Sunday, December 21, 2008

Worst (or possibly the best??) White Elephant EVER!!

Heather again here. I had to share!
I went to this fabulous white elephant party last weekend and was most impressed with the thought, time and creativity that went into each gift. I however, pulled mine together from what I had in my garage (which is FULL of "treasures") 20 minutes before I had to leave, the paint wasn't even dry on one of my gifts when I shoved it into the box... what can I say, I work better under pressure, adrenaline is my friend.

So we draw numbers and karma pulled through against me. I was next to last, which is the worst to draw since the last number gets to see everything opened and steal accordingly. As I grabbed the large (very last) gift under the tree I saw the gifter grimace with pity... which of course only peaked my morbid curiosity, plus I am always a sucker for anything wrapped.

As I pulled out the large hairy (yes... hairy) pillow I ran my fingers across it trying to figure out what kind of yetty died in vain for this horrible decorative accent. Then I noticed the tag with a picture of a sullen dog.... eew! This pillow was covered (as in glued) with the brushed off sheddings of what must have been a year long collection of dog hair... very clever, and still very stuck to the velour pants I was wearing.

I would re-gift it next year but I'm afraid I'll be blacklisted, and pretty sure it may start to smell by then. Maybe I'll just tack it to the wall for our art show, like a funky avant-garde modern piece.

I wonder how much I could get for it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Speaking of cupcakes...

So nice to hear from Heather. I'm glad she could tear herself away from eating bon bons and watching tivo re-runs of Yo Gabba Gabba long enough to prove she exists (but seriously, I am pleased to have her publicly join our blog).

It's funny--Heather and I are often inspired by the same things. I made this crochet cupcake (above) as a Christmas gift last week, right about the same time Heather was dreaming of Cupcake Royale.

I'm going to keep this post short and sweet. I'm borrowing my daughter's computer, which similar to the last two computers that crashed on me, is an old formerly crashed computer that she somehow got working??? It's rather archaic, and I'm not even completely sure if this post will work; it's like dealing with a zombie computer--it used to be dead, and now it's (possibly against its will) been brought back to life, with minimal out-of-date programs, and no space bar (don't ask me about how I'm making spaces). Anyway, I just had to pop in and put my two cents. It's very cathartic, this blogging--even if no one were to read it. Words are like balloons (even when you type them), ideas being released into the air.

As for the links--I am too busy to keep them fresh at the moment; I have a interior painting/mural project and Heather and I need to get ready for our show next month. We'll bring the links back as soon as we can post them with the integrity we originally intended.

*okay Heather, bring it...say something else. Let them see why we go together like cornflakes and ketchup (or is it catsup?).


Sunday, December 14, 2008

So here I am...

Heather here... I had to "man up" and take on the blog while Jen tries to find a solution to her curious magnetic field that continues to destroy each computer she ventures near. I guess that can happen when you are hit by lightening. Let's hope for all of our sakes that she finds a solution or you will be stuck with me... which means you never know what your going to get.

Anyhoo... I've been thinking about cupcakes lately and they have actually been inspiring me to do something artistic, not with the cupcake per say (although that could be my next venture after cheese whiz sculptures, at least the mistakes would be more palatable) maybe I'll just start by painting them(canvas not cake)...

I not only appreciate the scrunptious yumminess of the cute little cakes at my local cupcake bakery (the appropriately named Cupcake Royal ) but also the wonderful presentation which makes each cupcake look like an adorable present wrapped in frosted happiness.

I'll get back to you on my cupcake creation when I decide which creative direction I am going to take... but for now I'm hungry and wondering if I dare brave the snow and ice for a Sunday morning cupcake... sounds like an adventure!


Friday, December 5, 2008

Some updates

twinkle twinkle—designed by Heather, painted by jen

Okay, so first…I should explain that my back-up computer crashed. It was a reconstituted computer that had crashed a couple of years ago, so it’s not completely shocking, but a little disappointing. Thanks to my friends Jodi and Keith, I am borrowing this computer until I’m finished with finals—and really I feel a little guilty writing this, because it’s not completely necessary, but I feel I owe it to my and Heather’s [imaginary] public to state I don’t know how we will blog without my computer. I guess I need to save up my cookies and buy a new one…or better, strong-arm Heather into going public.

