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.

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

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Picturing a World

Rocks at L'Estaque

May 22, 2014

Tags: Cézanne, Renoir, Provence

This painting was at the back of my mind for when I imagined a vineyard terraced below a limestone escarpment on the grounds of Dr. Aubanel’s sanatorium. Edward helps tend grapevines there in February 1880. It tickled me to discover in preparing this post that the picture was painted two years later in February 1882 (more…)

Sea at L’Estaque

April 17, 2014

Tags: Cézanne, Edward, Provence

Edward is discouraged by his first view outside the L’Estaque train station, but then Winkie turns him around to look out over the bay of Marseille. For another version of this painting, click here. For another view from higher up, click here. For others, click here, here, here, and here. (more…)

View from a train station

April 14, 2014

Tags: Cézanne, Edward, Provence, transportation

Originally, I had intended to give the Renicks’ a house in Aix-en-Provence, where I spent a semester my sophomore year in college, and place Dr. Aubanel’s sanatorium near its thermal springs. Jeanette and Effie were to stay for a longish visit and encounter Edward swimming in the river Arc, where Paul Cézanne and Êmile Zola swam as boys. (more…)

Bathers

June 3, 2013

Tags: Amy, Cézanne, Eakins, Emily, Jeanette, Pont Aven, Zorn, nudes

French artistic training in the 19th C centered on the nude figure, which was easily incorporated into paintings with classical subjects. Artists of modern life who wanted to put their training to use took up bathers as a subject, as Anders Zorn’s Against the Current illustrates the topic. My actual inspiration for the scene in which Jeanette, Amy, and Emily go swimming at Pont Aven was his painting Out, for which I cannot find a large reproduction online. I loved the way the figures in that painting are tonally part of the landscape, as they are in a related painting Opal.

EDIT: Well! Late in the day of this post, I have just double-checked the link to Zorn's Opal and been taken to the correct write-up but the wrong painting at the Worcester Art Museum. A weird computer glitch, which I hope becomes self-correcting. At least, the Eakins and Cezanne links below work! (more…)