blog POSTS

With one day to do it and limited resources, The Stable's new Seattle office needed a quick and creative makeover, complete with original art work made in record time. Here's how you can go from neigh to YAY, too!

The cozy new seating area. Simply rearranging the existing furniture away from the walls and tying it together with a plush rug made a huge difference,

I love a good home or office makeover challenge.

This sort of thing is right up my alley.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've always enjoyed rearranging my bedroom furniture and belongings on a monthly basis. I was constantly trying to find ways to organize, decorate and improve my humble little room. I didn't grow up in a household with a lot of money to spend on decorative items, so I've become really good at making my own. This is a skill that comes in handy to day!

Case in point...

My fiancé, Nik, and I recently took a trip to Seattle to visit the brand new office space for the second location his agency, The Stable. When we arrived at the bare-bones office, it was screaming for help! The office had desks, chairs and a few random pieces of furniture scattered throughout (including a couple couches, a coatrack and pin-ball machine) and lots and lots of white walls. It did not (yet) have the same inviting vibe of The Stable's main office in Minneapolis, where the open, collaborative environment is modern and industrial.

With one day to do it, and limited resources, Nik and I transformed the office space with a little help from the nearby Target, Dick Black and some good ol' hard work. And in the end, we didn't need to spend a lot of money to make the space look expensive.

My immediate plan was to get to work on creating as much art as possible to fill those bare walls. Art is the first place I start when I am thinking of decorating a room because it's always naturally the focal point and sets the tone of the space. And, well, I am an artist and I know how original art can really bring life to a space. Furniture, rugs and other decor comes next.

Conveniently, there was a Dick Blick store located right next door to The Stable's new office, so I loaded up on the necessary items to paint with (see photo below). I bought several nice big, thick canvases to do some quick abstracts on as well as some small squares that could be placed throughout the office. I usually only use thick canvases for my paintings because they look more substantial on a wall, don't need to be framed and they are sturdier and resist warping. Abstracts are relatively easy to paint quickly especially when the color pallette is limited, but they still require some thought. A good artist friend of mine gave me a helpful tip when painting abstract art: you need to think of the title, a feeling or a real subject before touching the paint brush.

Abstract art isn't just random shapes and lines, it's a feeling or experience that can't be explained with words, but can be captured visually on canvas. And, they can create energy, flow and a modern cool-factor to a space.

I spent most of the day creating a total of nine paintings, ranging in size from small to large, some on canvas, some framed on paper. To keep my projects as simple as possible, I opted to paint minimal, modern abstract pieces. For the larger paintings, I used high-contrast, graphic shapes and lines to quickly add some energy and interest to to the main room. The smaller paintings add pops of color and texture to the adjacent room and can be arranged together or apart.

My makeshift mini-art studio for the day and the bare essentials.

I also found some supplies at Target. While these little craft paints are not ideal for paintings, they're quick and easy for little projects that require a quick pop of pre-mixed color.

I used thumbtacks to hold the paintings on the wall in place of an easel. This big, fat cheap brush is one of my faves for abstracts.

I like the flow of a triptych on a long wall because the shapes fill the space in an interesting pattern.

While it was an excellent place to start, creating art was only one part of the office makeover.

Nik and I needed to create some inspiring work areas for the new employees. No sense having cool art and nowhere to enjoy it! The space needed some furniture, lamps, decorative items and organization, but we were strictly limited in time, shopping options and on what we could fit into an Uber.

So where did we go? Duh. Target. But to add an even bigger challenge, the nearest Target wasn't even a real Target. It was one of those new mini-Targets that only has a small selection of home furnishings and decor.

Nik and I stuffed our Uber to the max with our Target bounty. We found a cool tapestry piece for $50 (I think it looks more expensive) to break up the types wall-decor. We found a big, plush rug for $99 that looks perfect over the cement floor and ties together the new seating area.

The shelf (pictured below) was already existing, but it needed some serious shelf-styling. Not sure if shelf-styling is a thing, but I think it is! A thoughtfully curated shelf is a work of art in-and-of itself. I like to mix books, mini-artworks, plants and shiny metal pieces. I don't advise trying to fill a bare shelf in one day because they should include personal items that are special, not just things from mini-Target.

I also love cool modern plants... tropical kinds specifically. I have them everywhere in my home and studio. While the mini-Target did not have any real ones (sad face), we bought every fake succulent and acceptable plant they had. It was either fake plants, or no plants, and I think fake plants are better than none!