Oh, an important announcement: I just received conformation that Heather, Mary Hawk (artist/counselor), and jen (me) will have the opportunity to show our work at a building on Capitol Hill (Seattle) mid January through February. We’ll have little kick-off reception to open our modest show. I’m really excited because our art will compliment another well. *stay tuned for details.

As for the art, since my computer is gone, I again have no images. I considered borrowing a picture or two from my friends’ computer; there seem to be a lot of pictures of their kids eating ice cream. I decided against borrowing. Instead I dug through prep sketches for a mural project Heather and I did. It was a storybook theme. There were 3 sketches between us, and to keep it fair, I did one, she did one, and the third she designed and I painted. So the first picture shown is her original design re-painted by me for our final sketch, and the one below is a final sketch I designed and painted.

Hope to touch base soon.

this old man--by jen

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Portland Art Inspired the 3 Links

The Annunciation Campin 1425
Being gone over the holiday kept the 3 links from being poppin fresh…sorry. Heather stayed in town to host her first Thanksgiving and make her first turkey. I really wanted to attend her dinner, if anything to enjoy her domestication (which neither of us really are), but following tradition, we went to Portland to visit family. While in Portland, I gathered a few cool links—being the artistic epicenter that Portland is.

Crafty Wonderland—super colossal holiday sale! It’s a monthly “arts and crafts extravaganza” featuring many vendors with handmade wares. Check out the photos—looks cool—as well as the list of vendors for the December show. Well worth it if you’re anywhere near the area.

Charles Dwyer—artist. I saw his piece titled Grace at a gallery and looked him up. His figurative art and abstract art are my favorite, but his photography is equally as intriguing.

grammargirl—owner of NOUN a person’s place for things. If you scroll through a few pages, you witness a fair representation of the cool items for sale in NOUN. I was excited to see one of my favorite etsy artist’s (Rachel Austin) paintings in person.

That’s it. As for the visual feature today, it’s a page out of a book I made as a project for an Art History class. It explores the notion of what I might say or think if I were in Mary’s shoes, featuring various painted Annunciation scenes. The one above is the center of a triptych altarpiece by Robert Campin (and Assistant) 1425, and of coarse my comment inserted [caption reads: "Focus Mary, just pretend like he's not there"]. Below is the cover to the book [fortune reads: "You will hear a kind word from a stranger"].

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

1-3 days only, but so nice...I'm in an Etsy Treasury Again.

hootenanny 2008

I just thought I'd send out the message I'm featured in an Etsy Treasury, thanks to 'awesomeradastic.' The Treasury is entitled pink & gray, and can be found at
I appreciate the support artists give one another.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Heather's Pet Portrait Endeavor

sparky 2008

So here’s the picture Heather and I lost the other day when we were trying to design postcards for her new pet portrait endeavor. It's a commission piece featuring Sparky as the subject. I love this painting and look forward to her future creations.

(jen) on behalf of Heather?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

You can't trust a baby...

First, I want to share some art that is an [unintended] collaborative effort on the part of my youngest daughter (6) and Heather’s baby (2). When Heather came over the other day she brought her budding young artist daughter. She is notorious (more than I’ve ever seen) for writing on anything with anything—the world is her canvas and the nearest marking item is her medium.
Contrary to her house, she only colors on things that are intended to be colored on when she comes to my house; at her house loopty-loos, scribbles and stick figures adorn walls, floors, furniture (etc.). This last visit, she only colored on a magnetic white board on the refrigerator and a couple of self portraits my daughter had made. You can see from the photo she just enhanced (with green marker) the eyes, nose, and mouth, as well as coloring in the crown pattern my daughter put on the shirt. I was pleased, my daughter was a little hesitant…learning the lesson at a young age, you can’t trust a baby (It’s almost like you have to watch them all the time or something—by the way, don’t trust them with your purse either).
But above is the collaborative masterpiece; remember you saw it here first.

