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.

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An American woman art student meets a Civil War veteran in Belle Époque Paris.


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Picturing a World

Fanny Brate—Another one lost to marriage

February 8, 2017

Tags: plein air, Scandinavian artists, schools, women artists

In Where the Light Falls, Amy points out bitterly to Jeanette that marriage means the end of a woman’s career in art. So it was for Fanny Brate (1861–1940), a Swedish painter who entered the Royal Swedish Academy of Art in 1880 and subsequently studied at the Académie Colarossi in Paris. After she married philologist Erik Brate, she gave up painting, though she remained a patron of the arts.

My thanks to Charley Parker for this post on Brate, which introduced me to her. It provides excellent details of Brate’s most famous painting, A Day of Celebration.

I chose Art Friends instead because it illustrates a woman painting en plein air amid a crowd of curious onlookers. James Gurney’s post on Ten Top Ways to Deal with Curious Spectators brings the topic right into the present day.


  1. February 9, 2017 10:36 AM EST
    "A Day of Celebration" is not what I expected. It was so subtle and lovely. The light and space of the room with sparse furniture in white wood was so soothing and peaceful. Nothing was in that room that was unnecessary. The young girls looked like the celebration was for something personal for them. The leaves around the table seemed like something a child would use as decoration.

    I wonder what kind of "force" was used to stop this woman from painting. Maybe it was family and society in Sweden.
    - Patricia Franzino
  2. February 13, 2017 8:59 AM EST
    I agree entirely with your comments on "A Day of Celebration"! As for what prevented women in Scandinavia, France, England, and America from practicing their art after marriage, it was indeed social pressure. It was considered unladylike and they had enough trouble selling their work as single women! We may have a long way to go, but we can be thankful for the strides our grandmothers made for us. Thanks as always for your comments.
    - Katherine Keenum