Tag Archives: Alphabet

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

 

 

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

Ostentatious: acrylic cat painting by Leah Palmer Preiss. A cat dressed to excess in red carpet finery.

Appropriately enough for the grand finale of my week on A.Word.A.Day, here’s an ostentatious feline showing off her most opulent finery as she slinks down the red carpet to the opera. If her over-the-top style looks a bit familiar, maybe it’s because of a certain bird with a similar fondness for white furs & flamboyant feathers. Birds (& cats) of a feather flock together, & it tickles me that the two side by side spell out “NO!”

Thanks once again to Anu for another year of wonderful words. I’m already looking forward to 2017!

Original & prints in my Etsy shop.

 

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

Afflatus: Acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss depicting an angelic muse breathing inspiration to Shakespeare

I didn’t know this word until Anu suggested it for A.Word.A.Day, but once I looked it up I knew it would be great fun to illustrate! There’s something delightfully Shakespearean about the definition of “afflatus” in the old dictionary I used for the background text– any word that could evoke both “an exaltation of soul” & “belching” would appeal to the bard, don’t you think? Still, I hope his expression conveys that it’s divine inspiration he’s receiving here & not digestive vapors, however angelic. It was a technical challenge even to get a likeness since his face is barely the size of my fingernail!

Here’s a work-in-progress shot showing the scale of the painting. (If you’d like to see more of this sort of thing please follow me on Instagram.)

Afflatus-In-Progress

Original & prints available in my Etsy shop, Curious Art Lab!

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!

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}

 

 

 

Gateway Creature Acrylic on vintage catalogue page

Oddment103-Otoroshi-LeahPalmerPreissLately I get the feeling that Illustration Friday has been making up topics just for me! I love painting creatures of all sorts. I’m actually working on a new piece that fits the topic AND the last, but until that’s done, I’m offering Otoroshi, as previously posted in my Oddments blog (which is chock-full o’ creatures, by the way):

“This week’s entry for AlphaBeasts is Otoroshi, an exceptionally hairy, tusk-bearing, gate-guarding monster. Normally he hangs out on temple gates, but this time he’s gracing a Marvel-ous wire number from Jim Brown’s Catalogue, 1939.”

 

ZealBot AlphaBots ~ Artificial Emotional Intelligence

ZealBot

Wow– the end of another Alphabet Project! Of course I still have a few stragglers to fill in, but I must say I’m happy to be (nearly) done with this one. Over the past six months I’ve certainly learned a lot about Adobe Illustrator,* but frankly I’ve lost much of my zeal for vector & robots, & I’m itching to get back to more organic artwork, both in subject matter & technique. I have a completely different & fun new series in my head & can’t wait to get started! I’m hoping to have my first piece up in the next week or two– stay tuned!

In the meantime, check out everybody’s AlphaBots from A to Z here!

*I just learned about the Distort/Roughen effect, which I used (twice) on a zig-zag path, to make the zap of electricity on this guy’s head look more convincingly random.

TantrumBot AlphaBots ~ Artificial Emotional Intelligence

TantrumBot

I’m not sure if a tantrum is an emotion, precisely, but it’s definitely an emotional outburst.

I’m happy to say that my life has been pretty much tantrum-free lately, but I certainly remember them vividly from the days when my twins were toddlers. I was pretty lucky even then, really. The boys weren’t excessively frequent fit-throwers, and usually they were kind enough to take turns, but once in a while they’d gang up on me with a tandem tantrum, & that was pretty miserable! But you know, I always felt their fits were at least as hard on them. After all, kids have it rough– they’re always being told what to do, with very little say in the matter, & that would make me cranky too! Besides, their outbursts were mainly triggered by exhaustion, hunger or over-stimulation, so I tried to minimize all as much as possible, & it helped.  Still, those days were wearying, & my heart goes out to those of you who are still living in the tantrum era!

SurpriseBot AlphaBots ~ Artificial Emotional Intelligence

SurpriseBot

Surprise! I did an AlphaBot this week after all!

We had a surprise flood situation this weekend that put me behind in everything– only the basement was affected, but with both sons home there was a lot of stuff stored down there. Luckily nothing truly precious was destroyed, but it still took many, many hours of clean-up. And it happened on my birthday, too, hmph!! The nerve!! This bot pretty much captures my mien upon discovering the situation.