*Also, I went to the 20/20 Vision art show in Burien last night with my friend Lucky Red Hen ( 400 little masterpieces hanging among a crowd of people who were eagerly snatching them up at $40 a piece. We got there about 7 minutes after 7:00 (the opening) and it was quite picked over and crowded as if the party had been going on for hours. The artwork we kept gravitating toward was created by Rebecca Chizeck, and Lucky (Shannon) was fortunate enough to lay claim to two pieces. You can see a few examples of her work at --click on Hatch Madness, its true is my favorite.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Went on a walk, saw some art...

Life Cycle #3 Megan Burke

gently down the stream Jennifer Culp

I went to the Edmond’s Artwalk last night with a new artist friend Megan, and her husband Mike. It was a little concerning on the drive—pouring rain, but ended up to be a beautifully rainless, shiny-street, dark and cloudy night. We didn’t make it to many exhibits, but what we did see was great eye-candy. My favorite of the night was Kimi Hansen, but unfortunately she doesn’t yet have a web-site, so I can’t really share. I could tell you about the vivid colors, the luminescence of her work, or the unpredictable nature of the subjects (like green olives and mint hard candies), but that would be like trying to tell you what jazz sounds like.
Another artist worth noting is Kim Hood, photographer ( He recently published a book entitled Seven Continents. It’s a moving compilation full of black and white images from his various travels, sprinkled with relevant quotes and journal entries. What I like best about his book is it progresses from broad to intimate when he focuses on his home continent.

All in all it was a nice night to be out, friends, art and interesting conversation.

*As for the pieces above, I wanted to show them together because they look like they could be sisters. The first piece is # 3 in a Life Cycle series by Megan Burke (my new friend, and the one below it is the left piece to a two piece work by me. The interesting thing is that they look related and they are both (seemingly) created in the same spirit. Mine too is a life cycle—a flower (person) moving gently down the stream (of life), and in the second piece [not shown], the flowers are gilded, representing a different phase of the “life cycle;" this causes me to ponder how Megan’s develop through her Life Cylcle series? [the rest of Megan’s can be seen on her site]. I just thought it was cool—kindred.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just thought you should know & 3 links

So Heather came over today, we were designing some postcards for her new project—pet portraits—but while we were setting up the program, somehow the pictures she intended to use vanished. Not too surprising, we’re artists not technology experts. So the postcard deal fell through, which is a bummer, because that’s one of my most favorite things, picking up new postcards fresh from the printer. Instead I thought I could coerce her to say a little something on our blog, but she pointed out how it’s actually funny at this point that she hasn’t said anything. So she convinced me she should be the silent mysterious partner behind the scenes, and I’ll act as the public voice. I tried to convince her to at least post her picture/profile/ statement, yet keeping in character, she suggested it’s best that I do these things on her behalf. She gave me full permission to say whatever I want, which is a little concerning for two reasons:

1. She must really trust me; honestly, she shouldn’t. What if she ticks me off? I could tell everyone about the time I caught her licking frogs in her backyard (but I would never do that).
2. People may think she’s a figment of my imagination, which I guess really isn’t that big of a deal, and really this all adds to her mystique—lucky her, mysterious, funny, and maybe not real.

Anyway, she said I could post whatever picture/statement/profile I want. Should be fun.

*Also, here are this weeks three links:

1.—art of Chris Crites (other works is visually rewarding).

2. Amy Carleton—portrait artist extraordinaire.

3. Poor Sailor—beautiful art ( I love the honesty of her post on the 18th).

I'm off to see some art.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A couple of things...

It's been nearly a week since I've written, and I just can't stay away today (wow an unintended triple rhyme). I first want to share a picture I took. If you've read the "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Forest" post, then you understand I have a special (maybe weird) appreciation for the personalities of trees. Soon after I shared my thoughts on trees, I stepped outside to snap some pictures for inspiration. When I uploaded the images on my computer I was pleasantly surprised to find the knees of this lady tree. She looks to be standing demurely (or maybe cleaning fluids are finally getting to me).

