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

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2014

Tags: Pissarro

Turkeys, a New World species, were introduced to Europe in the 16th C and quickly became associated with holiday celebrations, especially Christmas. When 19th C American students abroad wanted to celebrate their home country’s Thanksgiving holiday, therefore, the birds were available. The Hotel Baudy (more…)

Salon Corner, 1880

November 24, 2014

Tags: Salon

Dantan’s painting shows the Salon on a normal day, not the opening—one of the many days Jeanette and Effie went back together perhaps. (The 1880 Salon is the very one at which I have Jeanette’s painting of a vestibule in the Renicks’ house hang.) (more…)

Another record sale

November 21, 2014

Tags: women artists

Breaking news: A Georgia O'Keefe painting has sold for a record price for a painting by a woman. I suppose this just upped the price (not the value!) of all her other work, but why does my heart sink that dollars dictate the discussion?

And then there's sport

November 20, 2014

In thinking about the Circleville “back story” for my new heroine, Mattie, I wondered what games were played by Ohio children of her era. Outdoor Sports for Boys gave quick answers—and its (and Girls) points to the need for feminism! Among the (more…)

Subway Glide

November 20, 2014

A plot detail in ANONYMITY required advertising placards in subway cars. Were there any? This sheet music cover doesn’t show any, but I loved the attitude of the woman rider. Furthermore, I found the answer to my question here.

To listen to Theodore Norman and Arthur Gillespie's whoop-de-doo, racy Subway Glide, click here.

For the sheet music, click here or, in pdf format, here.

Windling and King

November 19, 2014

Tags: fantasy, women artists

Blog tip: Any of you who read fantasy fiction know Terri Windling as a writer or editor. I have just stumbled across her blog Myth and Moor while researching Glasgow women artists (I think Amy Richardson may wind up in Glasgow). A visit to her page is a two-fer, Windling herself and Jessie M. King.

Why we oppose votes for men

November 18, 2014

Tags: suffrage

After yesterday's post on a Men Only saloon (and the results of this year's elections), I can't resist posting this image. I didn't document it properly so I can't tell you where I found it, but shall we agree, it speaks for itself?!?

Bouguereau’s Nymphs and Satyr

November 17, 2014

Tags: Bouguereau, New York landmark

A painting of Nymphs and Satyrs by William Adolphe Bouguereau lies in one of the oddball overlaps between my research for ANONYMITY and Where the Light Falls. In the published novel, Bouguereau is Jeanette’s teacher at the Académie Julian, and I saw his painting often when I visited the galleries while working in the library at The Clark. What you see here, however, (more…)

Happy Birthday, Impressionism!

November 13, 2014

Tags: Impressionism, Monet

Sunrise, 7:35 AM, November 13, 1872. Claude Monet dashes off his impression of the red sun over misty Le Havre harbor. Yes, no, exactly? Exactly, say researchers Donald Olson, a professor of astrophysics at Texas State University and Géraldine Lefebre, a curator at the Musée d'Art Moderne Aldreé Malraux in Le Havre. For more about their calculations, click here. Does it matter? Not a whit. Is it fun? Well, sure.

See also my earlier post, Impression: Sunrise.


November 10, 2014

Tags: fashion or clothes, magazine, offices, transportation

One of the gee-whiz pleasures for me in researching New York City at the turn of the 20th C is gawking at high-resolution photos on line. In the full view of this one at the Shorpy site, you can read ads on the El staircase and titles on the newsstand. I'm delighted with the (more…)

Sales record

November 6, 2014

Breaking news: This portrait, privately owned by the same family for a hundred years, has sold for a record $65,000,000. Not what it would have brought in 1881!

Votes for Women in Cincinnati

November 6, 2014

Tags: suffrage, street views

Of course, this should have been posted on Monday with an exhortation to vote (I hope you did). If you find the results of Tuesday's elections depressing, remember our foremothers worked and worked and kept working despite.

The Library of Congress captions this photograph, "Miss Louise Hall with brush and Miss Susan Fitzgerald assisting bill posting in Cincinnati." (more…)

Sunrise, sunset

November 3, 2014

In the first draft of a chapter in ANONYMITY, I had a meeting of my suffragist group break up around 7:00 P.M. and wrote that it was still light outside. Before beginning the next chapter, which would follow Mattie home on the streets of Manhattan, I wanted to firm up the novel’s chronology. (more…)