Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rough Draft Virgin (II)

Here is my 2nd only slightly more detailed than yesterday's thumbnail sketch. My third version is on the horizon. I might stay with charcoal or consider a black and white painting. As a side note, a long time ago I had an answering service (for my graphics business) was at the beginning of outsourcing, so it seemed I never had the same operator when I called for my messages. They almost always mispronounced my name, which was very aggravating because I was paying a small fortune for the service. Here is how it would go:
Answerer: "Good Morning, Berjin-Gallup Design".
Me: "Good Morning, uh, it's me Bergin. pronounced Berg-in with a hard g. You know, like Candace Bergen. You all keep saying it like it rhymes with virgin. Can you stop doing that please?"
Answerer: "Of course, Miss Berjin....will do".
Me: sigh.

Drawing: Celeste Bergin, "Study II for Virgin/Baudry", vine charcoal on 6x9 paper

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thumbnail study

This is a pencil thumbnail I did in my sketchbook of a drawing called "Study for Virgin" by Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry . My plan is to do a larger version.

Thumbnail: Celeste Bergin, "Study for Virgin/Baudry" pencil on 5x7 paper

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

O'Connor's --one of the "Eight+"

"Bather" Celeste Bergin Oil on 36 x 36 gallery-wrap canvas

The Eight+ put up new art today at O'Connor's. I love the spot I have between some sconces over a favorite table. My painting depicts a woman with a yellow towel. It is intentionally spare of details...a "less-is-more" way to describe the brightest glare at the beach.
This month's artists: Kitty Wallis, Katherine van Schoonhoven, Kimberly Kent, Carrie Holst, Carolyn Rondthaler and Eileen Nelson

Monday, September 27, 2010

Judy, "Third Ballerina" and the end of the Plein Air 2010 show

This was my figure submission into Saturday's Quick Draw. A fair resemblance, but I hope to get another chance to paint her again one day. Yesterday I went to George Broderick's solo show "The Third Ballerina" at his wonderful Gallery in Rainier. (To have a look at the opening and exhibit go HERE). Today I helped take down the plein air show at Columbia Art Gallery and I finalized a painting to take in to hang in the Eight+ show at O'Connor's tomorrow.

1. Top Color Sketch: Celeste Bergin, "Judy" (Quick Draw) 16 x 20 Oil on Canvas Panel
2. George Broderick's Gallery
3. Columbia Art Gallery...empty of paintings

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Quick Draw was FUN!

Some of the painters who participated in the Columbia Art Gallery Quick Draw (click to enlarge):
(L to R back row) Janet Amundson-Splidsboel, John Wilder, Marcia Vander Schaaf, Gretha Lindwood, Mary McCoy, Quin Sweetman (L to F front row) Stephanie Cissna, Celeste Bergin, Karen E. Lewis, Christopher Mooney, Cathleen Rehfeld To see more about the day go HERE

One of my Quick Draw paintings (from downtown Hood River): "Mikes Ice Cream" 8x8 Oil on Canvas Panel

Friday, September 24, 2010

Quick Draw, Saturday September 25, (Hood River)

The Quick Draw is tomorrow in downtown Hood River. There will be a model on the lawn of the library and we are also invited to paint anywhere downtown and at the marina.

It is sponsored by Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River and Bellas Art Supplies. There is a reception for our work Saturday evening from 6-8pm at the Columbia Art Gallery, 215 Cascade, Hood River. Maybe I'll see you there!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall is in the air

Painting: Celeste Bergin, The changing season, 2010, 8x8 oil on canvas panel

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday sketches

Carrie and I popped over to Gabriel park where I found out that painting trees in gouache is tricky! I abandoned my effort and reverted to the trusty elegant writer pen to sketch the dark trees against the bright sky--it turned into a pretty day! When we were finished at the park we stopped at Caffe Autogrill. There were no customers to furtively sketch... so we we had a piece of coffee cake and sketched the signage. See what Carrie did HERE.

(Top) Sketch, Celeste Bergin, Gabriel Park, 2010, Pen on 6 x 9 paper
Sketch, Celeste Bergin, Caffe Autogrill sign, 2010, watercolor on 6 x 9 paper

Monday, September 20, 2010

Life painting session at "The Canvas"

I took part in the life painting session at the Canvas Art Bar tonight. I missed last it was great to be back. I got to get more umbrella practice in...the model used a green one for a prop. You can see what all the other Monday evening Canvas artists did HERE.

Painting, Celeste Bergin, Umbrella girl II, 2010, oil on 14 x 18 stretched canvas
Painting, Celeste Bergin, 2nd pose, 2010, oil on 14 x 18 stretched canvas
Painting, Celeste Bergin, Umbrella girl I, 2010, oil on 11 x 14 paper/foam core

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Painting, Celeste Bergin, Portland Rain, 2010, oil on 8 x 10 gessoed paper

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Flowers on a rainy day

Painting, Celeste Bergin, Flowers to cheer II, 2010, oil on 5 x 7 gessoed hardboard

Thursday, September 16, 2010

back seat incarnation of Lori

One of the major reasons I really like my old Toyota car is because I can easily fit a 30x40 painting in the back seat. I often have a painting or two in the car..(because I'm picking paintings up or delivering them). I had this painting in the back seat one night when the driveway motion light went on, creating this uber cool design on top on my painting "Lori".
On the subject of unusual portraits, my artist friend Todd Smith is undertaking a series that he is calling exaggerated portraits...I was surprised to see my portrait tonight on his blog. Go over and have a look--he really captured me and my animated look (and the title "Sun Worship" appeals to the former-Floridian in me)--Thanks, Todd!

