The Leonora Paloheimo



Leonora Paloheimo painted with watercolors throughout her life. The Acequia Madre House® Collection contains over 250 of her landscapes, still lifes, and even a few portraits. The paintings selected for this special preview exhibit are from the 1960s.

She pursued this passion among many others including linguistics and visionary social philanthropy. It was a great privilege for the women of Acequia Madre House to explore their interests freely. Their constant support for arts and culture came from a love of art as creators themselves. This preview exhibit of her watercolor paintings celebrates these pursuits.

We hope you enjoy these watercolors gifted back to Acequia Madre House and WISC by Leonora’s daughter, Eva Paloheimo, and use them as inspiration to make time and space to do the things that you love.

“Weston Manor” near Oxford, England October 1, 1964 Leonora Paloheimo


Sometimes I can distinguish, out of a mass of scenery, a good composition. I do not analyze the composition, but I know that is there, and I take my camera and manoeuvre myself into the right position; I click the shutter and the picture is made – complete with depth, colour and composition.

There is satisfaction in this gesture of capturing a balanced and successful composition. There is satisfaction in doing it with photography – there is satisfaction in doing it with life.”

– Miss Leonora Curtin c. 1940

Untitled Watercolor by Leonora Paloheimo, circa 1960s

Leonora and her family had many cultural interests. Wherever she went⁠—Egypt, Venice, India⁠—instead of buying a postcard, she painted a picture of the local scenery instead. In the tradition of her grandmother Eva, Leonora documented her life and adventures through painting.

The Acequia Madre House® Collection illustrates Leonora’s journey as a life-long student of watercolor painting. She painted landscapes, still-lifes, portraits, and experimented with abstract techniques leaving behind many unfinished works and sketchbooks. On the back of many of her sketchbook pages, you’ll see notes from teachers or other artists like “Keep looking at the subject and noticing the light” and “Chromatic freshness comes from the quality of your strokes!

A) Unfinished watercolor of parrot by Leonora Paloeheimo B) Parrot on ladder, Acequia Madre House™ Digital Collections


Music of the 1960s

The Team at Acequia Madre House has curated a selection of songs from the 1960s that were popular in the US when these paintings were created.

There were many strong female musical artists in this era. From the poetic musings of musician and painter Joni Mitchell to the music of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the 60’s were a prolific time of new opportunities for expression for women in the arts. These artists helped to inspire future generations of women in the music industry, just as Leonora and the work of the Acequia Madre House have helped to support and inspire future generations of women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).

Leonora Frances Curtin Paloheimo with Copper and Wog, circa 1920s


She was an artist, she was a linguist, she was capable of being the most down-to-earth funny person in the world.”

– George Paloheimo referring to Leonora, 1999