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Mythos & Monsters and what’s up next.

A million thanks to Gargoyles Statuary and owner Gayle Nowicki for making last weekend’s Mythos & Monsters show a success! We enjoyed a sizable turnout of enthusiastic patrons of the arts, and Figure 7. in particular was the recipient of bountiful attention. At this time half the edition has been sold, so if you want to add Figure 7. to your personal collection now is an opportune time to visit Gargoyles, or if Seattle is out of the question, my online shop and place your order. Quantities are extremely limited, and there can never be another first edition, so don’t miss out!

Gargoyles Show 2014

Photo credit: Gayle Nowicki, 2014

It’s worth noting that Gargoyles Statuary boasts the largest collection of my work available outside of what’s offered here at Xylographilia. Their inventory boasts pieces from previous series including Arcanum Bestiarum, as well as a number of rarities. Among the works currently on display are several new prints soon to be appearing in Nate Pedersen and P.S. Publishing’s upcoming Starry Wisdom Library Anthology. Pictured at left, clockwise from top right, are She Who Binds the Dead in Chains, Sign! (hidden behind my hat), Figure 7., Tsathoggua, Night Hag, Él Que Protege El Camino, The King in Yellow, and Liber Ivonis. Additionally, Gargoyles Statuary is now carrying a selection of hand-silkscreened T-shirts produced in collaboration with Sigh Co. Graphics.

Figure 7.

Figure 7.

The Mythos & Monsters show can be viewed at Gargoyles Statuary through September 15th. Also in September will be the opening of my next major show, this time at the 2014 Esoteric Book Conference at Seattle’s University of Washington, just a short jaunt away from Gargoyles Statuary. This show will feature a new, never-before-shown selection of my work including the zodiac series, so be sure to book your tickets soon.

Hope to see you all there!

Zodiac series and upcoming shows

10462493_10152157368795009_3207793729911279895_nRecently I’ve taken a break from shows to create new work. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been working on a new print series depicting the twelve signs of the zodiac. After concentrating primarily on larger projects for most of this year, I was inspired to tackle something smaller-scale. The completed series will be offered as an open edition and will debut at the Esoteric Book Conference in September alongside other new works.

My creative process begins with research. After gathering historical references that serve the image I have in mind, I sketch out a design and then transfer it to a basswood block with red carbon paper. For this series my references included a 15th-century codex about mining and farming (as in the case of Pisces above) as well as art from the High Middle Ages. Most of the carving has been done with 1mm and 1.5mm U-gouges (pictured). 10488320_10152168371915009_5867634521574897733_nOnce the design has been carved out, each new block will be proofed. After proofing, I’ll go in and do some final touch-ups before printing the editions. Every block in this series will measure no more than four inches, and the completed prints will also be of modest size. At this stage, Capricorn, Pisces, Scorpio, and Cancer are complete, and Taurus is coming up next.

These prints will be offered individually and as a set. Stay tuned for further updates as the project evolves, and remember to follow me on Facebook for a more detailed look at the carving process.

P.S. My next show will take place at Gargoyles Statuary in Seattle, Washington and will include works from the upcoming Starry Wisdom Library Anthology.

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May shows

 

Tsathoggua is born

Tsathoggua is born

Join us tonight, May 2nd, at Bite Studio for a group show! All manner of prints may be found, including three of my newest Lovecraft Mythos works. Doors will be open from 6pm to 10pm. One night only!

Bite Studio is located at 2000 SE 7th Ave., Portland, Oregon 97214

May 8th- 11th, Portland, Oregon

World Horror Convention

My creepiest woodcuts, including Tsathoggua shown to the right,  may be found in the art show, while I may be found on a number of art-related panels. Just check your schedule!

After WHC I’ll be taking a bit of a break from shows to concentrate on creating new work for some secret projects, as well as to debut later this year at the Esoteric Book Conference!

The Festival is nearly upon us!

New Mythos works will be debuting at HPLFF

New Mythos works will be debuting at HPLFF!