Light design over painting, Celeste Bergin, light on painting of Lori, 2010, digital photograph

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I found some pastels today and I did this pear study. What about you sometimes work in a different medium? I'm going to do more pastel studies this winter.... for sure.
Pastel Study, Celeste Bergin, Pears, 2010, pastel on paper 8 x 12

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sunshine through the rain

Today after our art meeting several of us went over to Carolyn Rondthaler's house to watch Kurosawa's movie: "Dreams". The first dream was about a boy who learns from his mother that he must stay home when the sun is shining and it is raining at the same time because "foxes get married in weather like this..and they get very angry if you see them." The boy disobeys and goes to watch the procession in the forest. This first dream of the movie ends without an answer. We wondered..did the foxes forgive the little boy for seeing their marriage? Kurosawa's dreams were sometimes grim...but even so... the imagery was so exquisite...all the darkest parts had to be accepted. (that's like life, isn't it).
Some time ago I had a blog discussion about sun shining through rain. I found out there are superstitions and sayings about it in every country.

Painting, Celeste Bergin, Sunny but raining, 2010, oil on 8 x 10 canvas panel

Monday, September 13, 2010

Self portrait & clean up continues

I learned from Harry Kent's blog about this cool thing called the Zefrank Scribbler. Harry did a masterful self portrait with it. I wondered as I did my portrait if I'd do a better job of it if I have a regular mouse instead of a laptop touch pad. Well, it was fun, even if it was like drawing with my toes. You should try it!
I worked more on the studio clean up today. So, yeah, I already showed a photo like this one a couple of months ago, but this time all the paintings are better organized. About 2/3rd's of these paintings really SUCK, but I have learned that a bad painting is a precursor to a good painting. My plan is to sand some of these down to paint over and to keep and frame some others.

Scribbler painting, Celeste Bergin, This is me, 2010, electronic/jpg

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I painted today!

I continued working on my studio clean-up today and as luck would have it I unearthed the floor paint for "der bunker studio" (I work in the basement). So then it seemed like a good idea to hit the floor with a fresh coat. I spent all day on this clean up project and there really is no end in sight..I have too much stuff! Why have I kept all this stuff?? Too many frames! Too many boxes! Too many satchels! Well, honestly, I know I will be happier when all of this is done. When der bunker is clean and organized it is quite a good spot.
P.S. Hey, I have 301 followers! This seems like something to celebrate. I think I will have a dish of ice cream. Does that seem appropriate? Thank you, followers!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Using Photoshop to think things through & starting my studio clean-up

This is a portrait that was done in a life painting session. The model wore a lilac scarf and reminded me of Kirsten Dunst. I revisited her today (the painting, not Dunst)....and she is still quite a crappy painting, but I puttered around making improvements here and there. (Sometimes that seems a valuable paint over something that went wrong just to see what helps and what doesn't). When I put her into Photoshop I saw that one side of her face was substantially too wide. Why didn't I see that when I painted her a year ago and why didn't I see it when she was on the easel today? Well, it is easy to make measurement errors when you are working from life and it's a good thing to change your perspective (like look at things upside down or in a mirror). When I saw the painting in Photoshop it had that changed perspective effect. As I shaved her face down (in Photoshop) she looked improved right away. (The "too wide face" is on the left and the correction is on the right). I seldom use Photoshop in this way...but it helped to confirm my suspicions after I saw the problem and now I have put it into my memory bank to avoid the error in the future.

I'm inspired by blogger Suzanne Berry..she has been cleaning out her studio and I'm going to follow her lead and do the same. I started today but I didn't get far. I started looking through some of my old sketchbooks. (Mistake, but I liked the walk down memory lane)...There was an ink blot that I had made into a face. It now reminds me of work by Harry Kent. I liked running into a the colorful city (Portland, I guess...that looks like the KOIN tower). I don't remember doing the super vague vine charcoal face, but I enjoyed seeing it--- there is so little to it it's like a wisp of air. I guess I did not ever date these things (I always put a date on sketches now). Finally, I came across a "memory" drawing that I did of me and my Mom sitting together when I was very young. I sketched it immediately after my Mom died in 2004. In the sketch she's holding my report card. It comforted me to draw it back then and I was glad to see it again today.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Running into artist pals and looking back

I had to attend a meeting today at Columbia Art Gallery about the upcoming Quick Draw* (I get to help organize it!) I ran into my artist pals Vicki Zimmerman and Stephanie Cissna who were there to take in the Pacific NW Plein Air 2010 show. We're all from Portland, a one hour drive. It was a great surprise to see them (unexpectedly) away from home. The Quick Draw is for anyone who is interested..any level whatsoever. Learn about it here.
Also...I located a batch of figures on my computer (done during 2009-10) and I thought I'd put them together into a slide show for this post (since I didn't paint or draw anything new today). It's nifty to see the figures (painted mostly from life) all in one place. Do people still say "nifty"? If not, they should.

