Katherine Keenum


A blog about the paintings, photographs, and prints that help me visualize my fiction—both Where the Light Falls and works-in-progress. My main current project is a novel tentatively entitled ANONYMITY. Its heroine works in publishing, belongs to a clandestine suffragist group, and has a married lover. Read on!

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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

Christmas morning 1908

December 25, 2015

Tags: Christmas, Larsson

As far as I’m concerned, an album of Carl Larsson images is the perfect way to glimpse a world we hope was true. Nostalgia? Sure. Merry Christmas, everybody!

For more strictly Christmas images by Larsson, click here.

Sherlock Holmes for Christmas

December 21, 2015

Tags: Christmas, illustration

I’ve just learned what to read tonight: “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans” by A. Conan Doyle. It ran in this December 12, 1908, edition of Colliers. And what fun—Maxfield Parrish! Surely, Mattie is a fan of Sherlock Holmes and probably of Parrish, too.

X in Xmas

December 19, 2015

Tags: Christmas, illustration

Mattie Palmer, my new heroine, is Jeanette’s younger sister. Since Where the Light Falls is set in 1878–1880 and ANONYMITY in 1908, this magazine cover comes halfway between the chronologically. It’s sort of like a Rorschach test: Would Jeanette’s art be leading her this direction? Would Mattie like it? The fact (more…)

Christmas tree

December 26, 2014

Tags: Christmas, women artists

Elizabeth Forbes, Christmas Tree (n.d.)
Whoops! I forgot to hit "Publish" on Dec. 23rd—a bonus from Canadian-born Elizabeth Adela Forbes Stanhope (Jeanette’s contemporary). Happy Boxing Day.

Puck Christmas 1908

December 25, 2014

Tags: Christmas, fashion or clothes, illustration

The true meaning of Christmas may be the opposite of worldly vanity, but I can’t resist posting this image from the period of my present research for ANONYMITY.

San Francisco-based Grant Gordon (best known as a marine painter) provided illustrations to Puck and other periodicals.

I have to assume that my heroine, Mattie, (more…)

Alice Barber Stephens

December 23, 2014

Tags: Académie Julian, Christmas, illustration, women artists

This Christmas shopping street scene is the sort that might have met my new heroine Mattie when she arrived in New York City at the turn of the 20th C. It was painted by Alice Barber Stephens, (more…)

Three more shopping days til Christmas

December 22, 2014

Tags: Christmas, Glackens, New York City landmark, illustration, women artists

The heroine of ANONYMITY, Mattie Palmer, works in an office near Madison Square, so imagine her witnessing crowds like this. I’ve set the novel in warm weather for various reasons, but winter settings have advantages. Cold, snow, and sleet give urgency to action, and respite from misery in cozy havens are among my (more…)

Elsa Beskow

December 11, 2014

Tags: Christmas, children's books, illustration, Scandinavian artists, women artists

Several interests came together for me when I came across Swedish artist, Elsa Beskow (1874–1953)—Jeanette’s future career as an illustrator; my new heroine Mattie’s work in juvenile book publishing; women’s rights; and Scandinavian women artists. As a Christmas present to (more…)

Joyeux Noël!

December 25, 2013

Tags: Christmas, Effie, Jeanette, Vann

On their first Christmas Eve in Paris, Jeanette and Effie go to services at Saint-Germain-des-Prés. On Christmas Day in both 1878 and 1879, they attend services at The American Church in Paris on the rue de Berri, (more…)

Puppets in the Park

December 23, 2013

Tags: Angelica, Christmas, Effie, entertainment

It’s December 23rd, the day Cousin Effie takes Angelica to a marionette show in the park, so I’m going to leave Jeanette and Edward in the summertime Luxembourg Garden and detour into Christmas. Well, I admit it's also summer in Ellen Houghton's picture of a puppet show in the leafy Tuileries Garden, (more…)

O Tannenbaum

December 24, 2012

Tags: Edward, Christmas

On Christmas Eve in Cincinnati, the German Murers would have decorated a table-top tree like the one in this illustration from an 1866 collection, Christmas Poems and Pictures. In 1866, the year after the American Civil War ended, Edward was in no shape to enjoy family festivities; but by the time he spends the holiday in Freiburg-im-Breisgau in the winter of 1878, his German cousins’ celebrations bring childhood memories back to life for him.

May your holidays be filled with joy, good books under the tree, and the makings of happy memories for years to come!