Wednesday, December 10, 2008


My second custom Dunny is similar to my first, yet they are far from identical. Clearly this fellow has a great deal of rooster blood. His tail, however, suggests papaverous genetic material. Wonder how that happened?

Acrylic on 3" Kidrobot Dunny, with a real poppy pod, & text from an old dictionary (defining poppycock: "bosh; nonsense").

Friday, December 5, 2008


My scanner's decided to give me one more chance. Thanks, old buddy! All is forgiven!

It was probably not the nicest welcome back to hit the poor thing with such a tough job right away, scanning the new bookworm painting I did for Cameron Village Library. It took 7 scans to piece it all together... & the composite still isn't quite right, but close enough.

For an exhibit of my work at Cameron Village Library, Raleigh NC. An experiment in a semi normal format (huge for me, a mAniaturist at heart). It was sort of fun but I still prefer teensiness!

Acrylic on text (from an 1878 encyclopedia) on canvas, 12 x 24"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Show & Tell

Hey folks, if you happen to be near Raleigh, please stop by Cameron Village Library, where my work is on display this month. I adore this library: it has provided me with acres of free reading material, not to mention the recorded books that keep my brain alive while I work on tedious bits. Without the library, I would surely be both broke & insane. Or maybe I should say broker & insaner.

I brought in lots of stuff for the show including several paintings you've seen here, some curiollages, plus a new (12x24"--big for me!) painting created for the show, a bookworm called "Voracious." The bad news is that my scanner has decided to stop working, so I can't include an image yet. The good news: Patti, the library art curator, promises that if I get it going again (please, please, please?) I can borrow the piece back & scan it so you can see it here.

I was tagged twice last week, but due to show-prep-frenzy, Thanksgiving family stuff, & a wicked chest cold, I've been slow to get into the game. Apologies to Cynthia DiBlasi & Isabelle Gauthier for being such a sluggish player. No wonder nobody wanted me on their team in elementary school.

Here are the rules (from Isabelle):1. Link to your tagger and post the rules2. Post 7 random facts about yourself3. Tag 7 friends at the end of your post and link to them4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

The rules (from Cindy):

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Mention these rules.
3. Tell six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.
5. Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Seven random habits of highly ineffective Leah:

1. I wear lots of hats. I mean that literally. My favorites are vintage cloches from the 20's & 30's, but I wear new ones too. In fact I hardly ever leave the house without a hat. I started wearing them because I have fair skin that doesn't appreciate sun, but I came to like the vintage look, & also the way I can hide behind them if I have a sudden attack of shyness.

2. I write nearly everything with a dip pen (Hunt's 108) . Letters, checks, invoices, my journal, even grocery lists. So far I don't carry it everywhere in my purse, but I fear I may cross that dangerous, inky line at any time.

3. I love dreaming that I can fly. Also I occasionally have lucid dreams. Either one can make me ridiculously happy for days afterwards. Now that I think of it, I should sleep a lot more.

4. I am hopelessly addicted to cryptic crosswords. I can stay away from them for a time, but I always fall off the wagon eventually.

5. I hate driving & bananas.

6. I love walking & all other fruits.

7. I'm a member of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, because I'm fixated on Alice. I was imprinted at the age of six when my folks bought an unabridged recording to amuse me when I was sick & had to spend hours a day on my back with my eyes covered. I was drifting in & out of fevers as I listened to it over & over. I have no doubt that the experience permanently warped my mind, & for that I'll always be grateful.

Since I was tagged twice, surely I should get to post extra links! Even so I've left out many favorites... someday I'll do another chapter.