Liv Rainey-Smith is pleased to announce that she will be appearing as a featured guest of the upcoming 2014 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon. Her original hand-pulled woodcut prints will be available in Artists Alley. In addition to her popular illustrations from the 2012 Arcanum Bestiarum published by Three Hands Press, she will also be debuting a new selection of limited edition prints created for the soon-to-be-released Starry Wisdom Library anthology edited by Nate Pedersen. Mr. Pedersen as well as a number of other Starry Wisdom Library contributorsS T Joshi, Michael Cisco, Edward Morris, Jesse Bullington, Joe Pulver, Molly Tanzer, Pete Rawlik, Scott Nicolay, and Silvia Moreno-Garciawill also be guests at the festival.

Hand-coloring the grimoire with purpurite.

Hand-coloring the grimoire with purpurite.

Attending Kickstarter backers who ordered her hand-colored special edition print Sign! will receive it as part of their rewards package during the festival. Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dreams in the Witch-House, Sign! is an exclusive edition created just for HPLFF supporters. If you’d like to see what went into the creation of the edition, the work was documented here.

In previous years, Rainey-Smith has appeared at the HPLFF both as a vendor and a featured guest. This year, attendees will also have the opportunity to see her compete against Allen Koszowski, Nick Gucker, and Lee Moyer in Pickman’s Apprentice, a ninety-minute challenge in which Lovecraftian artists race to complete illustrations based on a theme chosen by the audience. Yes, she will be carving and printing a woodcut in those ninety minutes. Yes, first aid supplies will be at hand.

The 2014 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival will take place from April 11th – 13th at the Hollywood Theatre at 4122 NE Sandy Blvd.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.hplfilmfestival.com/.

Upcoming shows

Raven Artist Proof with 23k gold, garnet, lapis lazuii, yellow ochre, and hematite

We’ve been busy cutting mats, bagging and boarding prints, and I’ve been gilding and hand-coloring some unique artist proof prints in preparation for late summer/fall shows. A few new woodcuts are in the works, though it may be some time before they are unveiled. Additionally, a new website is also in the works, which is why we’ve fallen behind on updates here. If you’d like a peek at what is new, I highly recommend a jaunt by my art page on Facebook. It is regularly updated with photos and tidbits.

Want to see work in person?

Seattle, Washington — anytime

The Xylographic Menagerie show at Gargoyles is over, but a large selection of standard edition prints remains, including the last available numbered Raven. Gargoyles is located at 4550 University Way N.E., Seattle, WA 98105.

Sacramento, California — August 9 – 11
I’ll be attempting to cram a lot of art into a very small space, including new hand-colored and gilded Artist Proof prints such as the Raven to the right. NOTOCON vending hours are 9am-6pm Friday and Saturday, 9am-3pm Sunday. Although the conference is a private event, the vending area will be located on the 2nd floor terrace in the atrium and is open to the public. The event is located at Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront Promenade, 100 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, California 95814

Providence, Rhode Island — August 22 – 25

A couple of unique works will be part of the Ars Necronomica show at the Providence Art Club opening August 12th. I’ll be attending the reception August 22nd, and will be a guest at NecronomiCon Providence. Look for my work in original woodcut print form and as silk screened t-shirt format at the Arkham Bazaar/Sigh Co. Graphics booth in the vendor’s hall.

Seattle, Washington — September 14 – 15

I’m proud to be hosting the Art Show at the 5th Annual Esoteric Book Conference. The Art Show and Book Room are open to the public during conference hours. Featured this year are the works of Hagen Von Tulien, Divine Mania, Joseph Uccello, Kate Merriwether Lynch, and Daniel A. Schulke. Original prints and reproductions will also be available from a few other artists, including myself.

Portland, Oregon — October 12-13 and 19-20

I’ll be once more taking part in the Portland Open Studios Tour. I’ll be opening up my studio along with fellow printmakers Beth Kerschen and Tara Murino-Brault both weekends from 10am-5pm. Join us then for live printmaking action!

Online — anytime

As always, if you can’t make it to an event, I do my best to make my work available online. Original prints may be ordered anytime via my Etsy storefront. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Inquiries may be sent to: Liv.Raineysmith@gmail.com

Chimera printer’s ornament from Arcanum Bestiarum

The 2013 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival

Finished Cthulandia woodcuts awaiting signing and numbering

Join me May 3rd through 5th at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon!

