Curiotype

Illustrated letters of all sorts

Succulent words this week! Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Succulent: Acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss of a green monster resembling an aloe plant in a succulent gardenNothing is more delicious than a good, juicy word, & A.Word.A.Day provides one every morning. I’m honored to be illustrating for Anu Garg’s succulent site again this week, & especially delighted to be given this word this year. In June we visited The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, & saw the most astonishing collection of succulents there in the Desert Garden. My East-Coast eyes couldn’t get enough of their curious shapes & colors. There were a number of lizards enjoying the landscape as well, & I would not have been very surprised if an aloe-esque creature like this “S”-shaped fellow had appeared in one of the beds. Even an alien or a dinosaur would have seemed right at home!

(By the way, the Desert Garden is just one of many, & we were so entranced by all of them that we barely had time to pop into the Library at the end of the day before it closed– which was a pity, because their collection of rare books & manuscripts is as spectacular as the collection of plants.)

Original sold but prints still available in my Etsy shop, Curious Art Lab.

Magic, Words! Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss: A wizard in purple robes holds a mysterious scroll

It’s that magical time of year again– when I get to share my illustrations for that wizard of words, Anu Garg, & his fount of esoteric etymological lore, A.Word.A.Day! How appropriate that we begin this year with Gramarye. I first encountered the word as a child, reading T.H. White’s Arthurian series, The Once and Future King, & ever since it evokes warm memories of those books, so when Anu offered it as a possibility, I knew immediately that I wanted to illustrate it. I felt the image needed some magical letters in addition to the letter “G” formed by the art, so I researched magical alphabets & did my best to “spell” out a secret message using one of the most popular. Do you have the magical powers to interpret this gramarye?

Oneiric Acrylic painting on text collage on canvas, 6"x6"

Oneiric-LeahPalmerPreissIllustrating words for Anu Garg’s brilliant site A.Word.A.Day is a dream gig for me. I’d been a devoted fan for many years before I began this project, & he always chooses such wonderfully evocative words for me to tackle!

If you’ve been around for the last few years of AWAD art, you probably know that I wouldn’t dream of doing a week’s worth of illustrations without including at least one cat. The word “oneiric” instantly made me think of a sleepy white kitty floating blissfully in the clouds, accompanied by some favorite… friends, shall we say?  It’s a peaceable kingdom in the sky! Round & round & round they go, conveniently assuming the shape of a letter “O.”

And of course they have drifted into my Etsy shop… come say hello! {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?

& Now… A New Curiotype Ampersand! Digital Illustration (Photoshop)

Curiotype Ampersand Digital Art by Leah Palmer PreissI have a real thing for ampersands. In fact I chose the font for this site in part because the italic ampersand gives me a tiny tendril-loving thrill every time I see it. :-) (& & & & &…. do you feel it too?) So when someone asked if I had an ampersand to go with my original Curiotype Alphabet, I was more than delighted to add one! I may yet give it a bit more tweaking but here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

The ampersand, by its very nature, brings things together– not only as a conjunction but as a letterform. Its original shape was derived from a calligraphic intertwining of the letters “e” & “t” (“et” is Latin for “and”)– although many modern versions take the basic shape & run with it to a nearly unrecognizable direction. That’s one of the things I love about the ampersand– it’s a chance for a calligrapher or type designer to throw caution to the wind & really play with form.

So I thought it was only right that there should be a pair of creatures involved in this Curiotype. And given my love of ampersands & the proximity of Valentine’s Day, I figured they should be rather taken with one another.

Stay tuned for more Curiotype developments AND more Valentine’s goodness! In the meantime I hope you are enjoying your new year & everything that comes with it!

edit: Now available as an ACEO-sized print in my Etsy shop!

Disprize Acrylic painting on map and music collage on canvas, 30" x 24"

Painting of Cat, Illustration for A Word A Day

Sometimes one must refrain from eating, if only to make a statement. ;-)

This image was created for Anu Garg’s A.Word.A.Day, where it’s featured today. If you love words, you should definitely sign up for Anu’s daily emails– they are always a delight.

The original painting as well as prints are available in my Etsy shop.

Ineluctable Curiotype Alphabet

Painting of Grim Reaper; Death and Taxes

This may be a bit of a stretch for Illustration Friday’s topic, but who among us doesn’t walk through the valley of the shadow of death (& taxes), at least some of the time? After all, they’re ineluctable!

This is yet another painting in the series I’ve been working on, whose purpose will be revealed soon. (Although anyone who tries can figure it out with very little effort.) In addition to invoking the Grim Reaper and the IRS, it includes an ineluctable nod to James Joyce, though you may have to click on the image to be able to read it.

Confession: this painting was intended for my Halloween post, not Thanksgiving! But that week I was visited by a monster of a fever, & rather than getting in the holiday mood by painting Death, I got to feel like death warmed over. The good part is that, now that I’m finally healthy again, just being able to walk around doing everyday tasks without feeling like a zombie makes me feel grateful every minute of the day, so I’m going to be very ready to give thanks tomorrow!

I’m also enormously grateful to every one of you out there in Internet Land who visits this blog. I never thought it would be possible to feel so close to people I’ve never met, but internet magic makes it so. You encourage & inspire me, you make me smile & laugh, sometimes you even make me cry (in a good way). THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

Original Painting & Prints available in my Etsy shop

 

 

Felicitous Acrylic on collaged text on canvas, 6"x6"

Felicitous-LeahPalmerPreissAnother in the probably-not-so-mysterious series that began with Malinger.

It is felicitous indeed that Illustration Friday’s word this week is “tail”– this fellow not only sports his own fine fox tail, but also holds a bunch of foxtail grass. Also featured (though tail-less) are foxgloves, some glowing foxfire mushrooms, & some faux-foxing around the edges of the paper.

Original Painting ~SOLD~

Prints Available in my Etsy shop