Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Light one candle, 2010, oil on 8x8 wood panel

Thursday, December 30, 2010

what to paint, what to paint

Unless I have a solid plan, what to paint for practice is a completely serendipitous thing. Tonight I elected to do black & white oil sketch from a photo. I was attracted to the evening dress.

Oil sketch: Celeste Bergin, Petulant, oil on 9 x 12 canvas panel

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

To suggest

I saw an episode of Passport & Palette on PBS today. Kenn Backhaus painted a mountain in Switerland..(and it was superb, of course). One thing he said during this episode is something I have been working on recently. Kenn said (I'm paraphrasing): "Paint to the intelligence of the viewer, let them participate in the painting". I am certain what he means is that most viewers don't need to have things "over-explained", a suggestion is all that is necessary--that way the viewer gets to finish the painting themselves. This painting is a study...I may do another version (with more detail and color) in the future.
Oil Study: Celeste Bergin, Rain in the city , 9 x 12, oil on canvas panel

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


While the rest of the US is battling snow..Portland is having a deluge of rain. We might get snow ourselves this week...but thus far it's typical heavy Pacific Northwest rain.
My artist friend Loretta and I visited the Pittock Mansion after our PPASP breakfast meeting today. My painting was sold (in the Natural Beauty & Bounty show), but it is still up until the end of the exhibit (January 2). For the holidays each room at the Mansion was specially decorated and staged by professional favorite display was a wonderful precarious stack of dishes piled up in the sink in the kitchen. During our visit we were treated to some classical music in the front parlor. At the very end of our visit we dropped in on the Museum Store where I bought a wonderful little sparkly necklace (40% off!).
Well, what about you..did you have a great day (despite the weather)? What did you do?

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Long Tall Rain, oil on 6 x 12 stretched canvas

Monday, December 27, 2010

Black purse

Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Shoulder bag, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Today is my birthday!

Today, December 26, is my birthday. It is not the best day for a birthday....generally people forget it..and who can blame them? Everyone is traditionally worn out on December 26. I've been told many people with bum birthdays change the date to something better...but I could never change my birthday--I think I have always liked that it is a bad one! haha. Well, today was an especially good one. I was surprised to get pages and pages of well wishes on my Facebook wall (that was so cool!) and I've been treated royally "offline" too. Thanks to all of you for making my day such a special one...not to mention my year! I didn't get a chance to paint today so I did this retrospective slide show (a little look back.....just for fun.....)!

Slide show.......Just for fun.....December 26, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thank you!

It's nearly Christmas, a good time to reflect on my friendship with you! It means a lot to me that you stop by to look at what I am doing and that you sometimes leave a comment. It goes without saying that I am also appreciative to those who have purchased some of my paintings .....but I'll say it anyway!.... Thanks to the art make it so painters keep painting.

(I'm not usually a fan of sentimental subjects, but this time of year calls for a bear:)
Painting: Celeste Bergin, 2010 Christmas Bear, oil on 8x8 canvas panel (Update: SOLD!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Woman with an umbrella

Here is the painting that was difficult to photograph yesterday....just a bit of practice with chunky shapes.
Oil sketch: Celeste Bergin, Woman with an umbrella, oil on 9 x 12 canvas panel

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sketching after the PPASP meeting

Today after our PPASP breakfast meeting Carrie & I sketched at Carolyn's house. See what Carrie did HERE. I also painted with oils tonight, but my results proved impossible to photograph. I'll try again tomorrow. I hope YOU had an artful day...did you?

Top Sketch, Celeste Bergin, Louisa May Alcott-y looking woman from an advertisement, Watercolor on 6 x 9 paper
Bottom Sketch: Celeste Bergin, stack of books on Carolyn's table, Watercolor on 6 x 9 paper

Monday, December 20, 2010

Abandoned house

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Abandoned House, oil on 8 x 6 gessoed hardboard

Sunday, December 19, 2010

experimenting with liquid pencil...and Broderick Reception

Have you ever heard of Derivan Liquid Pencil? I saw it at "'I've Been Framed" and bought some. It has the consistency of mud. Once on the surface it dries super fast. The label said I could add water, but I just went with it as is. I did add some gesso and some "regular pencil" over the top. It was interesting...painting with graphite.

In other news from the day, I went a little early to help set up Broderick Gallery's Christmas Show. Once the reception got into swing I got to visit with some collectors, artists and of course, our host, George. If you missed the reception, you can still stop by, the show will be up until January 20, 2011. (313 E B Street, Rainier, OR)
Graphite drawing: Celeste Bergin, Intense gaze, liquid pencil, regular pencil and gesso on 9 x 12 paper

Saturday, December 18, 2010

City Nightfall

Painting: Celeste Bergin, City Nightfall, oil on 5x7 gessoed hardboard

Friday, December 17, 2010

Diebenkorn-ing it

Some of my artist friends have confided in me that they just do not like to draw. That just confuzzles me. One of my favorite artists is Richard Diebenkorn. Diebenkorn seemed to love drawing and painting equally and and he drew (pun intended) inspiration from others while maintaining originality. When I think of drawing....I think of Diebenkorn!
Drawing: Celeste Bergin, Drawing in a Diebenkorn style, graphite and gesso on canvas 12 x 16

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Broderick Gallery Christmas Show, December 19, 1-6 pm

Broderick Gallery is pleased to announce the Christmas Show, an annual exhibition featuring a broad selection of small-scale original paintings, prints, jewelry, photography, sculpture and mixed media. The Christmas Show will feature over 90 unique works of art from 20 different artists. Art gifts are one-of-a-kind, conveniently sized and ready to give!

