Tag Archives: Painting

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!

Nasty Nation Painting in progress

acrylic painting in progress by Leah Palmer Preiss. Pink cat dressed as lady liberty.. Pussy grabs back, women's march

This pink kitty may be dressed in classical garb, but she’s a punk at heart! It’s been quite a while since I posted anything here! But I’ve been busy. Mostly I’ve been posting work in progress, sketches, selections from my obsessive collections, & other such things on Instagram (you can follow me over there if you’d like to see more).

Lately I’ve been doing more political stuff than usual. It’s a form of therapy, more than anything else.

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

Peregrinate: Acrylic painting by Leah Palmer Preiss of peregrine falcon hiking a mountain trail with an antique suitcase. "Not all those who wander are lost."With a peculiar predilection to pack up & perambulate, this peregrine has picked an impractical path perhaps, but peregrination needn’t be practical to be pleasurable.

As someone who often chooses curious & circuitous pathways over direct routes (both literally & figuratively) I can attest that getting there really is half the fun! Painting the meadow in this piece for instance… possibly a slightly mad pursuit considering its tiny size & peripheral importance, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. And if you look closely at the finished piece, you may find an appropriate message from Tolkien amidst the foliage! (There’s also a bit of a nod to one of his aptly-named characters on the suitcase… can you spot it?)

Detail of acrylic painting in progress by Leah Palmer Preiss

Thanks once again to Anu of A.Word.A.Day for the inspiration!

Original & prints available in my Etsy shop.

 

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!

 

Rudicorn Acrylic miniature painting on text collage on wood, 3" x 2"

Rudicorn, acrylic miniature painting of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer as unicorn by Leah Palmer Preiss

This little oddment began as a sketch for Illustration Friday’s “Unicorn” prompt, turned into an ornament given as a gift, & now it’s a greeting for you all: wishing you a holiday season full of rare & unexpected delights!

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!