Another peek at “The Hunt” block

The hand of the artist makes an appearance

Most of the large paper white sections have been removed from the block at this point. There’s now one last text block to carve as well as the hands and some other little details. I’m looking forward to inking and printing the first color layer Tuesday or (more likely) Wednesday.

June projects

Small text is the bane of my existence

I’m working towards two major deadlines this month. First, my contribution to “The Hunt”. This piece is based upon an antique medical apparatus in the OHSU medical archives which I examined at length earlier this year. Researching its usage has lead to many revelations regarding past medical treatment — and increased my gratitude for modern medicine! Hygiene in particular stands out as low-tech yet major innovation. (Just look at the history of Puerperal Fever some of the most rampant outbreaks were caused by doctors attending births immediately after performing autopsies.) We now take it for granted that doctors will wash their hands and tools will be sterile. Of course, not all we do in treating illness is perfect; I’m certain in 100 years people will be looking back at modern practices as quaint and primitive.

The photo in the upper left is just a small portion of the block in progress. The end result will be a three color reduction print.

Also in the works is a new piece to debut at The Congregation Gallery’s “Necropolis” show opening July 16th.

Sea Serpent proof

Sea Serpent woodblock & proof

Here’s that little sea serpent block and one of the proofs. To give you an idea of scale, he paper measures about 4×6″. It really is a very small block! I have a couple of larger projects due for completion in June, but I think it is taking the time to print an edition of this block as well. I personally enjoy collecting small prints and feel I’d be remiss in my duties as a printmaker if I didn’t produce some of my own.

Art at The Lovecraft Bar tomorrow

Dagon who brings abundance from the sea

The 3rd “Love Craft Fair” at the Lovecraft Bar is happening this Sunday, May 29th from noon to 5pm. I’ll once more be there with all my most monstrous woodcut prints. Sigh Co. Graphics will also be in attendance as will the delightful Chelsea Rose and many other fine purveyors of the strange. Stop by and say, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn,” if you dare.

The Lovecraft Bar is located at:
421 SE Grand
Portland OR, 97214

A breath of fresh air

Sea Serpent mini-block

After spending the last couple of months working on projects I cannot yet reveal, and looking at another month of secretive work ahead of me, I needed a break. So here it is, the result of taking an hour and a little scrap sized piece of wood to just have fun.

Speaking of fun, I’ve been talking to Jane Pagliarulo about having a weekly relief printmaking night at Atelier Meridian. We’re still hammering out the details, but the basic idea is to give beginners and novices the opportunity to carve and print woodblocks with an experienced printmaker (me) available to assist and advise. Attendees would also be welcome to bring and work with linoleum, though I can’t promise any special expertise in the material. More details as they solidify.

Necropolis at The Congregation Gallery

Miss Pandemonium 1489 (Demon Beauty Queen)

I am pleased to announce my participation in the Necropolis show at The Congregation Gallery opening July 16th. The gallery is home to some spectacular dark contemporary works, Necropolis promises to be a spectacular show. I am making plans to travel down to attend the opening reception and look forward to exploring at least a bit of Los Angeles while we’re there. More details to follow as the date approaches.

May Updates

Now that I have

Coagulate

Coagulate

some time between shows, I’m focusing on a few pieces including my contribution to “The Hunt” as well as some new works for Three Hands Press. Of course, due to the nature of these projects I cannot share any photos of the works in progress. I am very much looking forward to sharing them later this year.

I’m also pleased to be part of The Lovecraft’s “dark arts” fair again this month. I’ll have my full array of Lovecraft prints as well as other appropriate works on hand from noon to 6pm on Sunday, May 29th!

Norwescon Schedule

Norwescon 34 begins this Thursday, April 21st! You’ll be able to find my work in the Art Show and Print Shop during their open hours, and you’ll be able to find me in the following places at the following times (barring any schedule or room changes):

Thursday 5pm Cascade 8 Finding Inspiration

The creative process can often be a tricky one and it is easy to fall into ruts or hit a blank wall. Our panelists will discuss how to develop ideas, create compelling subject matter, and what to do when you find yourself stuck, not knowing what to do for your next piece of art. (Liv Rainey-Smith, Todd Lockwood, Tiffany Toland, Rob Carlos )

Thursday 9pm Cascade 13 Artist’s Jam

Everyone participates in this extravaganza! Bring your questions for the professionals and materials with which to create art on the spot. Hang out with other artists, show your sketchbooks and work on art together.
(Liv Rainey-Smith, Alan M. Clark, John R. Gray III, John P. Alexander, Rob Carlos, Mike Vaillancourt)

Friday 10am-12:45pm Artist’s Alley
During my Artist’s Alley times I’ll be demonstrating woodcut carving, hand printing, and answering your questions.

Friday 1pm Cascade 10 History of Fantastic Art
Come travel through time with us as we explore fantasy art from the perspective of the symbolist, visionary, and surrealist movements, looking at the history of the imaginary and the fantastic in visual art over the years and how it has influenced contemporary styles and content. (Mark Roland, Liv Rainey-Smith, Douglas Herring, John P. Alexander)

Friday 2pm Cascade 13 Block Printing Demo and Workshop
Come and watch as artists working on lino and wood blocks create their art. See examples of their work, ask questions, or make one for yourself! There will be a limited numbers of tools and blocks available for people to work with, so the workshop will be first come, first serve. (Liv Rainey-Smith, Larry Lewis, Mimi Noyes)

Saturday 9am-11am Artist’s Alley

During my Artist’s Alley times I’ll be demonstrating woodcut carving, hand printing, and answering your questions.