Top photo (L to R): Me, Vicki Zimmerman and Stephanie Cissna

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Painting from reference and studies

I used my previous tracing/drawing and the photo reference (in yesterday's post) to do tonight's painting. Half way through it I forgot why I was doing this exercise..oh, that's right, I just wanted to link big shapes together and also see if good planning helps get the idea down quickly. A better experiment would have employed more shapes and color----(Next time)! It was interesting to approach painting in a new was like stepping back in time and working alongside Neil. I'll watch the other Boyle DVD in the near future and I may paint this yet again more seriously.

Painting, Celeste Bergin, Long wait, 2010, oil on 8 x 10 canvas panel

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An experiment (inspired by Neil Boyle)

Yesterday I watched Neil Boyle's composition DVD and he showed how he used photographs, mineral spirits and tracing paper to make design and composition decisions. I really didn't understand why the mineral spirits (applied between the photo and the tracing paper) would help..but I thought I'd try it, as an experiment. Boyle would do several tracing/drawings and slide them around for placement (his paintings were often "bussle-ing" with activity). I could understand the value of sliding several drawings around for ideas, it was reminiscent of how we graphic designers decided on placement(s) years ago before computers. I just used one simple photo, however, just to see how this tracing/mineral spirit thing worked.
Verdict= I think the mineral spirit/tracing/black pen drawing was helpful....but my choice of photo has very obvious black shapes..(and honestly, I can clearly see them without this tracing business). Just the same, it's apparent that what Boyle was doing was merging and linking large shapes to solidify the design prior to painting it.
After I did the Neil Boyle type tracing drawing I did my own drawing which I think was also helpful (and better because it incorporates some subtle things that the tracing does not include). Bottom line, It is it important to be able to use strategies to make better paintings..whatever that may be, and also have the ability to draw. Neil Boyle certainly is a shining example of someone who took advantage of all the tools available...including his own draftsmanship, to get the best result. Boyle stated during his talk that illustration and fine art were "one and the same". I agree with him. (Tomorrow I'll paint a study from my roughs).

From top to bottom
1. fashion photo from the 1950's
2. tracing paper
3. mineral spirits meets photo
4. tracing paper on top of mineral spirits & photo
5. pen drawing on tracing paper
6. freehand drawing from reference (I'll
pay more attention to the hand in tomorrow's painting)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Meeting....Neil Boyle

I purchased a couple of instructional DVDs from eBay a year ago. I finally watched one today entitled "Dramatic Lighting and Composition by Neil Boyle". Neil Boyle died about 4 years ago and this video was shot long before. It was markedly devoid of is just this wonderful, humorous, talented man talking a streak (without any break) about how he composed his paintings. Even though Mr. Boyle isn't any longer physically with us, I find it remarkable that I can feel as if I have spent some time with him today...learning some of his methods. He had a very wry wit and he was an outstanding artist. Later I'll watch the 2nd DVD and give a "review".

Neil Boyle 1931-2006
Photo by Scott Burdick

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Yesterday and Today

When I have lots of painting things going on I leave my gear in the front room. Not just happens. I finally cleaned it up. Evidence, the photo below. (Hooray! neat now). Inching along in traffic yesterday I saw this "BAD DOG" sign. (Click to enlarge the photo below)--the "bad dog" is sitting next to the building and he's a resin sculpture. I took the photo and thought...."well, I'm just going to have to blog about this!"
Today I stopped at Columbia Art Gallery on an errand, and I ran into Michael Fisher. Michael likes the show and he agrees that he should apply next's right up his alley. After that I stopped over at Todd Smith's reception at the Gorge White House. You should definitely visit within the month to see his work ....and maybe even make a purchase (I did!--I will show you what I bought when I get a good photo of it). The Gorge White House always has a wine tasting to go with the art opening. I saw Carolyn Rondthaler there---she looked all sparkly. In contrast, I was dressed in my painting duds-- I finished out the day at Sandy Delta to paint a study. Now I have painting stuff messing up my front room again. haha.

Painting (at top): Celeste Bergin, Sandy Delta, 2010, Oil on 6 x 12 canvas panel

Neat front room, Bad Dog on East Burnside, Michael Fisher at Columbia Art Gallery, Brimstone & Hellfire wine, Todd Smith at The Gorge White House.

Addtional info on Todd's show

Friday, September 3, 2010

Reception, Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2010, Columbia Art Gallery

Reflection, 2010, Oil on 8x8 canvas panel SOLD

Columbia Gorge, 2010, Oil on 8x8 canvas panel SOLD

Gorge Glow, 2010, Oil on 7x5 canvas panel SOLD

Me & Carrie Holst

Tatiana, Jef Gunn & me

Janet Amundson-Spildsboel & me

Night falls on Hood River

To have a look at last night's preview party click HERE