1. Allison Sommers, an erstwhile history major in Virginia, whose painted (& recently, sculpted) alternate universe is peopled by curious, often disturbing longneck creatures, dressed in quaint fashion, rendered in gouache with amazing precision & rich with historical, anthropological & anatomical wonders

2. Ellis Nadler of London, a madly prolific artist, master of many styles & media, whose work is unpredictable, imaginative, erudite, often delightfully nonsensical, sometimes profoundly moving

3. Steve of go flying turtle, by day a mild-mannered art teacher in Virginia, whose superpowers enable him to fill countless moleskines with closely-observed nature studies, imaginary characters, & experiments with various styles & media, not to mention creating paintings, comics, & countless other projects in his spare time

4. Koldo Barroso, a Madrid native now living in Bellingham,Washington, whose imaginative & mysterious tales & illustrations always suggest hidden depths

5.Neil Ornstein of Snorkblog, a Canadian whose richly layered, atmospheric art (sparked by seemingly random phrases plucked from google) is always interesting & often moving

6. Dani Torrent of Barcelona, whose paintings feature wonderful swirling composition, rich color, & great imagination & feeling

7. Emily, of art of the masses, a Swedish writer-illustrator, whose pen-&-ink world features amazing architectural & natural settings, occupied by bunnies, hedgehogs, birds & turtles, & nearly always accompanied by a delightful story

8. Lisa Evans, a British artist whose dreamlike illustrations possess a delicious lightness

9. Tanaudel, aka Kathleen of Errantry, an Australian writer/illustator, whose blog includes book reviews, travel sketches, & all manner of intriguing stuff in addition to her drawings, often in scratchboard or pen & ink

10. Rima, of the Hermitage, an enchanting cross between 21st & 12th centuries, living her fairytale life in Scotland, making lovely & imaginative clocks, drawings & oil paintings, traveling in a hand-crafted gypsy caravan & documenting it all online (including the rough spots) with great wit & tenderness

11. Q Cassetti of the Rongovian Academy of Fine Arts, who creates strong, yet intricate artwork, & generously shares her experience & inspiration as she learns from illustration masters

12. Charley Parker of lines and colors, who tirelessly seeks out, researches & writes insightful articles on artists and illustrators of all eras, styles & media-- an amazing resource for both artists & art-lovers

13. BibliOdyssey, that miracle of inspiration brought to the world by Peacay, providing enough antiquarian gorgeousness to set any rare-book-lover's head spinning with every post

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Venture Into Vinyl

I've been looking at custom vinyl toys for a while now, thinking "That looks like so much fun!" This week I needed some paint therapy & decided it was time to try a toy.

So I'd like to introduce my very first custom Dunny, "Shroomy." This little guy is 2 3/4" tall, painted with acrylics, & holding a real poppy pod, also painted with acrylics. The text collaged on the back is from a dictionary.

This was just what I needed-- a new challenge, but pure play. It was tricky painting the tight curves, & even trickier collaging on a curve. This is the first time I've tried to do that, & I'm not completely happy with the results. I'll have to explore other techniques, next time. But there will definitely be a next time-- this was too much fun!

Okay, I'm just pretending that I did this for the IF prompt, but since it's a Dunny pretending to be a mushroom, it seems appropriate enough!


Friday, October 31, 2008

Interviewed by Steve Loya (aka Steev-o)!

I'm deeply honored to have been interviewed by the illustrious Steve Loya in his October Artist Spotlight on go flying turtle. Thanks so much, Steve! (Yes, I was late returning my answers, & even later posting this, but at least it's still October, by the skin of a vampire's teeth!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


This is a "curiollage" I did a few years ago for Cricket Magazine. It illustrated a very funny poem about a clock that wouldn't work. The blank yellowish parts are where the type went.

The piece was assembled from watch parts, jewelry findings, wire, a key, paper collage, polymer clay, beads, & acrylic on the back side of a stretched canvas. The whole thing was 9x12", but the part you see here (which was the printed version) is 8x10".

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sweet & Sour

"Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour." --Shakespeare.

A quick one for IF's "Sugary" theme. First time in ages I've done one specifically for IF... and possibly the first time ever that Pepto Bismol Pink has figured so prominently in my palette!

Acrylic on text (from Foods and Household Management, 1915) on canvas, 4x5"

Friday, October 3, 2008

Skulls & Monsters!

Halloween must be near... in the past week my work has appeared on Skull-a-Day and Monster Brains! You've seen both the pieces here before ("Lungfish" & "Last Ride"), but I couldn't resist posting because I'm tickled to be in such beautifully creepy company!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


At last I've had time to paint a bit. I'd been having withdrawal symptoms! Lots of work on the computer, which is just not the same as lovely, lovely Golden Open Acrylics (my new obsession). Please click for a closer view-- the landscape details are my favorite part.