Also, I've been sitting on this story for some time, and I just have to share. If there is anyone out there reading this that has had a similar experience I REALLY want to hear about it, because it was very surreal for me.
Well as many of you may know, Heather and I started by painting children's furniture for a local consignment shop in Seattle. Back then, about 8 or so years ago, neither of us created art on a consistent basis. It seemed like our stuff sold well, and as I created it, I wondered where it would end up--much like now. So this summer Heather and I were doing some mural work in Seattle, for a household that was admirable in their appreciation for art.
While Heather and I were setting up shop, I spotted something familiar out of the corner of my eye. Down the hall, in the middle of the reading room was a rubber duck step stool I had painted. It was so exciting. It was still loved and used after all of these years, and (if I do say so myself) has held up quite well. [The picture below, not so good, but you can at least see the stool].

my step stool friend in its environment

When I imagined this day, the day I randomly came across my art that someone had purchased, I imagined it would be one of my masterpiece paintings that I slaved over for months--but no, it was a humble little step stool.
It was very inspiring though. It was as if the logos were telling me my work was worthy and I should continue. It put a little hop in my paintbrush.

*On another note, I have some new links I'd like to post, but I'd also like to check with Heather and see if she has some too. Also, she's working on some projects...I'm eager to see.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Petite Project & New Links

These are a latest creation, hand-painted magnets, constructed from recycled materials (metal rounds and magnetic backing). Thanks to Britanny for the rounds--see I knew they were valuable.

As for the links this week: Heather has contributed two. These are two sites she finds inspiring.

1. smart mama's blog--cool ideas and her gallery is impressive (looks Klimt inspired).

2. decor8--"fresh finds for hip places"

As for me, I'm choosing:

3. daily candy--a publication to keep you apprised of any happenings in many major cities (including Seattle). My pick is the art section.

So there you have it--this week's 3.
Look right, and click away.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Hello, is anybody there? Hello? Hello?

hang up and try your call again 2006

So since my technical difficulties, I don't have any images to draw from (clean computer and all), so I thought I'd go through some discs to find images that would be important enough to keep in my files. As I did this I realized this is a good time to make a clean break and move on. It's been hard to be creatively prolific, due to life's happenings getting in the way (and I think I can make this statement on behalf of both Heather and I), but this is all the more reason to put down the books, set aside the dishes, tell the kids to fend for themselves [just kidding/ kind of] and simply create.

In the mean time, I posted this older mixed media/brown paper piece that actually ends up looking like Heather (the eyes).

*Posting an older piece makes me feel a little lame, because I know I haven't done anything in a few weeks--makes me feel a bit like an online dater that posts a really old picture.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Technical Difficulties

I don't like when this happens. My computer gave up, so I moved over to a back up. All is well, except I have no images to share, because they are all on the ill fated computer. I just wanted to give a little notice, because it could take a minute to get all the programs going again. In the meantime, imagine I'm humming some elevator music while you look at our blank screen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Favorite Mural & *new links*

This is a photo of a mural Heather and I recently did for a nursery. I was the photographer that day, so I apologize for the quality of the photo (but I'm not entirely to blame, it was also a gloomy rainy Seattle day, so I was working with limited light source). This work is designed by Heather and painted by me--a circus theme--which is actually a running joke with us. Heather loves circus themes; I think the fact she keeps suggesting them to clients helps her work through her deep seeded fear of clowns (notice no clowns?). We've both painted children's furniture in the past, and Heather was fortunate enough to be able to paint her walls while growing up, so that may have something to do with most of our murals being children's themes. We do occasional "grown up" designs, but mostly gravitate toward children's projects...they are the most fun clients to gain inspiration from.

As for this week's three links that don't stink:

20/20 Vision--Burien Arts Association art show, so this one is for the Seattle locals. *please note the $40*

Pierre Riche--cool sculptor.

Mo Willems--super funny author/illustrator. I actually once went to his book signing (Knuffle Bunny Too), while my kids were in school. I think I may have been the only grown up unaccompanied by a child, but it was worth it--he's so entertaining. *check out Pigeon Presents* and play hot dog dress up & Elephant and Piggie Dance Game


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trees: The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Forest

