Saturday, January 31, 2009

Life is So Glorious

under the weather by jen 2009

I love Saturdays, especially this one. The sun was shining; I had time, inspiration, and good music to help along the creative process. My favorite dj was back from his two week absence, and this week's positive vibrations show ( was extraordinarily nice. The only set back was the dancehall/dub step vibe was so captivating, I couldn't sit still.

The piece above is a funny little work. It's painted on one of the 32 plywood squares my friend Bill cut for me. I've been painting them (about one a day) and listing them in my etsy shop--trying to breathe new life into my little shop.

I think that's it. The only other thing I could say is that I'm a bit sad to see this week come to an end. I can't remember one so good.


Thursday, January 29, 2009


So I've been noticing a theme lately with my art. I didn't intend to create several (or even one for that matter) religious pieces (Jesus started it!) but sometimes it's not really up to me. Most of the art I create for me, by that I mean not commissioned by others, or a say a portrait where I need to take every step with intention, can be an unconscious process. When I paint freely I often come up with unexpected things that I didn't even know were inside of me. It really is like therapy (although much cheaper... I should know).

The Mary piece almost shocked me... what am I trying to say? There are many ways to take this and everyone that has come across her has a different view, which is what I love about art and what can be beautiful about religion as well. My mother always told me that the bible was my personal gift and that it was meant to speak to me exactly how I needed to hear it. Art is the same, it is personal and up to interpretation. Each piece has it's own story for each viewer, it's own life. I am merely a vessel, and I do think all art is a divine gift.

Anything that elicits thought is a good thing.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Saw this and thought of you

I happened upon this cute video and thought of Jen. Not only because it was artistically inspiring but also because the cute little characters remind me of us.

So many times during our 16+ years of friendship (of course we met not long after birth) ;)
we have found ourselves up against the world, and had to count on each other's love and encouragement to push through. Our bond is special and irreplaceable (Mary recently pointed out to us that we finish each other's sentences). We joke that we are "married" to each other and I should seriously be so lucky.

So in the spirit of upcoming Valentine's day here's a love song to my best friend.

I'm so blessed to have you!

Big mushy XOXO!!!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Finally, my new grey friend.

3 little birds too by jen 2009

Today I finally type from my new (well, new to me) computer, thanks to my mom--thanks mom. I'm so thrilled with the endless possibilities of a fresh computer; the googling, the printing, the non-missing keys, the updated software, the space to be filled with images from my camera, the history that belongs solely to me, the documents to be written, the spreadsheets to be spread (or whatever you do with spreadsheets). Oh I'm so happy. I even cleared off my desk and dusted just for the momentous occasion of introducing this new little grey friend into my life.

Besides my new technology, I've been quite busy madly (or happily) painting, as have Mary and Heather. I love how creativity grows when creating. Sometimes it just takes the act of doing to channel in the brilliance, other times it takes a quiet moment to let the brilliance whisper to you. I've had both types of inspiration so far this week and I'm appreciative of any.

I decided to give 1 link that doesn't stink today. It's a link to a shining illustrator named Celia Marie Baker. I saw her at a farmer's market a few years back, looked her up and came across her website The link to her blog is equally as great and features some handmade books she created for family. Really nice.

*One more little thing to note--I think on an artistic note--and maybe you don't care, really. I thought I might take a moment to explain my heavy use of parenthesis, semi-colons, commas, hyphens, brackets, and asterisks. Maybe you think to yourself, why does jen use so many parenthesis ?(or whatever else you may have noticed)--much in the same way I notice people who are heavy with the exclamation mark. The answer is this...I am a visual writer, I mean my writing has to be visually interesting, with lines and dots and stars and spaces (oh and italics). My thought is this: who wants to read a bunch of veranda type words all scrunched together without any variation? Not me. So if it's distracting (like heavy exclamation users are to me), then I apologize.*

*one last thing--I think I've also illustrated, you're never too old for your mom.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

You are in my heart

Happy lazy Sunday!

Here is my heart of pictures that hung in my hallway up until yesterday...I have so many pictures that I want to look at and appreciate regularly so I just taped up many of my favorites in a heart shape.

The bummer is I noticed that the exposure to varying temperatures is warping the pictures a bit as well as discoloring a few of my black and white wedding pics (whoops!) good thing I'm not sentimental! So I'm thinking about actually buying two large pieces of glass and suspending my pictures in my heart shape between them to preserve them better.... maybe after the art show.

We'll post more details on our upcoming art show this week but do save the date, Friday the 13th of February 7-9pm... we didn't pick the day, we're just lucky like that.

