Author Archive | Liv

This is it! The last weekend of Portland Open Studios 2011

The elusive framed Fez Squid

The Portland Open Studios tour will be open from 10am-5pm this Saturday and Sunday October 15th & 15th! This weekend will be your last opportunity to visit the 100 participating artists as we work. Visit their website for a taste of the wide variety of studios opening their doors. Stop by my studio, #59 in the tour guide, for a first-hand look at woodcut printmaking in action. This is also a rare opportunity to see my entire body of work including unique artist proofs.

My studio-mate, Carolyne Landon, #58 in the tour guide, will also be showing a selection of her work as well as demonstrating various printmaking techniques including solar plate and giving previews of her upcoming Genesis app.

Unique hand-colored Brown Jenkin framed and ready to lurk on your wall

I’ll be continuing carving the large block seen in my last post, as well as printing the limited edition of Death and the Printmaker throughout the weekend. Death and the Printmaker prints will be available for purchase both framed (very limited quantity) and unframed — you can even get one right off the press if you like, though it will need some special care so it can dry properly.

Our studio, Atelier Meridian, is located at 665 N Tillamook Ave, Portland, OR 97227

Please click the address for a map view and note our section of N Tillamook is easily accessible via Interstate Avenue (but not much else). We’ll have signs out at nearby intersections and barring unusually severe weather, our big garage door will be up. Regardless of the weather, we’ll have hot spiced cider, coffee, light snacks, and a warm welcome for all visitors.

Atelier Meridian is both wheelchair accessible and friendly to all ages — though we do recommend keeping an eye on little ones as it is a working group studio and not toddler-proofed.

Open Studios

Carving in progress at Portland Open Studios Tour 2011

Portland Open Studios day one wrapped up at 5pm today. We had surprisingly nice weather — sunshine, warmth, occasional clouds — in other words, not at all typical October conditions. Word is tomorrow will be nowhere near as nice, but I’m thrilled to have even had one beautiful day during the tour because unless the weather is truly dreadful we keep the garage door open all day!

For those of you who couldn’t make it to Atelier Meridian today, here’s a peek at what I was up to. The photo to the right is of the carving I started today. It’s a 1×2 foot birch plywood block which when finished will function along with the print I’ll pull from it as both a sign and demonstration of the fact that I work backwards to get forwards results.

"Death and the Printmaker" woodblock and print

Next up is the 2nd edition of Death and the Printmaker. You might recall the first edition of this block was produced exclusively for La Calaca Press’ Day of the Dead themeed print exchange. The block turned out so well I couldn’t resist printing a 2nd edition on different paper, and since Open Studios is happening now, I’m printing the edition with an audience! I only printed 8 of 50 today, so stop in tomorrow or next weekend and see for yourself just what goes into fine art edition.

"Death and the Printmaker" signed and numbered 2nd edition

Edition details:

Edition of 50 hand pulled woodcut prints
Signed and numbered
Oil-based ink on acid-free cotton rag paper (all archival materials)
6×8 inch block 11×14 inch overall

Many thanks to everyone who paid a visit to our studio today! If you’re planning on making the trip tomorrow (8/8/11) please be aware of Portland Marathon street closures and plan accordingly.

You are invited to my studio October 8, 9, 15, and 16th!

A limited edition run of "Death and the Printmaker" will be printed throughout both weekends

Coming up fast on the heels of a fantastic SOLD OUT H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival is the annual Portland Open Studios tour! This will be my 2nd year participating in the tour, and it is your opportunity to visit my studio for a first-hand look at the work that goes into creating woodcut prints. Of course this is also a great chance to get a look at my entire range of work including unique artist proofs and pieces I don’t currently offer online.

I’ll be carving a new block and printing a limited edition of Death and the Printmaker throughout both weekends. Carolyne Landon will also be showing a selection of her work as well as demonstrating various printmaking techniques and her portrait work. We’ll also be a Gateway Studio for the tour and as such will be a raffle entry drop-off point.

Our studio, Atelier Meridian is located at 665 N Tillamook Ave, Portland, OR 97227 Please click for a map view and note our section of N Tillamook is easily accessible via Interstate Avenue (but not much else).

Atelier Meridian is both wheelchair accessible and friendly to all ages — though we do recommend keeping an eye on little ones as it is a working group studio and not toddler-proofed.

Portland Open Studios 2011
Watch Artists at Work
October 8, 9, and 15, 16, 10am-5pm

A unique opportunity to experience art as it is being made in the artist’s own space. In their studios, watch any of 100 artists who paint, sculpt, draw, print, throw, carve, sew, and more. Ask about their tools and techniques. Learn more about art from the artists themselves.

Indulge your curiosity and buy a Tour Guide. Walk, bike, drive or bus to studios around the Portland metro area Saturday and Sunday, October 8, 9 and 15, 16, from 10am to 5pm. Read the blog for more information about individual artists and the interesting demos they have planned.