Participating artists include Barbara Kaempf-Matkowski, Quin Sweetman, Richard McNally, George Broderick, Jackie McNally, Gary Stallsworth, and Celeste Bergin.
Reception Date: Sunday, December 19, 1:00-6:00pm, Broderick Gallery, 313 East B Street, Rainier, OR 97048, 503-703-5188

(Above, one of my paintings in the Christmas Show) Celeste Bergin, Misty River, oil on 7x5 oil on gessoed hardboard

(Click to Enlarge)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Last week I enjoyed painting on top of printed paper, so I've done it again. This time the article I randomly tore out of a magazine is about art and the economy.

Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Bright Landscape, oil on printed page 9 x 6

I like this essay (below) that was shared with me about painting no matter what the "climate".

(Click to Enlarge)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ten minute painting

Dinner party I had only ten minutes to throw some paint around. Here I have painted this made up woman over an old painting..(allowing a lot of the previous painting to show through).

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Ten Minutes, oil on 9 x 12 stretched canvas

Monday, December 13, 2010

Stage 2 landscape

I've painted the color onto the grisaille I had started a couple days ago. There are a few touch ups to do, but it's pretty much finished. This was another good experiment for me.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Creekside, oil on 12x9 canvas panel

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday .....and the week in review

My "planned" landscape has to wait yet another day...only time for sketching today. I had a great week, aside from the flat tire. I hope your week in review was a good one ....and that the week ahead will also be positive!
Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Cafe patron, charcoal on 6 x 9 paper

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I meant to work on the landscape that is waiting for me...but I've put it off another day.... Instead I painted this figure study.
Painting: Celeste Bergin, Figure Study, oil on 6 x 12 canvas panel

Friday, December 10, 2010

Phoning it in........!

Hello........? I went to critique today with two of my paintings.. I just got home. My grisaille painting is still not dry enough for stage 2. I started a drawing, but it didn't make any you know, I've decided to phone in a post. Hey..I have a video for you to watch.....Let me know what you think of it. Back tomorrow! Bye!
Photo: Celeste Bergin, Hello........?, Webcam with effects

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Time for something serendipitious while I wait for yesterday's grisaille to dry. I ripped a random page from an Art in America magazine to paint on. The page is mostly text and within it was this subhead: "Artists are like romantic heroes engaged with towering crises or like prophets of a gauzy future". Oh really? Typical heady Art in America type stuff! Well, painting on a printed page is very unusual...and I love how the type shows through the image. It is liberating to paint on something that is an untypical support.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Prophet of a gauzy future, oil on 8.5 x11 magazine page (Update: SOLD!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grisaille.....(stage one)

I routinely use the Alla prima technique, completing an entire paintings in one session without painting in layers. (Alla prima is also known as “direct painting” or “wet on wet” oil is an Italian term that means at first or all at once). Alla Prima paintings are meant to look spontaneous!

Today, for something different, I painted another Grisaille painting (like the recent teacup painting) but this time I used raw umber, a little Ultramarine blue and white oil paint for the Grisaille...This will be another painting that I will accomplish in two steps-- instead of directly. Stay tuned for stage two!

Grisaille: Celeste Bergin, Creekside, oil on 12x9 canvas panel

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Day..........and how was yours??

I was totally bowled over to see my friend Annie Salness tonight at her own fundraiser "Artwalk for Annie". I hope it is alright for me to say here that I am so grateful to all the doctors and medical staff involved in Annie's case... it's more than a miracle that she is here and her "old self"...(this fact is lost on no one!) The donated art was beautiful, sales were brisk..... my donated painting has a new home.
In other news... After the PPASP Meeting some of us sketched flowers at Carolyn's house. To see what the others did go HERE. P.S. And can you believe it? My garaged Spitfire (below) has another flat tire! ......I just fixed this! I guess I should be happy that this happens inside a nice warm garage. Well, how was YOUR day...did you do anything artful?

(Above) Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Tuesday bouquet, Watercolor on paper

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nanook of the North type model

I went to the Canvas Art Bar this evening for the Monday Night Costumed Model. The model was dressed in a crazy-wonderful fur outfit..part Nanook of the North and part 60's playboy bunny. I got there just a little late so I wasn't able to get my usual spot and my contact lenses were giving me fits...despite all that I had a great time! To see what the others did go HERE.
Painting: Celeste Bergin, Artic Woman, oil on 12x18 stretched canvas

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tea Time...Part Deux!

Today when I went to dive into applying color over my black and white underpainting, I remembered that I haven't always been crazy about painting over black gesso. Black gesso has a weird texture, so I decided to counteract the dry grittiness by slathering poppy oil over the entire surface prior to applying color. The addition of the all over oil made painting on top of the dry underpainting more like painting wet-into-wet (like I am accustomed to). In the end, I think this was a successful experiment..certainly it helped to have the underpainting for a perfect "blueprint plan".
P.S. I also learned when I took the painting off the easel that cad red looks an awful lot like blood on skin! (It seems identical in color). I don't use gloves to protect my skin..but I do use this barrier cream by Winsor Newton.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Tea time, Oil on 12 x 12 canvas panel

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tea time!

Here I have painted a tea cup and saucer in just black & white gesso. My plan is to add color tomorrow. This is not how I normally paint, but I thought I would give this black & white underpainting a try.
Would you like some lemon in your tea? Here's a song to go with our visit:

Underpainting: Celeste Bergin, Tea time, black & white gesso on 12 x 12 canvas panel

Friday, December 3, 2010


Painting: Celeste Bergin, Musician, oil on 9 x 12 canvas panel
(Update: SOLD!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A simple figure

My aim was to paint a person with simple shapes and colors...and to suggest and not over-explain.

Painting: Woman in slip, Celeste Bergin, oil on 12x9 canvas panel

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Copper Cup Study

Just a little practice!

Study: Celeste Bergin, Copper cup, oil on 9 x 12 paper