Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Big Sky, mid-day

This was painted at the Tree Farm in Helvetia. (The tree in the foreground would never have made it as a Christmas tree--too much bend!) For another truly beautiful sky painting with a brilliant poem, visit Pam Flanders.

Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Mid day, 2010, Oil on canvas panel, 12 x 6 inches.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Helvetia Lavender Farm

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Helvetia Lavender Farm 2010, Oil on gessoed hardboard, 6 x 6 inches.
Watercolor sketch: Celeste Bergin, View from Nancy's house 2010, 9 x 6 inches.

Paint out results from the other participating artists are HERE.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Life painting at "The Canvas" Art Bar & Bistro III

Tonight's model, Desiree, had a "Something about Mary hairstyle". The other results from the evening can be found HERE.

Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Desiree, 2010, Oil on stretched canvas, 16 x 20 inches.
Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Desiree sitting, 2010, Oil on stretched canvas, 12 x 9 inches.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Degas in the dark & a report from Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts

This is an oil sketch on toned paper. I just used the paints I had left on my palette. Painting is a lot like drawing when it is handled "quickly". It's from a reference of a portrait of Degas.

I got to visit the Lake Oswego Festival of Arts show (and fair) today. The show included an invitational show ("the Chronicle"), a big non-juried art show in the large tent behind the Lakewood Center and another juried art "fair" at the George Rogers park down the street. I enjoyed looking at the variety of art styles...and it was especially fun to visit with my friends Miriam Selby and Rachel Harvey. I've never participated in the Lake Oswego show, but next year I might put it on my's beautifully organized and participation by both artists and art supporters is high. On the way back to the car I talked with a man who purchased two works by Wayne Chin. "I just could not pass them up, he said, I couldn't leave without buying both of these."

(Top) Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Degas in the dark, 2010, Oil on paper, 6 x 9 inches.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Inspired by Edouard Manet ♥

Edouard Manet’s flower paintings were painted at the end of his career and life. I like Manet's work so much because his paintings were fresh and simple ..completed with loose brush strokes. His concept rejected the careful shading and color transitions of botanical illustrations that were popular during his time. His works, including his flower paintings and other still-life images, employed the direct approach (no layers). I've painted my version of one of his simple rose get a feel for the strokes he used.

Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, To paint like Manet, 2010, Oil on canvas panel, 12 x 9 inches.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Inspired to try the knife again

A while back some of my artist friends and I watched a Richard Schmid video together. In the video Schmid discussed his palette knife and demonstrated a beautiful straight building wall with it. (We all loved that part!) Friend and teacher Thomas Kitts also showed us a plein air painting he did recently that employed great knife-work in the foreground. I thought I would dust off my knife today too. I used it for the building in this painting. It will take awhile to feel comfortable with an unfamiliar tool. I know I will benefit from practicing more with the knife.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Farm, 2010, Oil on gessoed hardboard, 12 x 9 inches.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nightfalls on the city

I spent the better part of the afternoon and evening photographing work. I came across this little plein air that I like from last year. I painted it in a big hurry from my car.

Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Nightfalls on the city, 2009, Oil on gessoed hardboard, 7 x 5 inches.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Life painting--Rachel in a red dress

There's a great article on Eric Bowman's blog about painting people. Often my figures come out looking a bit too tutti frutti (I struggled with jumpy color again today). Still--I completely enjoyed painting Rachel..she looked fantastic in a "Carmen" type dress.

Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Rachel standing, Oil on canvas panel, 12 x 16 inches.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sketching at Albers Mill

After the art discussion at O'Connors today we went to Albers Mill, a commercial building on the Willamette River. We were rewarded with sun! (something we haven't seen in awhile). I did not have my paints with me, but I was happy to "paint" with my Elegant Writer pen (thanks again, Carrie Holst, for telling me about it). As I looked across the river to the other side, I remembered seeing a lot of "storage dome" sketches/paintings on Bill Sharp's blog. He is so good at the urban sketching/painting. Taking in the scenery I said: "Hey, there is Bill Sharp's dome". Check out his storage dome at dusk.
....And here's what the others did today on the Behind the Scenes blog.

Sketches: (top to bottom) Celeste Bergin, Fremont Bridge, Storage dome & Silo, Donna sketching, "Chellship", Pen on 6 x 9 paper

Monday, June 21, 2010

Life painting at "The Canvas" Art Bar & Bistro II

I met several of my painting friends at The Canvas, Art Bar & Bistro for the Monday evening life painting session. This is my 2nd time there and I can't say enough good things about it. If you are in the area on Mondays and want some figure practice "The Canvas" is an outstanding place. The session is only 2 hours, but we all seemed to have gotten a lot done during that time. Check what everyone did HERE. Come out and join us next Monday!
Painting: Celeste Bergin, Gypsy Girl, Oil on canvas panel, 20 x 16 inches.
Painting: Celeste Bergin, Gypsy Girl II, Oil on canvas panel, 16 x 12 inches.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A portrait ...that looks like someone other than the subject

Some time ago our art discussion group did a "portrait swap" type thing. We were supposed to do our own portrait and one of our partner. My partner was/is Mary L. The project sort of died on the vine...but there was a recent idea to resurrect it and put the results on our group blog. So, I unearthed the painting I had started of Mary L. It really doesn't look much like her at all. About the only thing that does look like her is her hair color and style... Got that right. Strangely, the portrait looks a great deal like accused murderer Casey Anthony. I don't know exactly what to make of that.
If I revisit another painting of Mary L I need a better reference than I had or she needs to come sit for me.

Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Mary L looks like Casey Anthony, Oil on canvas panel, 12 x 12 inches.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Picnic Area

A few years ago, during my first workshop, I learned that an appealing composition can be the "dark foreground". I had that idea in mind when I painted this.

Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Picnic Area, Oil on canvas panel, 8 x 8 inches.

Friday, June 18, 2010


This painting had a little house in it. It looked awful so I scraped it off and replaced it with some trees. It is so important if you are going to paint a house that it be a solid house and not an iffy house. Take it from me.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Landscape...sans house, Oil on canvas panel, 8 x 8 inches.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Life painting session..."Kira" (II)

Our Model felt faint during the session, (oh, that's right! Models are people too!) so we had to take more breaks than usual (so she could recover). She was super-professional and soldiered on despite feeling poorly. I was moderately successful in capturing her facial likeness..but I hope I get another chance (....and that she doesn't give up life modeling)!

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Kira II, Oil on canvas panel, 16x20 inches.
Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Kira standing, Oil on canvas panel, 16x20 inches.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Me" by artist friend, Scott L. Hendrie

Before the internet it is most unlikely that I would have met Scott L. Hendrie. He lives a couple thousand miles away from me. I can't remember why we started a correspondence...but we've enjoyed trading (war) stories about the ad business and he and I also share the Midwest in common. Today, in my email I received this awesome pen and watercolor portrait of me. He gave me good hair! (Thanks, Scott!) It was a great surprise and I really love the portrait. Long ago I had a portrait of me (done by a professional) that was so "off" I used to turn it to the wall. Ultimately I just had to throw it out! But..this...well, I think Scott "captured" me..Do you agree?

Visit Scott's blog:
Scott L. Hendrie

Painting: Scott L. Hendrie, Celeste, Watercolor and Pen

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bright light landscape

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Flare, Oil on canvas panel, 8 x 6 inches.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Life painting at "The Canvas" Art Bar & Bistro

Last Monday a few PPASP-ers went to The Canvas (1800 NW Upshur) for the free life drawing/painting session from 6:30-8:30 pm. This week I decided to go check it out. It is a great space, we had a very competent (and interesting looking) model and they have an excellent menu along with wine & beer. Remarkably, if you forget any supplies, or arrive without any, The Canvas even provides an art supply store where you'll be able to pick up anything you need. The model is free (but it is customary to tip her). If you are in Portland and you like figure drawing/painting, The Canvas gets my wholehearted recommendation! (I think it is every Monday evening). To see what others did tonight, click HERE.

Painting: Celeste Bergin,Chelsea, Oil on canvas panel, 12 x 16 inches.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

No painting today..BUT!

I didn't paint anything today. Instead I made up my mind that I would clean up my "bunker" studio (in the basement). I can't bring myself to upload the "before" photos. Suffice it to say--My bunker studio was chaos. There were so many things on the floor I had to step around everything. Since it is finally nice weather I was able to take things out the door onto the patio. I put "like with like" and wound up with stacks of sketchbooks, paintings, frames, materials and books. I spent all afternoon on this project and I will continue working on it tomorrow.
At last the floor is visable again. Phase II of this project will be photographing all my work to update my website (long overdue).

I keep this portrait of my Father's Mother in my studio (see below). It seems funny to call her my Grandmother, because I never met her. Her name was Otilla and she died young, long before I was born, during a big wave of tuberculous in Illinois. Her husband (my grandfather) died too, within days of Otilla and my Father and his siblings were orphaned at an early age. I lead such a life of privilege compared to my Father's family! I bet my Dad's family would think it is funny that I spend my time painting paintings. They were farmers.

I want to report that I also had a portrait photo taken by Phil Harris with an old old camera--(what kind of camera took Otilla's photo?) I bet I won't like any of the results from the photo session...(not sure my hair looked any good)... but if they look all right , I will post results.

All right...that was my day.
Is your studio messy .....or tidy? Where do you store your completed paintings?

(Click photos to enlarge)

Saturday, June 12, 2010


This is painted on one of those thick wood panels with a hole drilled in the back (so that it can "go frameless"). After I finished painting it, I wished I'd painted it on a regular panel like I usually do (so that I could consider framing it in the frames I prefer). Well, I like a lot about it!
Painting: Celeste Bergin, Summer!, Oil on gessoed birch panel, 8 x 8 inches.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wee bird

This is sort of an experiment in repeated shapes. Just for fun.
Painting: Celeste Bergin, Wee bird, Oil on gessoed hardboard, 4 x 4 inches.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Light and Dark

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Light & Dark Study, Oil on paper, 11 x 14 inches.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

little tree....big tree

I painted this a couple of days ago. I wasn't so sure I managed to create adequate distance, but after looking at it today, I think I did. Tonight I added just a little dark to the right side. I like the big size contrast between the little tree and the big tree.
What are you working on?
Painting: Celeste Bergin, Discovery Center Study, Oil on gessoed hardboard, 10 x 8 inches.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sketching at Camp 18...for Carolyn's Birthday

Every year we celebrate Carolyn's birthday at Camp 18 in Elsie, OR. We had breakfast and then checked out all the antique machinery. Have you ever seen a train car in the forest? It's an unusual sight. I did a couple of acrylic sketches (and had a fair amount of struggle because I forgot that I didn't bring enough white). Well, no matter, I had a wonderful time and I got lots of photos in case I need reference. To see what everyone did go here.

Bottom photo: Acrylic sketch: Celeste Bergin,Camp 18 Big Wheel, Oil on gessoed hardboard, 6 x 8 inches.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cloud Study

Oil sketch: Celeste Bergin,Cloud Study, Oil on gessoed hardboard, 6 x 8 inches.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

On the river

Painting: Celeste Bergin, On the River, Oil on canvas panel, 8 x 8 inches. ©2010.