I might be crazy, but there is this tree I pass by everyday, and I feel like I know him. I've always had an appreciation of nature, but this tree caused me to realize how much trees resemble humans (or vice versa). I like to think of them as wise men and elegant ladies, with their arms stretched out--palms up, fingers delicately spread--and in the winter they catch puffy bits of snow. It's not surprising that now it's fall, the trees are dramatically making their presence known. The other day my kids and I stood beneath a canopy of very tall trees while hundreds of leaves rained down on us (with big gusts of wind), all the while trying to catch a leaf, which is harder than it sounds because they fall unpredictably.
When all of the trees finally lose their leaves, they're left unclothed and their essence is revealed--which is how I first noticed my tree friend.
Just so you know, he is not featured here; we once took a picture of him, but it was too dark and it didn't turn out, but when he sheds his leaves again, I am going to take a new picture, which is the point of this post; my new series will be entitled: Ladies and Gentlemen (inspired by trees).
By the way, new links will be added in the next day or two, including at least one pick from Heather. Tune in.
2008 painting ispired by trees (above)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Only One Chance to Make a First Impression

stratagem 2006 (jennifer culp)

Inspiration has come to step up the blog situation, and here's why:

The diverse crowd that visits our blog (various countries, states, and cities) is humbling and impressive; good effort should be made to present something worthwhile to those who stumble upon's a small world after all.

For this reason, the hope is to keep it visually fresh. Some links have been added--only a few, because it can be overwhelming to come upon a huge list of links, Menagerie features 3 links...the three that are inspiring, (that day) for whatever reason...and they will be rotated on a regular basis, in hopes of not becoming stale.

An explanation of the three chosen today:

Two feature really great art, and KEXP is candy for the ears.
When visiting KEXP, you can stream live, or archive. Check out the various genres, there's something for everyone. Favorite pick: positive vibes/Kid Hops (Saturday the 25th was a good show).


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Art and Function

I created these card holders for a few reasons:
*first, I was inspired by a gas card that wouldn't play nice with the other cards in my card holder, so I had to segregate it from the others so the swipey strip would continue to work.
*second, I think it's more fun to have something unusual to hold business cards (especially as an artist).
*third, I appreciate re-purposed/handmade, and assume others do too.
*fourth, I think this is a cool way to present a gift card.
These little works of art are fashioned out of vintage paper (with clear contact overlay for protection), yarn, and velcro (basically). Anyway, here's my little latest inspired endeavor.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Enough with the mice already!

Okay, so I was out Saturday night at my friend Lisa Norgaard's art gallery (, a reception for artist Tove PisaRelle--beautiful serene landscape painter. When I returned home, my daughter opened the door to greet me with, "you're just in time." Apparently a mouse had just run into her closet; we are becoming very efficient with the mouse capture/release program.
So again, here's crochet as therapy, although my creation isn't nearly as cute as our capture--he (or she) was a jumper, unlike the last one which was very docile.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Painting Changes: Happens A Lot

new new independence
For some of you, you're familiar with this piece (if you've visited my etsy shop or have seen me at a show), but I finished final touches to it yesterday. It has been hanging in my room since my last show, and there was just something missing--so here it is complete.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bubble Gum Wrapper Sculpture/ Gold Fish (silver, really)

" Don't ever forget these things:
The nature of the world.
My nature.
How I relate to the world.
What proportion of it I make up.
That you are part of nature, and no one can prevent you from speaking and acting in harmony with it, always."
--Marcus Aurelius (Meditations, Book 2:9, as translated by Gregory Hays)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hey, I Found a Project of Heahter's to Share.

This is a project Heather created last year for the graduating class 2008 of Tops Seattle School K-8. It's inspired by Dr. Seuss's Oh The Places You Will Go (which you can vaguely see by the plaque at the base of the post). The signs point to all places deemed important by the 8th grade graduating class.
Very cool.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Black Velvet

This is a painting I finished a couple of weeks ago. It's based off of a photo from a 1962 book for girls.
Funny looking pup.
I'm not sure how I feel about it...tacky?cute?cool?
So I named it black velvet, because like a black velvet painting, I can't decide how I feel about it. Is the tacky factor outweighing the cool?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Therapeutic Endeavor/ Crochet Sculpting

sliced bread friend

I recently started back to school, which means I'm unable to find as much uninterrupted time to paint. I still have the need to create, and recently have been inspired to make crochet sculpture friends (sad, that may say something about me). I have to explain: it is important to understand these are sculptures--with imperfections. If you haven't noticed, I am the type of artist who welcomes imperfections. Imperfections add to personality of art, and people for that matter. My mom showed me one simple stitch in crochet (not sure if that is the correct term used in crochet), so any creation I come up with is of my own design. I truly am not one to follow recipes.

