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.

Click on images to see enlargements. In the text, click on words in color 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

Art and action

January 24, 2018

Tags: illustration

Cover art by Kathleen Jennings
A blog post on her cover art by one of my favorite illustrators working today, Kathleen Jennings, piqued my interest in the new fantasy novel, Arcanos Unraveled by Jonna Gjevre. I admire good cover art and dust jackets; I'm interested in textiles and love fantasy; it's great to be introduced to a new author, and this one grew up on a sheep farm! Of course I bought a copy. One thing we can do as artists in a time of trouble is support each others’ creativity.

Kathleen Jennings does so in praising a different artist who has illustrated her upcoming Heart of Owl Abbas.

That artist is Audrey Bejaminsen. She’s new to me. I find her fantastical work strange and accomplished and am grateful to have been led to it

Finally, Jonna Gjevre has other suggestions for making a difference in the world we face today. Also for her thoughts on publishing the novel this winter, click here.

Update: Funny, fast, one twisty yarn! Now that I've read it, I can report that Gjevre does indeed knit up the plot with oodles of textile lore. The characters are vivid. Some are archetypal, like the crone who owns a wool shop; others wackily original, like the kindly paranoid father who raises his hedge witch child in an abandoned missile silo. Not deeply resonant in a mythic way, but great fun—and no one who calls the University of Wisconsin alma mater should miss it.

Sisterhood and creativity

January 20, 2018

Tags: women artists

I try to keep these posts short and connect you to something you might use. This one is longer because, on this anniversary of the Trump inauguration, I’m pulling together several things to help myself move through and beyond the grimy, depressing aspects of the present day to something life-enhancing. I hope it helps you, too.

First, sisterhood: Reports on the Women’s March redux is enheartening. In the era of #MeToo, it’s good to focus on women’s worth—enlightened male companions welcome. We must also remember that it’s not just sexual predation that is an issue. I was interested to read in the January 12, 2018, Guardian, that “[a]fter 2017’s Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets included only four women, 250 writers have agreed to boycott anthologies, conferences and festivals where women are not fairly represented.” (more…)

Blonde lace

January 17, 2018

Blog post tip: For fans of textile history trivia, Loretta Chase’s Two Nerdy History Girls post, Blonde lace on the 19th Century Red Carpet, is worth a look. As she explains, the word blonde in this context refers to undyed silk.

Twelfth Night, 2018

January 5, 2018

Tags: Christmas

On this Twelfth Day of Christmas, a last image. Robin Tanner was one of the English artists who were much influenced by a 1926 show of Samuel Palmer’s work at the Victoria and Albert in London. Somehow it seems fitting to catch a final glimpse of the receding holiday from high up and far away. The vantage point might also be the start of a story that moves down into the lit street with evening pressing in from the countryside beyond. And it seems to hold secrets—always a good beginning for art.

Nappy New Year

January 1, 2018

Tags: illustration, magazine

I was planning to skip a post today. Then I saw this The Saturday Evening Post cover at Lines and Colors. And THEN I mistyped Nappy for Happy and decided, yup, it has to stay. Here's to chuckles as well as tears in 2018!