We’ll have my usual display in the vendor’s room, packed with Lovecraft-inspired woodcuts as well as the brand new Arcanum Bestiarum series. The print selection will include beasts not yet available online including trial proofs, a few unique hand-colored pieces, framed works, and a couple otherwise sold out surprises one of my dealers forgot they had! A few standard copies of Arcanum Bestiarum will also be available, and I’ll be happy to oblige if you already have a copy you’d like signed.

Shub-Niggurath Capra Silvae cum Mille Prolibus
Since I’m also an artist guest this year, I’ll be part of Panel 6: Makers of Arcane Artifacts on Sunday from 12:30 to 1:30

Unearthly objects once glimpsed in nightmares can now be purchased in shops and held in your tentacled limb. Artisans, crafters and makers discuss their inspiration and process. (Rainey-Smith, Phinney, Soles, Koi)

Last, but definitely not least, join me Saturday from Noon to 2pm for the Pickman’s Apprentice Art Competition!

Armed with a number of sharp knives and a block of wood, I’ll be facing off against eldritch artists Mike Dubisch, Nick Gucker, and Lee Moyer.

Some of the best Lovecraftian artists working in the field today will have 90 minutes to create a masterpiece based on a theme suggested by the audience. Last year’s theme was “Shoggoth Circus” and Lee Moyer, Nick Gucker, and Mike Dubisch raced to complete images of both horror and hilarity. Attend this fascinating event to help choose this year’s theme and watch the process of creation right on the stage.

The audience will judge the winner of the competition, and all pieces of art created will be auctioned off to festival attendees, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Animal Aid, Inc.

To be quite honest, I’m not 100% certain I can make a woodcut print from sketch to finish in 90 minutes, but I’m crazy enough to try! Come cheer us on as we duke it out for the title of Pickman’s Apprentice 2013.

What will I be carving this Saturday at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival? Join us there and give us your suggestions!

Carving complete!

Nearly there

Carving the remainder of the torso and legs was quite rapid. Each little mark is about the same size as those on the head and belly, but they’re more widely spaced, with a few larger gaps to created a spotted effect. All that’s left to carve at this point is the final knee, and then the background.

The bottom of the piece will remain a solid black, and while I could revert to a solid white background as seen in the original Cthluhu woodcut, I’ve started using more textures in my backgrounds.

Time for some background

I’m partial to the roughness of “chipped” textures as such as the one seen here in the Bee from Arcanum Bestiarum, but I feel such a texture would adversely compete with the texturing within Cthulhu’s figure. The figure also contains many horizontally oriented textures, which I’d like to create contrast with, so long vertical lines are a natural choice. Here are the first few swipes, made with a shallow 1.5mm u gouge.

Probably the fastest carving portion of the entire piece.


The texture I’m creating here is relatively simple: repeated passes from a shallow 1.5mm u gouge. The trick is to not be too uniform in carving. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it is very easy to fall into a regular pattern while carving and I favor a bit of irregularity to keep things lively. I want the overall look of the background to be relatively even, but not every single mark. I avoid uniformity by varying line length, starting point, depth, and periodically angling them just slightly left or right.

Just a few more swipes of the knife

Althought just shy of complete in this photo, the initial carving is now complete! At this point I run a bit of 1200 grit sandpaper VERY GENTLY over the block to help remove little snags and splinters; then brush it gently to coax any dust or chips out of small carved areas. After that, it’s time for inking and the first printing!

Speaking of time, the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival Kickstarter ends in just 3 days, and though it has met its initial funding goal, there’s still an excellent stretch goal to be met. Plus, the Kickstarter is the only way to order a first edition of this woodcut print — just my way of saying thank you for supporting the Festival which has been such a large part of my life for so many years.

“Cthulandia” Continued

Cthulhu is now armed

Apologies to the H.P. Lovecraft fans for the delay in Cthulhu process posting! I left off with the beginning of the claws on March 1st, and have progressed a great deal since then.

Carving can be a very rhythmic activity, and when I wish for parts of an image to maintain a certain level of consistency, I focus on completing those areas before moving into new sections. For this reason, after completing both claws, I moved up through the arms creating a bumpy irregular pattern with some sharpness.

A little off the top

With Cthulhu’s arms now fully realized, I moved on to his head and a lot of very tiny shallow cuts. By starting with my smallest tool, I’m lessening the chance of a “Whoops, there goes a chunk of face!” moment. For the initial carving I’m leaving a lot of surface wood — I can widen the marks to create a lighter surface later and fully expect I will. This sort of carving is repetitive, time consuming, and worthwhile because it yields a more interesting surface in the end than if I were to simply take a big tool and remove most of the wood.

