Tag Archives: A Word A Day

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.

Xenophile Acrylic on collaged text & map on canvas, 6"x6"

Xenophile-Leah-Palmer-Preiss

Today’s painting for A.Word.A.Day illustrates a pair of elephants forming a mutual admiration society for their respective homes & customs. Just painting this made me want to travel to Africa & India, so I guess that makes me a xenophile too!

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

Quacksalver-Leah-Palmer-Preiss

Today’s A.Word.A.Day painting is Quacksalver, a variant of the more familiar quack. This particular duck doctor is administering a terrifyingly large leech to his very unhappy patient. His office wall bears a dubious diploma from the Institute of Hirudiculture, conferring a degree in leechery. Three troubling vocabulary words for the price of one!

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?

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

Zymology-Leah-Palmer-PreissWhat could be better at the end of a long hard week in the lab than a nice refreshing craft beer? And hey, if you’re a zymologist, you can call it research!

Why a goat (aside from those elegant horns that conveniently help form the “Z”, that is)? Goats have a long association with beer– specifically bock beer– thanks to a regional German accent.

Quoth Wikipedia: The style known now as bock was a dark, malty, lightly hopped ale first brewed in the 14th century by German brewers in the Hanseatic town of Einbeck. The style from Einbeck was later adopted by Munich brewers in the 17th century and adapted to the new lager style of brewing. Due to their Bavarian accent, citizens of Munich pronounced “Einbeck” as “ein Bock” (“a billy goat”), and thus the beer became known as “bock”. To this day, as a visual pun, a goat often appears on bock labels.

That’s all the excuse I need. :-)

Meanwhile, back at the lab– Curious Art Lab, that is– I’ve brewed up some prints of this image for you!

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

Scandent-Leah-Palmer-PreissGardening is one of my favorite activities, but inevitably there comes a time each year when I start to feel like this. It seems one minute I’m blithely puttering along, & the next, absolutely gobsmacked by the rampant growth of our North Carolina Summers. No matter how I try, I can’t keep up, so I just do what I can & hope for the best. Even a ramshackle, overgrown garden is better than no garden!

I read quite a lot of gardening books, but I don’t recall coming across this word before. The moment I saw it on Anu’s list I knew just what to paint! And “S” is such a wonderful letter– it’s graceful & decorative even in its simplest form, & very amenable to play & elaboration, whether calligraphic or illustrative.

If you’d like to see this painting & its print offshoots growing in their Etsy habitat, I welcome you to a garden tour! {Original SOLD}

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}

 

 

 

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

Klatsch-Leah-Palmer-Preiss  My name is Leah & I’m a coffee addict. Maybe it’s too many tight deadlines, maybe it’s just weakness of character, but I sure do love the stuff.  It’s probably bad for my anxiety & sleep issues… okay, definitely bad… but still, so delicious & uniquely fortifying! Around this time of year I follow the traditional coffee advent calendar: one cup on the first of the month, two on the second…

To add to its charms, coffee is conducive to conviviality. And it may be more than the caffeine that does the trick. Check out this intriguing study.

I was introduced to the “kaffee klatsch” in college, where there were regular gatherings in various departments for conversation & coffee (the coffee was abysmal but the conversations great). The word always made me think of “kitsch,” which no doubt influenced this image.

It was quite a challenge getting the “K” shape in there. I finally made it happen, more or less, with the four arms (or should I say wings?) connecting in the center.

For extra kitschy goodness, there’s a little snippet of lyrics from The Music Man hidden in there. Can you find it?

You are invited to join the party at my Etsy shop!

 

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?