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.

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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

Stereoscopic Salle des Maréchaux

April 29, 2014

Tags: Tuileries

Blog tip: For a slightly disconcerting view of the Salle des Maréchaux in the Tuileries Palace made from stereoscopic images taken in 1865, click here. Meissonier painted the ruins of this room in 1871, after the palace was burned.

Drums at the Tuileries Garden

March 20, 2014

Tags: Edward, Tissot, Tuileries, Paris landmark

"The naked upper branches reached toward a primordial wildness having little to do with parks or men.… The trees at Shiloh had been like that.… In the growing dusk, golden lights pricked out the Rue de Rivoli to his left.… At the rat-a-tat-tat of a drum being beaten to signal the closing hour, he felt a momentary urge to flout the martial-sounding order."

I was looking for a different painting by James Tissot last week (more…)

Palace ruins

January 9, 2014

Tags: Carolus-Duran, Edward, Franco-Prussian War, Meissonier, Paris landmark, Tuileries

The American Civil War (1861-1865) has deeply affected the psyches of Cousin Effie and Edward; and as soon as I learned in my background reading that Carolus-Duran fought in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), I knew a shared experience of war could be an overt point of contact between him and Edward. (more…)

Tuileries Garden

June 13, 2013

Tags: Edward, Paris landmark, Tuileries, Cox, gardens

On a fall visit to Paris, Edward walks through the Tuileries Garden as evening descends. Imagine him walking the wide path to the left in Pissarro’s painting, which also captures the bare trees that for a moment carry Edward's mind back to Shiloh. The detail that ducks left rippling wakes in the big round pool seen on the center left margin of the painting comes in a letter from Kenyon Cox, an Ohio art student who was in Paris in the late 1870’s. The woman buying roasted chestnuts for her children at the entrance to the garden was inspired by a print or painting that I saw on line. If anybody happens to know of one, please send me the link!