Acrylic on text (1878 encyclopedia entry "Bird's Eye View") & map on canvas, 8x10"

News Flash! This piece will be in the Visual Art Exchange show "Bird's Eye View" 3-30 October, Raleigh NC. Opening reception 3 October, 6-9pm.

Wow... I just found out this piece won third prize! I'm feeling very lucky lately. Sometimes the magic works!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Separation Anxiety

If it's hard for human parents & children to detach, imagine how tough it must be for marsupials.

Sorry about the gore... I tried to keep it subtle, but it had to be there.

Acrylic on text (from a 1901 Young People's Natural History) on canvas, 5x4". Click for a closer view.

This was my first painting using Golden's Open Acrylics. Wow, they are fun! Go get some! What's really cool is that they mix with their standard acrylics, so you don't need to start with a huge palette.

Edit: Rima's comment made me realize I didn't explain what was different about the Open Acrylics. The difference is that they are much slower to dry, so they can be worked much longer. Yet they are somewhat faster drying than oils, thin & clean with water, & can be mixed with regular acrylics or Open media to tweak drying time in either direction. Paint on the palette stays workable for an amazingly long time, so it's much easier to keep a mixed color consistent over several working days. I've tried water soluble oils & I like these better. In fact I like them so much that I'm thinking right now that I've found my dream paints. I'm working on a portrait of my Dad right now & they are bliss for portraits.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Having accepted your coin, Grey-bearded Charon is ready to take you across the Styx to the Underworld... not in a sailboat, I admit.

Acrylic on dictionary definition of passage on a vintage book cover: Is This Life all there is? 4x6" Click for a closer look.

Unfortunately you can't see this in the scan, but the title flashes in & out of view depending on the angle of the light. (It was stamped in silver but painted over with thin washes of green, blue & black.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Last Ride Rides Again!

My attention surplus disorder has kicked in & I can't stop messing with this. It's not exactly finished but this will have to do for now. Since the image is so tall & skinny, it shows up extra small here, so please click to see the details-- that's really what it's all about. That & the flames... inspired by Chris Buzelli & medieval apocalyptic illuminations.

Acrylic on old dictionary text (definition of "surge") on canvas, 6x12".

Oh, I almost forgot to give my tenuous connection to the topic-- this cowboy's soon to be out of a job!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Believe it or not, this piece was inspired by the IF topic "Foggy"-- but it sort of drifted away from me into an undersea anti-smoking thing. I don't keep very tight reins on my sketchbook, obviously! Once again it's not quite finished but since it's the 11th hour I'm posting it anyway.

Acrylic on text from an old patent medicine handbook (c.1907) on canvas, 6x6".

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


This is painted over a page from a home-ec textbook published in 1915. Take heed, friends, & avoid pickles when acid is craved. Acrylic on text on canvas, 4x4".

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Microcosmos: Flea Circus

We have recently been invaded by a host of extremely bold, fierce & bloodthirsty fleas. They scoff at Frontline & seem to relish both cat & human flesh. I really, really wish they would go away.

This image was inspired by the proverb, "Big fleas have little fleas/ Upon their backs to bite 'em,/ And little fleas have lesser fleas,/ And so ad infinitum. "

I was imagining the dorsal inhabitants of one of our evil companions, & thought it would be funny if a strange little circus populated his back... & a leg or two...

So here you have it. Acrylic on map & text on canvas, 6x6" Click for a detail view-- I needed the magnifier for this one!

NEWS FLASH! This painting will be in the Raleigh, NC. Visual Art Exchange "What's In A Name/Microcosmos" show beginning this Friday. There's an opening event on the 11th, 6-9. If you're in the area, stop by!

FLASHIER NEWS FLASH! The folks at Visual Art Exchange called to tell me that my painting won a prize!

SUPER FLASH! I found out on opening night that it won first place! I guess I should be grateful to those fleas...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Freelancer at Exchange Gallery!