Saturday Noon Grand 1 Art Show Tour with Liv Rainey-Smith
Liv Rainey-Smith talks in depth about her work in the show and shares her thoughts about selected other works as well. Come enjoy an artist’s perspective on the art show! Tour is limited to 10 participants. Please sign up in advance at the art show, and meet by the Print Shop at Noon.

Saturday 3pm Cascade 8 The Evolving Image of the Dragon in Art and Literature
Dragons have been the subject of art and stories throughout history in nearly all cultures around the world. The image of the dragon shows up in art and literature in both Eastern and Western cultures.What is it about dragons that has so captured the collective imaginations of all cultures throughout the ages? What are the best of the new crop of stories and art? (Todd Lockwood, Liv Rainey-Smith, John R. Gray III)

Sunday 10am-Noon Artist’s Alley
During my Artist’s Alley times I’ll be demonstrating woodcut carving, hand printing, and answering your questions.

Sunday 2pm Cascade 9 Artist Koffee Klatch
Come spend an hour with some of our fine artists in an informal setting.
Kinuko Y. Craft, Betsy Mott, Liv Rainey-Smith, John R. Gray III, Michaela Eaves, Tiffany Toland, Rob Carlos, Wayfarer’s Moon, Bryan Syme, Mike Vaillancourt

Greetings from Krampus

Every year as the winter holidays approach I think, “I should do a seasonal print.” Trouble is, I’m not content to whip up a standard-issue charming winter scene — you can find one of those anywhere, so I often end up doing nothing at all, or something very limited. In 2009, I managed my first holiday print while recovering from an early December surgery.

Liv's idea of a x-mas card

Just what does an octopus need mittens for?

Surprise surprise, it wasn’t a reindeer, snowman, or other classic icon of the season. Rather jolly image though, and I like to think I’d have come up with it regardless of the painkillers I was on at the time. I managed to whip up about 30 prints and send them out to family and friends. I had intended to create a follow-up in 2010, but without a surgery to keep me at home, I ended up too busy. I did, however, manage to make time to finally make something of my interest in the Krampus tradition.

Krampus woodcut in progress

Carving Krampus

For those not in the know, Krampus accompanies St. Nicholas on his rounds. Unlike St. Nick, he’s not interested in good children. He’s there to frighten, punish, and possibly even abduct the worst behaved children. This imposing figure is an Alpine tradition still practiced in the first weeks of December with costumed performers and raucous celebrations. Krampus postcards were particularly popular in the early 20th century, and were often emblazoned with the phrase, “Gruss vom Krampus!” (Greetings from Krampus!)

Krampus woodcut print 2nd edition

Someone has been naughty

My Krampus woodcut was created for the 2010 OCAC print exchange, and as such, an edition of only 30 were printed on off-white Rives BFK and exchanged. The handful of proofs from the printing were mostly given to family, and the block was put away until just a couple weeks ago. I liked this one too much to not print a 2nd edition. In order to differentiate between the two editions I’ve carved the block a bit further and printed on buff Rives BFK. I’m 8 months early for Krampusnacht 2011, but at least this year I’m ready!

Speaking of ready, I’m currently gearing up for Norwescon next week! I’m looking forward to demonstrating relief printmaking along with Mimi Noyes and Larry Lewis on Friday, and will also be carving and printing in artist’s alley several times over the course of the convention.

Editioning

I enjoy drawing on wood

After a flurry of shows and events, and before Norwescon, I’m finally back in the studio catching up on printing. I finished up the 2nd edition of Gruss vom Krampus today (photos soon) and will next be tackling the Sphinx edition. The Sphinx was first sketched directly on the block at an event last summer, then proofed in front of an audience at Art in the Pearl. Autumn/winter tends to be my busy season, so I never got around to printing the planned edition of 50 though I did make a few of the best proofs available at events and online.

Carving the Sphinx

Technically speaking, I could have printed a few of the edition and numbered them as such, but I much prefer to print editions all at once. If it is impossible to pull the entire edition in one day (I’m a human not a machine), I’ll print the edition over a few days. Why do this rather than “print to order?” It would certainly be less of an up-front investment in paper and time to pull a few prints, sell them, then pull a few more.

Proof of the Sphinx's existence.


However, by printing editions as I do in one fell swoop, I’m able to maintain greater control over the quality of the edition. My woodcuts are all hand pulled and due to the nature of wood and the maker (I’m still not a machine), there will always be slight variations between each print. That said, it is an edition! The variations need to be slight, and #50 shouldn’t be a lower quality piece of art than #1. So I print them all at once, give them a few days to dry, and then spend time sorting through all of the prints. Any that deviate too far from the rest, or are outright mistakes, aren’t included in the edition. Good variants might be kept as artist proofs, but mistakes are destroyed. On the few blocks I’ve treated as open editions (primarily artist trading cards), I still print in batches and keep examples on hand for comparison.