Prints Available

Quaggy Ecology Acrylic on text on canvas, 6" x 6"

Acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss of blue heron with fish in wetlands    My parents live by a pond (with very quaggy edges) & for a while they were regularly visited by a magnificent great blue heron. So when Anu gave me this word, I instantly thought of “Oscar” (as he was named by my grandmother, though I’m not sure why). I doubt Oscar ever landed a fish as large as this, nor could his neck bend in quite such a conveniently Q-like fashion, but he was an intrepid fisherman & a gorgeous creature, so this is my tribute to his majestic beauty. North Carolina (where most of my family lives) is the home of wonderful wetlands. As with many such areas across the country, they are very much in danger from over-development, so I thought of this dilemma often as I was painting this. Let’s hope generations to come will still be able to experience the wonder & awe I felt when Oscar came to visit. 

Acrylic painting in progress by Leah Palmer Preiss, great blue heron head, miniature painting detail

Acrylic painting in progress by Leah Palmer Preiss, miniature fish detail

 

True Confessions of a Bibliomaniac Acrylic on text on canvas, 6" x 6"

Acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss of a bookworm with favorite books    I’ll admit it, I’m a lifelong book addict. I love reading them, but I also love looking at them, touching them, talking about them, hoarding collecting them, & simply enjoying their beautiful & comforting presence all around me.  So when Anu Garg offered “bibliomania” as one of this year’s words for A.Word.A.Day, I was ecstatic. I scanned the definition from one of my collection of vintage dictionaries. (Please don’t ask how many I have– it’s a fraught subject in this household!) It took a little while to figure out how to illustrate the concept in the form of a letter “B,” but when I sketched out a twisted bookworm with a precipitous stack of books, I knew I was on my way.

Here’s where the true confession comes in. (You thought it was the book-hoarding part, didn’t you? But that doesn’t embarrass me in the least!) My real transgression? I illustrated the wrong word!

I painted three of the other words before I started on this one (don’t worry, no spoilers here), & by the time I came to this painting, I somehow focused on another definition from the dictionary page I’d scanned, & got it in my head that I was illustrating “bibliophile.”

I’ve always said that I can’t see the forest for the lichen. I may be meticulous in many ways, but alas, I’m very far from methodical, or I would have had the sense to double-check my word list before plunging ahead. Instead I obsessed for days over choosing the books for the stack & painting all the tiny titles. The worst part is that “bibliophile” is even involved in a sort of puzzle element hidden in the art (that’s a hint), so it’s not just the background that’s off-key….

Painting in progress, work in progress by Leah Palmer Preiss

Ah, well. The whole thing reminds me of a painful anecdote I once read, about a printer carefully proofreading every little town in a highly-detailed map of the Untied States… ;-)

In any case, I hope you can forgive me for getting lost in the dark & disorienting forest that is my brain, & focus with me on the fascinating lichen of teeny tiny thumbnail-sized books!

The open book on the floor is the one that started my own case of bibliomania,  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  I scanned & reduced the “Mouse’s Tale” spread from a beautiful vintage copy given to me long ago by one of my oldest, best & most bibliomaniacal friends. (Yes, you, Natalie!)

As for the books that the bookworm is clutching so fondly, many of Anu’s fans will recognize the titles, though I’ve taken some liberties with the cover designs to fit the old-school style. Thanks & apologies once again to Anu & all of my fellow bibliomaniacal logophiles!

Alice on floor

Update: This image is now available on mugs in my Zazzle shop!

Bibliophile Mug by Leah Palmer Preiss depicting a bookworm with books

 

 

Dungeons & Dragons Dragon+ Cover Acrylic on text on canvas, 9" x 12"

Acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss for Dungeons and Dragons Dragon Plus Magazine, Kupalue the curious Vegepygmy

When Shauna Narciso, Art Director of Dragon+ Magazine asked if I’d like to illustrate a “curious vegepygmy” in a fantasy jungle setting, you can imagine my reaction. It was truly a dream assignment,  full of hidden messages & tendrilicious details. If you’d like to read the story that inspired the illustration, as well as an interview in which I perhaps reveal too much about my working process, have a look at Dragon+ Issue 16, now online!

Cockalorum Returns To the Roost Acrylic on text on canvas, 6" x 6"

Acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss , caricature of Donald Trump as rooster, Year of the Rooster art, Anti-Trump artThe contemptible Cockalorum is back in the studio after strutting around in the Visual Art Exchange Hearsay show for the past month, so I am finally able to list the original on Etsy! Perhaps you’re in need of some outhouse decor? Or a very expensive dartboard? Prints are available too if you’d prefer a cheaper target.

