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.


Quick Links

Find Authors

Picturing a World

Chocolate pottel

December 28, 2016

This year, my sister gave my husband and me matching Spode Christmas mugs in a bulbous shape with candy cane handles. Imagine my delight today when I stumbled across this 17th C image of a chocolate “pottel.” Hot chocolate tonight!

To begin exploring the Wellcome Library’s collection of recipe books, click here. (more…)

Annunciation to the Shepherds

December 24, 2016

At Christmas, we celebrate a story; and my favorite part has always been the shepherds. Over the centuries, it has lent itself to all sorts of narrative extensions—e.g., the medieval Second Shepherds’ Play and the recently released Certain Poor Shepherds by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.

Stories upon stories: This year Hanukkah beings tonight and Christmas comes tomorrow. Whatever our various beliefs, may the holidays bring us all a little more into the light.

Mousehole Cat

December 23, 2016

Tags: children's books, illustration, women artists

One of my Christmas Eve Eve rituals is to read The Mousehole Cat. To my delight I have just found a YouTube video on The Making of The Mousehole Cat Book with interviews of author Antonia Barber, illustrator Nicola Bayley, (more…)

Marianne Stokes’ Madonna

December 16, 2016

Tags: art colony, women artists

A post of Marianne Stokes’ Madonna and Child at It’s About Time caught my eye partly for the serene loveliness of the composition, partly for the Crivelli-like use of gold ornamentation, and partly for the date (which is only one year off (more…)

Narrative painting tips for writers?

December 14, 2016

Blog tip: The December 13th post at James Gurney’s blog—Five ways to extend a story—contains lessons to artists on secondary action that can be contained in a narrative picture. Read it and learn to see better. The question for us writers is, What analogous tips be incorporated into written stories to enrich themes or action?

It's in the bag!

December 9, 2016

Tags: children's books

Emily Arnold McCully, Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor (2006)
Did shoppers have paper bags in 1908? I wondered while working on a scene set in New York City. I found out they did, and I've just discovered that flat-bottomed paper bags of the sort we're all familiar with from grocery stores were invented by a woman, Margaret E. Knight, who patented her process in 1871. (more…)

Miss La La again

December 4, 2016

Tags: Degas, entertainment

When I sent my characters to the Cirque Fernando in Where the Light Falls to see Mlle. La La perform, I had no idea that the real woman painted by Edgar Degas was a mixed-race performer. (more…)