The original art for "Freelancer" will be on display in the "Emulous" show at Exchange Gallery in Raleigh, NC, June 6-27. This show features art based on famous works.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


This painting is a takeoff on Bosch's Wayfarer, a protest against the Orphan Works bill, & a general free-lancer's lament. Yes, I'm feeling a bit whiny, but I hope there's enough humor to leaven the sob story.

Acrylic on map on canvas, 10x10".

Click for a close-up.

I'm happy to report that this image will appear in Spectrum 16!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Shadowed by Deadlines

This topic was interesting. The more I thought about it, the more I realized my pet peeves were mostly things I brought on myself.

Deadlines for example. I have this need/hate thing about them. When I paint I'm very obsessive about details & could happily keep tweaking forever. So I'm usually resentful about having to stop & declare a piece done. But I also really hate being late.

This inner conflict results in a lot of long nights, stress, & eyestrain. Yet if it weren't for deadlines I'd probably still be working on this piece I started 8 years ago!

It was done as an entry to an RSVP competition with the theme of shadows. (I made the deadline & it made the show!) It's acrylic on primed paper, 6x9". Click for a closer view of obsessive detail in the border.

Apologies for another old one... I'm hoping to get an original drawing done for this week, but it's looking somewhat dicey. Deadline stress again!

Monday, March 17, 2008


Curiously, I was working on this piece when the "Heavy" prompt came up on IF. It's acrylic on collaged text on an old book cover, about 6x9". I think Easter was on my mind, but how it came out quite this way I'm not sure I want to know. Click for a better view of the texts, from an old encyclopedia (Incubation) & and old dictionary (Incubus).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Octopus's Garden

I didn't have time for a painting this week but the prompt was just irresistible, so I did a drawing instead. It's Dr. Martin's bleedproof white (with a flexible crowquill) on black Canson paper, 7x7". Click for more detail... can't see much at this size.

I added the text from an old children's natural history book in Photoshop.

Our town is suffering its worst drought in recorded history, & I'm not allowed to water my garden, so I'm jealous of this fellow. Obviously there are no restrictions in his district!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mr. Duality

In the words of the immortal Bobs: "I don't want to have multiple personalities. Two is enough!"
This image was inspired by the song & by a Mexican mask that hangs on my dining room wall. It's acrylic on text from an old slide rule manual, collaged to canvas, about 5x5.5".

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Fresh from the drawing board this time!

The cabbage patch theory has lost favor due to recent discoveries.

Acrylic on old botanical texts, collaged on canvas, 6x6". I'll probably tweak this a bit more at some point, but here it is for now!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fig, Newton

This is another old one-- really old-- in fact this was one of my first finished pieces done entirely in Photoshop. It was done as a bookmark promo to show clients that Leah the ex-Luddite was venturing into new territory.

I promise I will post something new later! I just love science-related topics.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Specimen (Darwin) again...

Yes, I've posted this before (in a slightly unfinished state), but it fit the topic so well I couldn't resist. Acrylic on collaged texts (from 19th c. sources) on canvas, with digital tweaking, 6x6"

I'm still hoping to do a new piece for this topic-- being a scientist's daughter I'm full of ideas for this one.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I'm having a lot of trouble making decisions lately so this topic was a little painful! Sometimes I just feel I'm in the midst of an impenetrable thicket. Hence the illo. (No, that isn't a self-portrait... for one thing I haven't broken through yet!)

My math obsession intrudes again... maybe because math is one of the few subjects where the answers are absolute. (At least as far in as calculus, after which my math abilities came to a screeching halt.) I always liked that about math. Most things in life are far more nebulous... I guess I'm hoping there is AN ANSWER out there somewhere.

So anyway, this is once again acrylic on collaged texts on canvas, 6x6". The texts were from various old math & science books I've collected...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Fallen way behind, for one thing! But thanks to some gentle prodding from friends I'm finally back to blogging, & IF.

Here we have a blanket of leaves. Or should I say leaf.

This image was originally inspired by "Rake" by Optiganally Yours. ("...I tend to weep when the color's all gone grey...")

It's 6x6", acrylic on canvas with collaged text from an old Russian algebra textbook. I'm not entirely sure why...

If for some reason you want a closer look at Russian equations, click on the image.