Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fresh Squeezed

I've never been a good salesperson. I remember working in a dress shop for about two weeks as a teenager & cringing through every second of it. Luckily a job opened up in the public library & I was off like a shot! I'm sure my departure was as much of a relief for the shop owner as it was for me. Though maybe if I'd stayed, my dismal sales skills would have improved eventually...

But they didn't. And I'm even worse when it comes to selling my own art. Mind you, I definitely love it when people buy my work! I just hate the selling part.

So it has taken me years to gird my loins to set up an Etsy shop, but I've finally done it! The shop is called Curious Art Lab. I'll be listing pieces somewhat randomly & gradually so if there are Oddments you'd like to see there please let me know.

Okay, sales pitch over, whew!

Acrylic on text from New American Business Cyclopedia, 1924., ~3"x3"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

G is for Gashadokuro

This week's entry for AlphaBeasts!

If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise... Gashadokuro, the giant skeleton! This huge & deadly creature likes to bite off human heads. Its appearance is heralded by a ringing in the ears. I think I've had some close encounters after performances by loud bands! ;-)

Acrylic on illustration scanned from Frank Leslie's Chatterbox, 1880-1881, ~6.5"x7.5" You may need to click the image to see the tiny human in the picture-- he was much more prominent to my eyes before the skeleton crept in, though luckily he still has his head.

Edit: Isaac asked to see the original illo before Oddification, so here it is! Click for a closer view, & I think you'll see what I mean about the human figure.

Also, I can finally now reveal that the "Mysterious" series was to illustrate A Word A Day for this week! As a word nerd, I dearly love that site, & I've been a subscriber for ages, so I was over the moon to be a part of it.

Speaking of over the moon, I just have to give a shout-out to another Curiosity: the one that's headed to Mars!!

Friday, November 25, 2011


I love Thanksgiving, I really do, but the aftermath, not so much!

I'd actually planned to do this in cranberry "ink" but my first attempt was disappointingly faint, & I really didn't feel like cooking anything else, so I fell back on good old acrylics.

The text is from Little Lessons in Corrective Eating, Vol.II  by Eugene Christian, 1914. I'd planned to tear off the bottom part of the page to make it roughly square, but I just liked that line about skipping luncheon too much to do it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Spoonful of Thanks!

It's time to start stirring things up for the biggest food-focused holiday of all, here in the US anyway. So I thought it would be fun to paint a spoon. This was the first time I've tried smashing a spoon flat. (I was afraid it wouldn't scan well otherwise.) I used a rubber mallet, laid the spoon on a towel on the basement floor (cement), & waled away-- it was harder than I expected & the results were a bit lumpy, but that just helped me come up with the contours for the silly face.

Acrylic on an old silver-plate spoon, ~7" tall.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'm immensely thankful for all of you who visit me here, & especially those who follow & leave comments!

p.s. I'm about to open an Etsy shop, finally!! If you have any favorite oddments, please let me know & I'll try to list them soon. Thanks again, y'all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

F is for Futakuchi-onna

This week's entry for Alphabeasts! is Futakuchi-onna, the two-mouthed woman. A woman who has been starved,  often by a miserly husband, develops a second mouth in the back of her head, two snaky ropes of hair that reach out to grab whatever food is nearby, & a hugely voracious appetite, though no food passes through her normal lips.

Acrylic on ad scanned from a 1937 True Experiences magazine, ~5"x6"

Isn't it interesting how much ideals of beauty have changed since then? And how little advertising has? This magazine was full of weight-gain snake oil ads... exactly the same tone of shaming & quick-fix hope as in today's diet ads, only in the opposite direction!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This Island Earth

More tweaks & additions to the "Mysterious Series"... the first state of this one is here... not sure if there will be more.