#officemakeover #abstractart #thestable #seattle #valeriecarpender

32 views0 comments

Updated: Oct 19, 2018

TJ and I are back at it. I invited him over for some coffee and to check out some of my latest work... he inspired me by giving me a new cowboy reference photo to turn into a painting!!! You'll have to wait to see the finished piece!

Not only have TJ and I become buddies, he's also shot some of my favorite studio session photos with me. I love working with him because he patiently waits for special little moments to capture with his lens- perfectly messy and in-the-moment. While we are shooting/painting, sometimes we talk and laugh about stories, and sometimes I'm really into my painting groove and we don't say a word!

Enjoy some of our photos from a day in the studio!

To see more of TJ's work, visit his website.

#tjturner #valeriecarpender #artist #studiosession

24 views0 comments

Updated: Oct 17, 2018

St. Lucia is definitely the most magical place I've been!

I'm so excited to announce that I'm engaged! I couldn't be more happy that I get to marry my favorite human on earth, Nik Larsen. Introducing him as my fiancé is going to take some getting-used-to, I'll admit, but it's a pretty awesome thing to be able to say! I didn't think it would feel different being engaged, but it does. This is next-level love.

For those of you who don't know, Nik was one of the very first people to buy art from me back when I was a Senior at MCAD. I didn't realize he owned one of my first originals until we met a couple years ago and he told me! It goes without saying, he's been a supporter of my artwork since the very beginning. His support has never wavered. He lets me make art messes all over our condo (literally in every room and on every surface) and never says a word about it. It's true love!

When Nik proposed, he didn't disappoint. He'd been planning how he'd do it for months! We took a trip to St. Lucia and stayed at the picture-perfect Viceroy Sugar Beach- situated in between two giant volcanoes called the "Pitons".

On the day he proposed, he woke up early and left me all alone. I didn't even hear him leave.

I woke up to a very loud knock on my hotel door around 7:30am. There were two strange men, which would normally be alarming, but one of them was holding an iPad and the other coffee and this had me curious. One of the men introduced himself as Cannis and he asked if he could come in and show me something. I was confused!

Cannis showed me a video on the iPad (it was Nik's iPad!) . This was the first video in a series of very professional, very fun videos that Nik had created back in Minneapolis! The first video was of him basically telling me "This is a proposal, and I will see you at the end of this journey!" Cannis instructed me to put on hiking clothes and to get ready for an adventure. I brushed my teeth and out the door I went!

The next stop was breakfast, where Cannis showed me the second video. In this video, Nik had convinced many of the employees at his company, The Stable, to participate as actors! The video included SNL-style skits and funny clips that had me laughing through breakfast...ending with a custom rap song and music video. I could hardly eat my huevos because I was laughing so hard! After breakfast, I found myself following Cannis into a van to the next unknown location.

The beautiful Pitons in St. Lucia.

The next leg of the journey was a hard one, but well worth it! Cannis led me up to the top of the Grand Piton! It took us about two hours, it was hot, and I was a sweaty mess, but I loved it! As we were climbing, I kept telling Cannis "I know he's up here waiting! He just has to be! He'd never let me climb this mountain without him!". Cannis would never confirm this was the truth, but I knew Nik was up there.

And I was right. Right before we reached the peak of the Piton, Cannis showed me one last video. This video...made me cry! Nik had taken video of himself driving up to my Mom's house in Forest Lake,with lunch and an orchid in his passenger seat with the mission to ask her if he could marry me. He also wanted to ask my father (who passed when I was in college) while being at my home with my Mom. What a guy! At the top of the mountain, Nik was waiting. He asked me, I said "yes"!

St. Lucia will always be the most magical place on earth to me. Sugar Beach, the Pitons, the people at the Viceroy who helped make our trip so memorable are all memories I'll cherish forever!

58 views0 comments


Valerie is a Minneapolis based multimedia artist who has carved out a unique career doing what she loves each day- creating.  


Using every medium she can get her hands on, creates her own rules for what it means to be an artist- from meaningful commissioned artwork and custom guitars and handbags to live art performed in front of thousands at events as large as the Super Bowl. She has also has established herself as a leading fashion model, where she has traveled the globe shooting everything from magazine covers and brands such as Spanx, Champion, Calvin Klein and Target.