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.

A small sample of the images that inspired me appears below. Click on these or any images in the posts to see enlargements. In the text, click on colored words 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

Cut-out frames

May 29, 2014

Tags: frames

Yesterday's image of women gilders reminded me of the cut-outs I made after reading Anthea Callen’s chapter, “Framing the Debate,” in her indispensable book (more…)

Female picture framers

May 28, 2014

Tags: frames

Blog tip: This French image of women workers gilding picture frames is reposted from a post on women in the picture framing business in England at The Frame Blog. Frames were expensive, which is why (more…)

Lady of Shalott

May 26, 2014

Tags: Jeanette, painting in the novel

Tennyson’s “Lady of Shalott” was the first poem I can remember choosing myself to memorize for school, and I still sometimes murmur, On either side the river lie/Long fields of barley and of rye …. When Jeanette is worried (more…)

Rocks at L'Estaque

May 22, 2014

Tags: Cézanne, Renoir, Provence

This painting was at the back of my mind for when I imagined a vineyard terraced below a limestone escarpment on the grounds of Dr. Aubanel’s sanatorium. Edward helps tend grapevines there in February 1880. It tickled me to discover in preparing this post that the picture was painted two years later in February 1882 (more…)

Crime and dance

May 19, 2014

Tags: entertainment, work-in-progress

Sometimes interests converge. A recent post on The Gangs of Paris at the Victorian Paris blog sent me investigating the story-telling, tough-guy, tough-gal Danse Apache or Apache Dance (pronounced ah-PAHSH in both French and English), which originated in France and quickly moved to the American stage in 1908. (more…)

Translations, please!

May 18, 2014

Blog tip and request: At his highly informative website, Darren Rousar is making available an 1867 drawing manual, page by page as it is translated. Click here for details on the manual, its importance, and how you can help.

On horseback, in pants

May 15, 2014

Tags: Dieulafoy, Franco-Prussian War, Gardner, Tarbell, fashion or clothes, horses, work-in-progress

For my work-in-progress, I’ve been reading the autobiography of journalist Ida M. Tarbell, All in the Day’s Work. In 1892 for a McClure’s Magazine article, Tarbell interviewed the French archeologist and writer Jane Henriette Magre Dieulafoy, who with her husband Marcel worked on excavations in Persia. (more…)

Amélie Helga Lundhal

May 14, 2014

Tags: Académie Julian, women artists, Scandinavian artists

Blog tip: For a Cyrillic-alphabet blog post with several images of work by the Finnish artist Amélie Helga Lundhal (1850–1914), who studied at the Académie Julian and painted in Brittany, click here.


May 12, 2014

Tags: Emily, Jeanette, Robbie, Venice, Whistler, Winkie

Originally, I meant for the Dolsons just to vanish. People do (or did before the internet) and Jeanette’s circle of friends in Paris must inevitably break apart. Novels, however, make demands their own. When I reread my almost completed (more…)

Hassam's room

May 9, 2014

Tags: Hassam, rooms

Quickly, another not-really-empty room to compare to Anna Ancher’s. Again, a female figure is hardly more than a part of the color pattern, but, oh, to be reading with her in that room! For this and two more “It’s almost summer” paintings at the It’s About Time blog, click here. (more…)

Nordic women artists

May 8, 2014

Tags: women artists, Scandinavian artists

While I was working on the previous post, about Anna Ancher of the Skagen colony, I ran across an archived blog post on the Finnish painter, Elin Kleopatra Danielson-Gambogi (1861–1919). She was an almost exact contemporary of Jeanette and, after training in Finland, went to Paris and Pont Aven, where she became a follower of Jules Bastien-Lepage. (more…)

Ancher’s blue room

May 5, 2014

Tags: Ancher, Jeanette, rooms, women artists, Scandinavian artists

Although a little girl is, in fact, shown sitting on a chair in this painting, it was one of the pictures I had in mind when I invented Jeanette’s interest in rooms as “portraits without people.” Anna Ancher, an almost exact contemporary of Jeanette, (more…)

Dutch interior, empty room

May 5, 2014

Tags: Hoogstraten, Jeanette, Louvre, painting in the novel, rooms, Hamer

This is the painting I have a melancholy Jeanette copy in the Louvre after Edward has gone south to Dr. Aubanel’s sanatorium. It would obviously appeal to an artist who perceives empty rooms as “portraits without people.”

Samuel van Hoogstraten was (more…)

The Hammock

May 2, 2014

Tags: Tissot, Regnault

Website tip: The Hammock: A Novel Based on the True Story of French Painter James Tissot is Lucy Paquette’s gorgeous, informative website devoted to her historical novel of the same title. The novel (which opens with a fictionalized version of the death of Regnault that Carolus rehearses to Edward) is an e-book that takes advantage of digital technology to include seventeen zoom-able paintings as illustrations. The website provides many, many more pictures by Tissot, his contemporaries, and the artists who influenced him. Go explore!


May 1, 2014

Tags: Jeanette

Falling back on favorite songs seems a natural way for people (especially students) to experience their emotions. When I was thinking about Jeanette’s loneliness during Edward’s absence in the winter of 1879–1880, I searched the Public Domain Music for a song for her to sing over and over to herself. What luck to find a melancholy, wistful one published in 1872 by a female songwriter, Charlotte Alington Barnard, the pseudonym of Claribel! It even fitted perfectly with Jeanette and Edward’s earlier romantic day by the Seine. (more…)