped me visualize my fiction—both Where the Light Falls and works-in-progress—with a hope that they will stimulate other writers and readers, too.

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

Selected Works

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


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Picturing a World

Hollar’s Tangier

April 12, 2018

At special exhibitions, I sometimes play the game of deciding which picture or object I would take home with me if I could. I’ve just been to the Clark Art Institute to see Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection, which (more…)

Ladies painting a bull

April 8, 2018

Tags: art colony, fashion or clothes, plein air, schools, women artists

Blog post alert: James Gurney’s post on Von Hayek’s Animal-Painting Academy is the source of this photo of women artists en plein air. Besides the art-historical angle (and the clothes), I love the farmers in the distance watching. What story do you suppose they might tell?!

Romani follow-up

April 3, 2018

Tags: women artists

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on Juana Romani, here’s a drawing of her by the prolific painter, sculptor, and Art Nouveau designer Victor Prouvé. I love the informality of the portfolio propped on a chair—not to mention the formality of the hat.

Prouvé was as new to me as she was. The best article about him turned up by a quick Google search is Victor Prouvé : un artiste transversal (in French).

Juana Romani

April 2, 2018

Tags: Carolus-Duran, women artists

I wish I had known about the artist’s model and painter, Juana Romani when I was writing Where the Light Falls. She actually posed for Carolus-Duran and studied with his associate, Jacques Henner—although, maybe it’s just as well (more…)

Sarah Stilwell Weber

March 28, 2018

Tags: illustration, women artists, work-in-progress

Sarah Stilwell Weber is known primarily for her illustration of children, which fits nicely with my heroine Mattie who works in children’s publishing; but I have selected this Collier cover because it is so richly striking. Weber studied with Howard Pyle and was associated with his famous female students, the Red Rose Girls. This picture suggests to me that she also kept up with larger art world and knew the work of Gustav Klimt. It’s always a mistake to think that creative people are limited to whatever work makes them famous or pays the bills!

For more about Weber, click here and here.

Jérémy Soheylian

March 26, 2018

Tags: illustration

It’s always a thrill to encounter a picture that opens into a world you are reading about or imagining. This morning, when I checked Charley Parker’s blog, Lines and Colors, I was rewarded with glimpses of French landscapes and architectural details by artist Jérémy Soheylian which helped me visualize the setting for a current story of mine. (more…)

Illustrators' earnings in 1910

March 15, 2018

Tags: illustration

Blog post tip: A list of earnings of the 25 top illustrators of 1910 (along with short bios and several examples of work) is posted at Money in the Face of the Modern Girl. Although only three were women, it’s interesting that their earnings placed them in the median.

Bel Salvage

March 13, 2018

Tags: fantasy, illustration

When I read Philip Pullman’s new novel, La Belle Sauvage last fall, I noted with a little puzzlement that he has the hero, Malcolm, explain the name of his canoe by saying that an uncle owns a pub called La Belle Sauvage downriver. (more…)

Publish with CreateSpace?

February 28, 2018

Blog post alert: Well-meaning acquaintances sometimes ask (once) why I don’t consider self-publishing. My answer, delivered ruefully or with a scowl depending on how well I know the person, is “editing, promotion, distribution.” For those curious about the possibilities and limitations of one platform, James Gurney has posted a long, informative interview with Marc Taro Holmes, an artist-author who feels he has the experience and skills to make one kind of publication work on CreateSpace. Along the way, he makes observations relevant to other forms of self-publication. Check it out.

Lost murals found

February 26, 2018

Tags: illustration

Blog tip: Cecil Osbourne’s Lost Murals Rediscovered at Spitalfields Life tells the story of how murals depicting life in London neighborhoods wound up being rescued. Images of the full murals (which can be enlarged) are posted. To me, it (more…)