{Edit: It can now be revealed that this piece was for a series of illustrated definitions/initials on the wonderful word-lover's website A Word A Day! This one illustrates the word "terrene."}

The original art & prints are available in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Days (& Days) of Wine & Roses

Yes, this is a piece I've posted before, but I really felt like it needed a little something more, so I added this garland of roses, which I hope will reinforce both the "pleasant fragrance" & "redolent of the past" elements of the definition.

Incidentally, this was redolent of my own past, since I seemed to get a great many overly-sweet, decorative, flowery jobs when I first started freelancing. Much as I love flowers, that rut got very boring very soon, so I did something of a rubber-burning U-turn away from rose-land, & I am painfully rusty with rose painting now! (As I'm afraid is obvious here.)

Not long ago I was contacted (via web) by one of those early clients who asked if I was the same Leah Palmer Preiss who used to do pretty things!  I had a good laugh over that one. I can wax nostalgic over many other things, but oh, I'm so glad I made that move.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Strong, Silent Type

I've had a devilish time painting this fellow, & I'm still not happy with him-- maybe because life is super-hectic at the moment & it's even harder than usual for me to channel yogi-like balance & quiet mind...

Easy there, steady now, Leah!

I'll probably give him a few more tweaks before I release him into the wild, but for now, I think I'll go do a little yoga myself. Though maybe not this exact pose... ;-)

Acrylic on text on canvas, 6"x6"

If you're curious about my process you can see a very early state of this piece here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

E is for Enenra

This week's entry for AlphaBeasts!

Enenra is a smoke-monster, normally found hanging around bonfires, but today emerging from a pack of pipe tobaccy. Can you believe this ad, from a 1939 True Detective!? Nothing like a whiff of good tobacco smoke to cure what ails you!

p.s. Yes, I live in Raleigh, NC, tobacco country. But my grandfather smoked a pipe until the day he could no longer breathe. He died of emphysema. So did my grandmother, who only inhaled his (nonstop) second-hand smoke.  I am not a tobacco advocate!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Yogi, Barely

Apologies... this is the least finished oddment yet! Just way too much going on... but I will try to update it with further process over the weekend.

Acrylic on text, ~6"x6"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Occupy The Cat(bird) Seat?

Dear friends, I don't want to dangle an unattainable goal before you, as this fat cat is doing, so I must clarify that there isn't an obvious unifying theme or secret message to this mysterious mini-series. The only thing the images really have in common is what inspired them & where they will be going when they're done. And honestly, that would be pretty hard to guess! The backgrounds do provide a (very slight) clue...

Acrylic on text on canvas, 6"x6"

Also a belated but heartfelt THANKS to Noah, Tatman & the gang @ skulladay for featuring The Girl with the Oddment Tattoo on 1 November! I just now found out it was up there. Yay!

Monday, November 7, 2011

D is for Daidara-bocchi

This week's entry for AlphaBeasts!

This fearsome yet playful giant was apparently very fond of messing about with mountains, hence the setting for this portrait, taken from Redway's Natural Elementary Geography, 1897.

I must say, as fond as I am of old textbooks, their blithe stereotyping & patronizing tone often make me squirm. I wonder what Daidara-bocchi would think of the excerpt here....

Acrylic on found illustration, ~4½"x5½". By the way, the big old scratch where D-b's fingernail lands was on the original-- I suspect the engraver's plate had been damaged.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stealth strike?

Last summer our hammock was stolen from our backyard. I wonder if this guy was the culprit? He looks so innocent, though... & he's actually rather small.

Acrylic on old matchbox label, ~1½"x2"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Emergent Earthlings

Late again, & still unfinished, but since Isaac was asking for process shots I don't feel quite so bad about it! I'll post finishes on Saturday if I can get all my deadline work done tomorrow. %}

Acrylic on text on canvas, 6"x6"

Third in the mysterious series... all will be revealed anon!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I almost forgot that today was an odd day too. Had to squeeze this in at the last minute... I think poor James is about to get squeezed too!

Acrylic on stamp, ~1½" square
Her Odd Materials No. 18