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

Marie-François Firmin-Girard

July 5, 2017

Tags: Paris landmark, dogs, flower seller, handcart, street views

Blog post alert:> Thanks to a post at Line and Colors for introducing me to Marie-François Firmin-Girard. I love finding pictures that I might have used for Where the Light Falls had I come upon them in time.

For instance, Jeanette and Cousin Effie visit the Quai aux Fleurs, and this painting contains all sorts of details that might have sharpened a description. Look at the black-and-white plaids two women wear or the children, the dogs, the handcarts. I know I’d have been tempted to mention the blue tiles surrounding the clock on the bell tower or the wicker baskets for the plants. The interactions among people might also suggest an incident or a completely separate story. See anything of note?


  1. July 5, 2017 11:37 AM EDT
    Absolutely sensational painting. So vibrant in capturing the flower market and everyone in it. I noticed the woman to the right in the dark ivory dress. She has to bend over with an arched back because of her corset. Since I'm trying to find a greater presentation through my spine in ballroom dancing, I zeroed in on this woman. Corsets were so unhealthy, and having to bend this way with the head tipped off the top of the spine would only cause neck pain. Something I must get past to continue dancing.
    - Patricia Franzino
  2. July 5, 2017 2:40 PM EDT
    Thanks so much for your comment, Pat! It shows how different people pick up on different details because of their own interests and expertise. We're both interested in what people wear, but I was focusing on the plaids while you noticed the dynamics of wearing the clothes. Even within just the area of fashion, this picture is rich in possibilities. (And, by the way, what an expressive and disciplined dancer you must be!)
    - Katherine Keenum