Chow for now!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Much appreciation friend.

winged felt heart (or heart-felt) by jen 2009

I thought I would wait and let Heather say a little something, but I cannot let an opportunity go by where I should be expressing some gratitude.

Thank you to the anonymous friend(s) that dropped off several canvases for me to paint. I don't know who you are, but I'm hoping (on the off chance) that you are a friend who may periodically peek at our blog. My youngest daughter had a theory that it was Sparky who dropped them off--Sparky's one of our pet goldfish who died this evening, and we just had a service for him in the in the back yard about an hour earlier--but I explained how it's probably not.
Whoever you may be, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I truly appreciate you thinking of me.
Take care friend(s).


Monday, January 19, 2009

Here a Mary, there a Mary

by Heather Jarvis 2009

A couple of random things:

First, I thought I would show yet two more pieces that give a little peek into the work we've been creating for our little show.

Second, I failed to mention that some of Mary's (our painting partner's) work can be seen on her blog, at --it's enchanting just like she.

Third, when Heather and I were out to dinner the other night, she pointed out the fact that the word baby in front of food selections does not make it more appetizing, in fact it really has the opposite effect (ex: baby prawns, Dutch baby [I guess a type of pancake, but ewe], and Baby Ruth [for a different reason]).

And last, I'd like to thank my friend Bill for cutting plywood for me--so nice, dragging out the table saw, getting all saw-dusty, bonking his head on something metal while getting something in his garage, polluting his family home and neighborhood with loud noise--all so I could have 32 little squares of wood on which to paint. Thank you Bill.
That's that.

by jennifer culp 2009


Friday, January 16, 2009

We Three Girls

by Mary Hawk

Today, Heather, Mary and I got together to talk art. I also I got to preview Heather's work last night while at her house, and thought it might be nice to give a glimpse of what's to come at our little show. As far as I know, it will be on Friday the 13th--spooky sweet. I'm so inspired by their work. Each of our styles are different, but we all gravitate toward color, so our paintings go well with one another.

If I might (admittedly) speak on behalf of Heather in regards to her painting [shown below], not everyone could see the Jesus that had appeared within the creation of her painting [as she had blogged about last week], so she enhanced it just a little--can you tell? I mean really, do you see anything? We're not sure. I kind of see something, but...

As for mine, if you are at all (imaginary blogdiance) interested in the hidden treasure within my painting, the bird is fashioned out of a recipe for hand knit gloves from a 1962 book for girls.

The titles are a secret today, you'll just have to come and see.

by Heather Jarvis

by jennifer culp


*El sueno de Merida.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Here comes the sun--do do do do.

peacock pantry mural 2009

So I finished a little mural project yesterday. I appreciate Patti (the client), because she loves color and she's not afraid to show it. This piece is intended to hang on her pantry right smack dab in the middle of her kitchen/dining/living area. It's not often that a project this bold comes up, so hats off to Patti.

*Also, just a little note to the sun: Thank you sun for making a bashful appearance today. I see your rays streaming into my windows, and I encourage you to come straight out and show yourself. We miss you here in the Northwest. Don't you know you make us happy when skies are grey?


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why leave well enough alone?

Like Jen, and I imagine most artists, I see potential in everything. Most of my furnishings are items I've acquired used and I've just tweaked to make them my own. I re-paint as regularly as my styles change. I often have friends dropping off finds from Goodwill, or their garages, in hopes I will breathe new life into them. My husband is less than happy about the "potential projects" that I have stacked in our garage (aka his man cave) but I try to convince him that we must all do our part and make sacrifices to recycle and re-use to reduce the landfills so that our children's children will have a green and healthy planet with polar bears etc... etc... he's buying it for now.

Pictured are a few things I've painted for my daughters. The little kitchen was a basic Target cutesy all pink ditty that bored me so I spiced it up with color and an oil-cloth curtain.

The table I painted for my daughter Stella 6 years ago. It has held up fairly well to regular indoor and outdoor use and now my little Scarlett enjoys her tea parties and colors on it (literally... you can probably see some of her work in the corner).

