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

Hallowe’en witches

October 31, 2017

Tags: crones and witches

The questions of when did witches become identified with any old crone and when did people start believing they rode brooms are not answered by this one image, but mid 15th C is about right. For more on the picture, click here.

It is worth noting, incidentally, that although belief in witchcraft is ubiquitous in time and across cultures, during the late middle ages and early modern period the anxieties that led to witch-hunting were specially strong in Europe and colonial America. For an interesting interview with historian John Demos on this topic, click here.

Happy Hallowe’en!

Telling, little details

October 30, 2017

Tags: fashion or clothes, flower seller, street views, umbrella

When Jeanette goes into her first bakery in France, she notices the white cards with prices written in a Continental hand. Those price cards and their style of numbering had stuck in my mind ever since my student days in France, so it’s not surprising that I smiled this morning when I saw (more…)

People and animals

October 20, 2017

Tags: illustration, women artists

Blog alert: The post for October 20, 2017, Animalness, at Terri Windling’s Myth and Moor took my breath away for the wisdom it quotes and its images by Virginia Frances Sterrett. If you love Golden Age illustration or have been pondering where we fit in the animal world, check it out.

For the full on-line edition of Old French Fairy Tales with Sterrett's illustrations, click here.

American Women Artists: 1860–1960

October 19, 2017

Tags: women artists

Exhibition alert: A show of twenty-five works by American women artists is on view at Avery Galleries, 100 Chetwynd Drive, Bry Mawr, Pennsylvania, October 13–November 10, 2017. (more…)

Laundry, again

October 17, 2017

Tags: Sargent

Can’t resist posting this addendum to my last post!


October 16, 2017

Paintings and etchings that show the banks of the Seine before they were totally walled and paved are good reminders that historic cities in the 19th C and earlier were much more unfinished than they are today. Early photographs may catch some of the same features, but brushstrokes and color makes the textures of (more…)

Department of Titular Confusion

October 12, 2017

Tags: work-in-progress

This was the image I used for my first blog post back in 2012 because it leads readers directly into the studios of Where the Light Falls. Women’s friendship in the 19th C art world; a model; work clothes and fashion; touches of Japonisme; gold-framed pictures; canvas on an easel—it’s all there. I’m posting it again today to reiterate that this is my Where the Light Falls. I must ruefully report that another one is out there.

In July, Allison and Owen Pataki published a novel set in Paris with the same title. When I learned about it, I thought, “Oh gosh, that’s going to cause confusion.” And I think it has. (more…)