I love food and am creating a line of food friends. I've done cupcakes in the past, so I thought I would try my hands at something less predictable--like sliced bread and a green olive.

green olive friend

I also created this little chick (chicky babe, as my driving teacher used to call us have to love the not-so-politically correct late 80's). Chicky babe comes with a peek-a-boo shell to hide in when necessary.

chicky babe

chicky babe in her shell

And I know owls are trendy, but I had to create one; I saw two owls in one week, which served me as a sign and inspired me to create a whole line of animals inspired by creatures I see around my house. I'm currently working on a bat (which I had to shoo out of my house last year), and mouse (which I had to shoo out of my house last week), and plan to do a bunny, a raccoon, and some birds. Some of the creatures I've encountered around my property and house, have somewhat bothered me (don't get me started on insects), so part of creating these sculptures is to embrace these experiences.

Art as therapy once again.

(n) menagerie (a collection of live animals for study or display)


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sculpture & Ross Brown's 120%/87% Theory

This is the completed sculpture I lovingly made (mostly) at school with tremendous help from my instructor Ross Brown. It's aluminum and stands well over 6' and turned out as I imagined it in the beginning, which is quite surprising, because most of my art does not turn out as I imagine it in the beginning. It also stands on it's own, which I actually did not expect.

It's 14 pieces in total, welded together (by Ross), and the petals are removable. I sculpted the body and base out of foam, and cast it in aluminum at the Bellevue Community College foundry. The petals were sculpted from wax and cast at a party at Ross and Sharman's house in his foundry.

About Ross and Sharman: Ross, my instructor, is a sculptor and his wife Sharman is a painter. They live on a huge piece of property that maintains multiple gardens, a studio, a foundry, and tons of art work (sculptures and whatnot). It's a magical place to visit--so much to look at; too much for me to list. They're website is worth looking into, because it too has much to look at: (check out Sharman's painting a day blog).

A journey in sculpture: pictures of the cast party, the creation, and the result.
A view from the property.

The property has so many interesting hand created strutcures to see.

I think Sharman created these doll head sculptures.

This is some aluminum being poured for the foam sculpted part of my sculpture.

This is a depiction of some of the hard work that took place on the day of our cast party. The entire class was invited to participate. We all pitched in, along with some friends of Ross and Sharman who were also there to bring sculpted pieces to life.

This is me, setting free out of its plaster casing, one of my four pieces cast that day.

And this is the fruit of my (and Ross) labor.

Ross has a 120%/87% theory, it goes like this (my interpretation):

1. you're really excited about your project (120%)

2. you start to sketch and toss around ideas and the excitement decreases a bit (100%)

3. you spend the funds it takes to create your project (decrease)

4. you start to work on the project and it may or may not go well (for me this is a daily evaluation, and the amount decreased depends on how well it goes that day)

5. at the completion of your project, if you find that you are at 87% pleased, then in 5 years when you revisit it, you will be 120% pleased with it again (or at least 100%).

*I love this theory, because I find it true. While you're in the passion of creation, emotions toward a piece can become exaggerated (especially negative emotion, and especially when money is involved). I like my work better when some time has been put between us.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Look at Me! Jen's Featured in the Showcase at Etsy. (today only)

Just wanted to give a heads up on my featured presence on Etsy today. I'm featured in the art category of the Showcase section:
I love how Etsy gives so many opportunities to allow looky-loos to find treasures they wouldn't have otherwise known about. I recommend checking out the Showcase area, but my favorite way to randomly discover new items is to pounce (and I prefer just listed/hasn't sold).


Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Step Away From the Usual

So this is a piece I finished yesterday entitled the king and i, and for anyone familiar with my work, it's a step away from paintings I usually produce. It's an adaptation of a photo a friend of mine took and gave to me for inspiration. I don't know if this is going to help me, but I find it cool and tacky at the same time.
Maybe the Leos will dig it.