The small armoire was a bit of a collaboration. I originally painted it for Stella in a whole different color scheme but she went at it with a sharpie one day creating a flower scene on the then light green shabby chic doors. I could not be mad as I found myself liking her now permanent artwork so much that I re-did the whole thing around it and painted in her flowers and grass, leaving them as she originally drew them. It now sits in Scarlett's room and Stella is quite proud of it. You never know where you will find inspiration, I often get it from my children's art.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

From Philly love to fluky features.

works in progress preview, by jen 2009

So I thought I'd say a little something while I have a quick minute. Last night I took a painting break to scope some of my favorite artist's websites and see what they're up to; one of the places I visited was --home of G. Love (+ his special sauce and music). I was surprised to see his post about cookie love, including his family Christmas cookie recipe. If you go check it out, make sure to listen to Superhero Brother and also the featured video--he throws it down--just he, his guitar and harmonica (nice). If you really dig him like I do, then it's worth at least hanging into the video feature long enough to hear Beautiful, featuring Tristan Prettyman.

As for the paintings, if you think they look chaotic and unrelated, it's not you, it's true. Heather, Mary, and I were talking about how our upcoming show has no theme, but we decided no theme is a theme...random, fluky. As pointed out by Mary (Hawk), it's remarkable we're able to paint and show at all with the demanding lives we all hold, so our jumbled themed gathering of paintings will be very representational of our lives.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Something to say.

church blue bird mixed media 2008 by jennifer

Imperfections = charm.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Divine Inspiration

After pondering my inspiration, and well, lack thereof, I decided to paint through my creative block in hopes of pulling together something, or even just to exercise my creative muscles.

So I decided to paint a simple rose just to get my artistic muscle juices flowing. After much creative frustration, I walked away to clean my brushes and noticed from afar that the flower had a face!!... and not just any face!! HA! I just accidentally painted Jesus!!! So I went with it and even made it more obvious (although I don't think it's finished yet, I'm almost afraid to alter it too much, I hate to mess with some divine intervention or something).

I finally had my inspiration... literally staring me in the face.

As soon as my 7 year old daughter saw it she immediately pointed out, "hey there's that guy in your flower"... my 14 year old son didn't notice (believe it or not!) until I strongly hinted... when he finally discovered it he asked, "is it dad?"... yeah we're not particularly religious, which is why I think this painting is so ironic.

I ran with it and decided to try to put Mary in my other flowers, but discovered it was much harder to do when you are trying to make it happen. I think I'll at least try to tackle Jesus in a tortilla or something... or maybe green eggs and ham. I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Speaking of Skulls...

lil cabeza 2008

Just for fun, and to emphasize how Heather and I are somehow on the same artistic page, I thought I'd feature a picture of the crochet friend I gave to Heather as a Christmas gift. We did a white elephant-type gift exchange (hand-made/re-purposed/or under $5); thankfully I did not receive the dog fur pillow. Heather at least likes me enough not to give it to me, or maybe she's just waiting for my birthday?

As for this skull, unlike Heather's sparkly sugar skulls--it's edible (yarn, poly stuffing, faux suede, and a rhinestone [lots of fiber]).

Also, Heather and I would like to give a little love to the theatrical art of Jet City Improv ( We spent New Year's Eve at the University Theater, watching improv comedy, mingling, and dancing--those at Jet City Improv are talented, funny [and tolerant].

That's that for today.


+ oh, and our last post did actually include words directly typed by Heather---we really were together, and I actually wasn't speaking on behalf of her (otherwise "she" would have said something much more embarrassing).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

sugar skulls by Heather 2008

Hello. Heather and I are here blogging together--just a little girl on girl action (sorry, shameless way to draw random google search visitors). Really we're here to bestow well wishes and greetings to you in the hopeful beginnings of this new year.

Heather and I were talking today about inspiration, why we create and what we have to say with our work, and have decided to briefly comment on our thoughts...

Jen's comments on art/2009:

As I pondered what art means to me, why I create and what I'm trying to say, I realized I'm not trying to say anything really. No message, just cathartic paint strokes creating aesthetically pleasing (hopefully) pictures of fluff. Sometimes there is meaning, but only meaningful to me. I guess it's really a translation of (candidly speaking) ugly thoughts and feelings into something I'm willing to look at. As for this new year: Bring it, let me see it--let's go.

Heather's comments on art/2009:

What inspires me? Usually inspiration comes from what I can produce in the 20 minutes I have while the baby is napping, or what I can create while helping with homework and eating tacos. Oh, also what paint coordinates with my sweatpants in case I get some on them (which I usually do) deep huh? I am mostly attracted to color and how it makes me feel. Like most creative endeavors, it's a release. Happy beginnings and happy endings to you in this upcoming year. Good riddance 2008!

*the above photo features some bejeweled sugar skulls that Heather recently created. I hadn't been to her house in a while, and they so fancifully caught my eye--we had to share them. Below is a preview photo of a painting I finished a couple of days ago for our upcoming show.

when life hands you lemons... by jen 2008