Edit: By request of an anonymous source, I’m now offering mugs with this ugly mug in my Zazzle shop.

Anti-Trump Cockalorum mug by Leah Palmer Preiss

 

 

Advice from a Bunnipillar Acrylic on text collage on canvas, 12"x9"

Advice-750-Leah-Palmer-Preiss

I thought I’d posted this painting when I finished it last summer, but it appears I never did! I’m glad Illustration Friday’s topic this week was “smoke” because it made me think of this hookah “smoking” white rabbit/caterpillar chimera. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of my all-time favorite books, so much so that “Curiouser & curiouser!” is the motto I’ve painted on my studio door.

Bunnipillar-Fur-Detail-Leah-Palmer-PreissBunnipillar-Watch-Detail-Leah-Palmer-Preiss

Bunnipillar-Hookah-Detail-Leah-Palmer-PreissEnchanted Spot

p.s. Above are a few in-process shots from my Instagram account. The last photo shows the cover of Enchanted, published by Out of Step Books, which includes this painting as part of a large collection of folk, fairy tale & Wonderland illustrations (& tattoo art!) 

Infinite Monkey Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Infinite Monkey, acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss of Shakespearean monkey with typewriter

Happy Year of the Monkey! In honor of the 2016 Chinese New Year, Shakespeare, the infinite monkey theorem, & antique typewriters, here’s the Infinite Monkey himself, complete with a background text from Henry IV Part 2: “Ah, you sweet little rogue, you. Alas, poor ape, how thou sweatest!” (Yes, I know the theorem usually refers to Hamlet, but who could resist that line?)

I happen to have been born in a year of the monkey (never mind which), & even though I don’t put much stock in horoscopes, I can’t help but find it delightful that nearly every description of the monkey personality includes the word “curious!”

This particular monkey is available in my Etsy shop, & also makes a fitting companion to last year’s Counting Sheep!

By the way, the typewriter in this painting was modeled on one that came with our house (which was built in 1927.) One of the many reasons I knew it was the right house for us!

 

The Motion of Plants Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Motion of Plants, acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss, leafy fantasy creature art

I was planning to post this image for Illustration Friday’s prompt “Ruckus” because the word immediately made me think of Festus & Mercury: Ruckus in the Garden by Sven Nordqvist, one of our family’s favorite children’s books. If you’ve never encountered this book, please get hold of a copy immediately! It’s a quirky, hilarious tale of an old farmer & his mischievous cat & their mad adventures in gardening.

This painting, of course, is a different sort of ruckus, inspired by my well-established love for tendrils.

I didn’t finish quite in time to post for “Ruckus,” but luckily it sort of works for “Outside” too!

The text comes from this delightful old book, a flea market find:

Seaside and Wayside, Antique book

 

Year of the (Counting) Sheep Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Counting Sheep, Year of the Sheep acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss2015 is the year of the sheep according to Chinese astrology– most say it doesn’t start until the Chinese lunar new year (the 19th) but others insist it begins today, on the solar new year. Happy new year whenever & however you choose to celebrate!

Maybe it’s because this is also the time of year when W-4s start turning up in the mailbox (when you’re a freelancer there’s a frightening amount of paperwork to keep up with), but when I started sketching out a sheep in honor of the coming new year, it decided to grow up to be an old-school accountant. (That ledger paper is actually how I kept my business records for way too many years. I am so very grateful to my brother Dev who finally enlightened me in the wonderful ways of Quicken!)

The figures on these particular papers, however, are years of the sheep past, present & future. And you may notice that the fat stacks of 100′s are also strangely sheep-centric (& in no way representative of my own cash flow, alas)!

The background text was scanned from an antique 8th-grade textbook, Iroquois Arithmetics. 

Prints of this image are available in my Etsy shop. {Original SOLD}

The Juggernaut Begins! Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Juggernaut, original acrylic painting on canvas by Leah Palmer Preiss. Golden dragon attacking city

Oh, you thought I was talking about the relentless march of the holiday retail machine? Nope, that’s last week’s news. Now it’s time to brace yourself for this year’s mighty, unstoppable A.Word.A.Day illustration series!

Today’s word is “juggernaut,” “a massive relentless force, person, institution, etc. that crushes everything in its path.”

Though the word’s origins lie in Hindu tradition, my thoughts went immediately to Godzilla, then back to earlier rampaging Asian monsters. A gigantic golden dragon could certainly destroy a city, while forming a fairly convincing curiotype letter “J”!

This painting & prints thereof are now available while they last* in my Etsy shop. So I guess now we’re back to the holiday retail theme. ;-) *Original art SOLD… wow, that was fast!

More A.Word.A.Day art to come! Tomorrow some kitschy cluckers clutching coffee. Can you guess the word?