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

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

Tags

Quick Links

Find Authors

Picturing a World

Research

July 25, 2013

Tags: Edward, Eakins, Rembrandt, Sorollo

The Spanish painter Sorolla captures the intensity of a 19th C scientific researcher and his colleagues in a laboratory. Outside science fiction, the topic of scientific research is not much explored in art or literature (some of my own chapter was edited out). In painting, I can think of only a few medical examples, (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…)

Edward

December 17, 2012

Tags: Edward, Eakins, Carolus-Duran

Can you imagine how astonishing it was to come across this profound, brooding portrait? Here was Edward! Other images told me a lot about what places looked like, how people comported themselves, what they wore. This one enabled me to probe deeper into how my own character felt—what he knew, what he regretted, what he found himself unable to resolve, understand, or forget.
In the latter part of the novel, Jeanette’s teacher, Carolus-Duran, remarks that Edward is a type that interests him. When I wrote that, I had in mind this painting by him, which some people believe to be a self-portrait.