The $15 Tour Guide is a ticket for two adults, *children under 18 are free. Tour Guides can be purchased online at or are available at all New Seasons, Art Media, participating artists and many other retail locations throughout the Portland metro area. The Tour Guide contains a map, a catalog of artist’s images, coupons to many local retailers and a ticket for a raffle for some great prizes. If you would rather navigate the tour from your smart phone, then the Portland Open Studios iPhone app is your best ticket option. Studio navigation via Google Map, add notes for future reference and search artist by name or media all for the same price as a paper Tour Guide!

HPLFF & Portland Open Studios Tour

I still think Cthulhu should be red, but I've colored this one green for the purists.

Autumn has arrived in Portland, and with it comes rain, fallen leaves, and some of my favorite annual events!

This Friday and Saturday, on September 30th and October 1st
, Arkham Bazaar will present a two-day H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival at the Hollywood Theater. Doors open each night at 7PM. You can pre-order one-day and two-day passes, or purchase them at the door.

The feature film for the first night of the Festival is the Lovecraft Historical Society’s presentation of Whisperer in the Darkness. On the second night, they will be showing Die Farbe, an adaptation of The Color Out of Space. I’m personally looking forward to both as they are two of my favorite stories and word in the street is both films are excellent.

I’ll of course be there with all my Lovecraft related prints, including several unique hand-colored prints such as that fine green fellow above.

Portland Open Studios

I will once more be participating in the Portland Open Studios on October 8-9 and 15-16. This annual juried tour includes 100 artists who will be opening their studio doors to you both weekends. It is an incredible opportunity to get a glimpse of the inner workings of a wide variety of working artists’ studios, so come see us work! Tour Guides can be purchased online at or are available at all New Seasons, Art Media, participating artists and many other retail locations throughout the Portland metro area.

Pickman’s Models — if Pickman lived in the 15th Century

Beware of Corpse-eaters in graveyards

At long last, the time has arrived to unleash the Ghouls:

These figures were seldom completely human, but often approached humanity in varying degree. Most of the bodies, while roughly bipedal, had a forward slumping, and a vaguely canine cast. The texture of the majority was a kind of unpleasant rubberiness. Ugh! I can see them now! Their occupations – well, don’t ask me to be too precise. They were usually feeding – I won’t say on what.

Pickman’s Model, H.P. Lovecraft

Cave Necrophagoi in sepulchris is a faithful reproduction of a page taken from a rare 15th century Latin translation of the dreaded Necronomicon. The text reads in Latin and Greek, “Beware of Corpse Eaters in cemeteries.” Depicted are three ghouls exulting as they prepare to unearth a fresh shrouded corpse. Scholars believe this image to be a warning to inexperienced necromancers. Note: the neologism “Necrophagoi” is of unknown origin but can be roughly translated to “Corpse Eaters.”

This limited edition print was conceived, carved, and printed by Liv Rainey-Smith using a host of small sharp gouges, a 9 x 12 inch woodblock, 11 x 14 inch Rives BFK paper, oil-based ink, and an etching press. No deities, forbidden tomes, or dreamers were harmed in the making of this work.

Edition of just 50 hand-pulled prints.

"Ghouls" limited edition woodcut print

This weekend in Seattle and Portland

"Death and the Printmaker" (After Holbein)

The Esoteric Book Conference starts this Saturday! I’m looking forward to a weekend packed with fine books, authors, artists, and performances. Many new titles will be released at the conference and I’m thrilled to be debuting my first works for Three Hands Press. (I’m also looking forward to sharing them here — but I can’t do so quite yet, so I hope my non-EBC-attending collectors will forgive me for the delay.)

I’ll be in Seattle by tomorrow night, but those of you in Portland, OR may be interested in attending the Atelier Meridian Ink & Drink from 6-9pm Friday the 9th at 665 N. Tillamook. I’ve given the Atelier my “Death and the Printmaker” to screen print on t-shirts as part of the fundraiser. Bring your own shirt or purchase one there!

Art in the Pearl this weekend!

Manticore block

Art in the Pearl, one of the finest outdoor arts festivals in the nation, is happening this weekend in Portland, OR! See the website for information on participating artists, organizations and scheduled performances. Print Arts Northwest (PAN) will be demonstrating fine art printmaking for the enjoyment of all who stop by. I’ll be volunteering at the tent Saturday from 10am-2pm, so stop by and say hi!

I’ve been wanting to continue the “Bestiary” series, so I started making a manticore at The Lovecraft last weekend. If I can, I’ll bring it to Art in the Pearl and proof print for the first time.

Death & The Printmaker

Here’s a peek at the edition for La Calaca Press’ “Calacas” themed print exchange. Today I’ll examine the prints for defects, select the final edition, sign and number the chosen 15, then get them in the mail because the delivery deadline is nearly here!

Where does the time go?

This year as been absolutely flying by, and now as I stare at my calendar it tells me there are only two weeks left until the Esoteric Book Conference. One of my favorite annual events, I’m extra excited this year as it will be my first as both a featured artist and an artist associated with Three Hands Press. I’ll be showing for the first time, the prints created for Children of Cain as well as a few other selected works. As wall space is limited, an even larger array of woodcuts will be available bagged and boarded including prints on goatskin and sheepskin parchment.