Tiny tentacles don’t provide much space for carving

As I’m moving down the head I’m thinking about the shape I’d like to imply with the direction of my carving, and curving my cuts appropriately. Although much of my inspiration does come from renaissance woodcut style, particularly more primitive less-dimensional types, I find a mix of form and flatness satisfying. I’m also aiming for a mix of tonal value in this image and am not trying to avoid recognizable tool marks. Historically, wood engravers and carvers were not the creator of the image they cut. Their job was to reproduce as faithfully as possible, the drawing of the artist. As a modern printmaker, I am both artist and carver; as such, I don’t wish to deceive the audience into thinking the finished artwork is anything other than a woodcut.

Onwards to the belly of the beast

After finishing the tentacles I shifted down to the bottom of the belly to work upwards. I’m aiming for a lighter belly with sides and legs not as coarse as the arms, but still a bit spotty, so I’ve penciled in a rough belly line and spots. I used the same basic texture as the head and tentacles for the abdomen; however, I will be leaving a bit more space between marks on the sides.

More to come tomorrow! Cthulhu needs the rest of his torso fleshed out and some legs, then I’ll be wrapping up the initial carving with the background. If you’d like to sneak a peek ahead at the proofed block, the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival has a preview for you here. Only 3 days remain to order a first edition of this print via their Kickstarter backer rewards!

Carving Cthulhu continued

Corrected center claw

At this point in the process, it makes sense to continue outlining with that 1mm u gouge. Outlines may be expanded later depending on the effect I want. Thin outline carving tends to simply make elements stand out from the background, while wider outlining can be used to create a halo effect. In the first photo you can see I’ve made a slight modification to the shape of the center wing claw.

All outlines now delineated in 1mm

Here’s a view of the block after all outlining was completed. You’ll note I haven’t done any outlining in the lower portion of the block since it will be solid black and I haven’t yet decided I want a black outline around the portions of the figure over the black. If, after I ink and proof print the block, I want a thin white line to make the figure pop out of the black, I can easily add it in. I can always remove more wood to create white, but I can’t always add it back in. Always err on the side of too little carving, because you can always carve more.

Is anyone else craving seafood now?

Now we get into the fun part! Although I am referencing the original Cthulhu woodcut and do want this rendition to relate to it, my carving style has developed since 2010. I may end up clearing some of these marks out after proofing, but I know I want the arms to be more textured than the original. I’m starting at the claw tips of the lower arm and moving on up. The spots I originally drew aren’t being tightly adhered too, I prefer to let them progress naturally as I work — with a few markings to remind me where I want a few larger black spots left because I don’t want a symmetrical pattern.

I’ll be moving on up that arm now, be sure to check in on the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival Kickstarter for updates on other rewards available to backers. The Kickstarter will be over in less than 2 weeks and the special event packages are rapidly being snapped up.

Autumn show calendar

September 15th and 16th, Seattle, Washington

Woodcuts from the Arcanum Bestiarum will be debuting this week at the Seattle Esoteric Book Conference. September 15th and 16th 8am-7pm in the Orcas Room at the Seattle Center. Art show is free and open to the public as well as conference attendees. Wall space at the EBC is limited, so be sure to peruse the print racks for additional works.

October 4th – November 17, Corvallis, Oregon

Death and the Printmaker will be part of the 10th Around Oregon Annual at the Arts Center. Opening reception Thursday October 11, 5:30–7:30 PM.

The Arts Center
700 SW Madison Ave.
Corvallis, OR 97333

October 5th – 26th, Portland, Oregon

A selection of six Arcanum Bestiarum prints will be part of Splendorporium’s Annual Tarot Show. Opening Reception October 5th from 7-9 PM.

Splendorporium
3421 SE 21st Ave.
Portland, OR 97202

November 3rd – 11th, Beaverton, Oregon


Leviathan
from the Arcanum Bestiarum has been juried into the 30th Annual Beaverton Visual Arts Showcase. Gala November 3rd from 7-9 PM. The Showcase will be held at:

Beaverton City Library
12375 SW 5th Street
Beaverton, OR 97005