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

What an issue!

January 30, 2016

Tags: illustration, magazine

Blog tip: A post at The Golden Age mounts highlights from The Century Magazine, October 1904. They include illustrations from an installment of Jack London’s novel, The Sea-Wolf, Maxfield Parrish’s illustrations of Edith Wharton’s Italian Villas and Their Gardens, and advertisements for Rookwood Pottery, a Locomobile, and Chickering pianos. Mattie Palmer would have read it. It'a available at Google Books—if only I could make the link work!


January 28, 2016

Tags: illustration, women artists

Mary Hamilton Frye’s illustrations for “Children and the Theatre,” which were mentioned in my last post, came to mind today when I read Kathleen Jennings’ blog post on Skimmings, with its gif compilation her own recent paper cut-out illustrations for a musical composition. Silhouettes have (more…)

Mary Hamilton Frye

January 22, 2016

Tags: illustration, women artists

Lisbeth Zwerger is one of my favorite living illustrators, and I couldn’t resist pairing a sample of her work with a picture from the Golden Age by Mary Hamilton Frye (1890–1951). Is it just my imagination, (more…)

Searching for words

January 19, 2016

Tags: fantasy, women artists

The conceptual artist Catherine Chaloux tickles my fancy. Although fantasy fiction is a part of my reading and writing life, I have not reacted to her witty, luscious work as a source of stories so much as illustrations of my imaginary self. This picture combines (more…)

Paris panoroama

January 18, 2016

Tags: Paris landmark

Website tip: Wheeeee! For a 360° panorama of Paris in high resolution, click here.

Od Magic

January 11, 2016

Tags: fantasy, illustration, women artists

Some of my favorite novels are fantasies. For a holiday treat, I read Patricia McKillip’s Od Magic. It is a lovely, lively story and I was specially interested in how McKillip interwove four plot lines. It allowed her to jump over the (more…)

Leyendecker at the Académie Julian

January 10, 2016

Tags: Académie Julian, illustration, schools

Blog tip: Yesterday’s Gurney Journey post lets you read what J. C. Leyendecker, a Golden Age illustrator, had to say about the Académie Julian. For an interesting article on Leyendecker as a gay artist who defined images of the American male, click here.

Linda Baker-Cimini

January 6, 2016

Tags: women artists, illustration

Although those of us who write historical fiction do a lot of directed research, sometimes it is serendipity that turns up the most gorgeous details. In life, chance meetings are even better. I was taking my daily walk this afternoon and ran into Linda Baker-Cimini, whom I (more…)

Flash fiction

January 3, 2016

What is the difference between a slogan, a good opening line, and a flash fiction? Hard to tell these days, especially if an illustration is allowed to amplify meaning as in James Gurney’s Six Word Story Challenge. It’s a topic worth pondering seriously but for this morning, only a game: Here’s the picture, what’s the story—in six words, sixty, or six hundred?