Danse Macabre woodcut in progress

As I prepare for the trip to Seattle, I’m also finishing up the block to the left. This will be printed as an edition of 15 for La Calaca Press’ “Calacas” themed print exchange. My inspiration is Hans Holbein’s “danse macabre” series depicting Death paying a visit to everyone from farmers to emperors. Scenes such as these were intended to remind the viewer of their own mortality and encourage proper moral behavior. I may have a few disagreements with traditional views as to what “proper” behavior constitutes, but recent reminders of the fragility of life have served to increase my drive to make the most of my life. Thus I wield the tools of my trade in response to that hourglass.

On the subject of making the most of it, I just found out I’m listed as an artist at The Lovecraft’s art fair tomorrow afternoon. I hadn’t been planning on participating this month, but my plans for tomorrow fell through earlier today, so I’ll be there with my full line of Lovecraft works from 3-6pm. Stop in and have a cold one!

Also on the 2nd and 3rd weekends of October you’ll be able to visit my studio during the Portland Open Studios Tour. I’ll be sharing the space with Carolyne Landon and we’ll both be demonstrating our techniques as well as answering questions and showing our work. All ages will be welcome and our studio is wheelchair accessible. Please visit the Portland Open Studios Tour website for more information about this annual event.

Current and Upcoming Shows

Necropolis at The Congregation Gallery in Hollywood, CA has been extended through September 9th! This is still the only place you can see and purchase my new Lovecraft print, “Cave Necrophagoi in sepulchris.”

Capybara -- hand colored artist proof

Siren Nation’s Paint Your Art Out event is coming up fast. Paint Your Art Out is Siren Nation’s annual celebration of visual art, including live painting demos, silent art auction and a showcase of art by over 50 Northwest artists which all wall art is under $100. Other activities include free swag bags for the first 50 attendees, DJ, and cash bar.

I’ve included two hand-colored artist proof prints in the show, as well as a handsome framed Pertinax.

Location: Secret Society, 116 NE Russell Street, Portland, Oregon, 97202
When: August 18th, 6-9 pm
6-8:30 pm — Silent Auction and Art Demos.
Free Admission – Event is all ages

Pertinax framed

Also rapidly approaching is the 3rd annual Seattle Esoteric Book Conference, two days of rare books, art, performance, lectures, and fascinating people from all around the world. As both an artist and a bibliophile I look forward to this event all year. This year I’m one of the Featured Artists and will be debuting my contributions to Three Hands Press upcoming title, Children of Cain.

For those who cannot attend the EBC and are worried about editions selling out, I am offering a limited pre-order for the four Children of Cain related prints through September 1st. E-mail me at to request the preview sheet.

Last but not least, I may have a vendor table at the Portland H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival September 30th/October 1st and I will be opening my studio to visitors for the Portland Open Studios Tour the 2nd and 3rd weekends of October! Further details as these events approach.

Watercolors & Woodcuts

Ye olde fish faces

It is no secret that I find inspiration for both style and content in historical sources. Not that I don’t appreciate modern creations, I absolutely do, but my appreciation for today is deeply rooted in my understanding of the past. (Read up on the history of plumbing and sanitation sometime — you’ll be thankful next time you flush.) I work with woodcut because I enjoy both the challenge and its deep roots as a medium to illustrate books. My mom loves to talk about how the librarians used to let me check out more books than the limit allowed because they knew I’d bring them back early and often in better shape than they left the library. Books are brain food and my overactive imagination lead me to consume a lot of fantastic and weird history as I grew. Through those books (and magazines) I was also exposed to a great deal of art, both photographic and illustrative.

An image from the book of Wonders and Portents

I’m still finding art and inspiration on the printed page. Recently I’ve been focused on the visual vocabulary of medieval woodcuts, and spending time searching for images has renewed my love for the quirks of imagery and production techniques. Facial expressions in particular often tend towards the grotesque or inappropriate given the situation depicted. (Check out the faces on those fish!) Typically printed in black, illustrated books were sometimes also hand-colored with varying degrees of skill. The image to the left is taken from a copy of Lycosthenes’ Prodigiorum ac ostentorum chronicon and exhibits a rough coloration that may have been applied with the aid of a stencil for added production speed. In this day and age of book creation not requiring the touch of a human hand (or for that matter an actual physical book), I respect the time and effort that went into producing the 600+ page volume this image came from . The application of color to this particular print may be crude, but it has its charm.

Colored with a mixture of stone pigments

I couldn’t resist trying it out for myself. Printing editions always produces a few extras, and while outright errors are destroyed, I do have a backlog of proofs on hand for experimentation. A few attempts were just outright awful (I’m more experienced with carving tools than brushes), but I rather like the successes. My materials aren’t necessarily accurate to the period, but this Cthulhu was colored exclusively with mineral pigment colors such as apatite, zoisite, and rhodonite. I’m still very much in love with the purity of black line on paper and don’t see myself switching to constant color in my work, but I do think this has been a worthwhile exploration and intend to continue experimenting on excess prints.