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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Hallowe’en cats

October 31, 2018

Tags: crones and witches, illustration

Blog tips: Vintage Halloween postcards at the Toronto Public Library is an archived post with lots of images of Halloween cards from ca. 1910 and links to the library’s collections. Usually I’d choose a witch to offer as a treat for Hallowe’en, but there’s something weirdly imaginative about these menacing Jack-o-lanterns and their panicked cats that tickles my fancy this (and there is a witch in the upper right-hand corner). A different card at the American Antiquarian Society, moreover, makes clear that the gauzy bows could be perceived as witches’ bodies. For it and another set of vintage Hallowe’en cards, click here.

And whether you trick or treat or celebrate Samhain as the pagan new year, have a happy, safe Hallowe’en—with just a touch of the spooky or wild!


December 18, 2017

Tags: crones and witches

Blog tip: I have begun collecting images in a category I call “Crones.” A recent birthday post by Greer Gilman has a dandy. I won’t violate copyright law by reproducing it, but do click here and enjoy.

Witches’ interiors

November 29, 2017

Tags: crones and witches, illustration

Blog post alert: I’ve just finished my annual rereading of Greer Gilman’s Moonwise. The interior of Malycorne’s cot in all its iterations in the novel is pure enchantment, my favorite witch’s hut in literature. But isn’t this one dandy? It makes me want to invent (more…)

Hallowe’en witches

October 31, 2017

Tags: crones and witches

The questions of when did witches become identified with any old crone and when did people start believing they rode brooms are not answered by this one image, but mid 15th C is about right. For more on the picture, click here.

It is worth noting, incidentally, that although belief in witchcraft is ubiquitous in time and across cultures, during the late middle ages and early modern period the anxieties that led to witch-hunting were specially strong in Europe and colonial America. For an interesting interview with historian John Demos on this topic, click here.

Happy Hallowe’en!

Hallowe’en 2016

October 31, 2016

Tags: crones and witches, illustration, social customs

Today’s image comes via It’s About Time, but could equally have come from Liberty Puzzles. As the 2016 election spirals down, I regret not having ordered one for distraction!

For a wealth of holiday postcards from the New York Public Library, click here.

And I’ve just discovered a book that bears looking into, American Holiday Postcards, 1905–1915. Addendum: For a helpful review, click here.