Saturday, April 30, 2011


Here's an oil sketch that I did for the Behind the Scenes April Challenge. I liked how dark the figure looked in the window-light.

Today I also dropped by to see George Broderick at Broderick Gallery in Rainier. George is busy getting the show on the walls for "May Day." (Reception Sunday May 1, 1-6pm). Whenever he says Goodbye George likes to wave his white kerchief...he has that flair for the dramatic. (See photos below).

(Top photo) Oil sketch: Celeste Bergin, Artist in the Window, oil on 9 x12 canvas panel
Bottom photos): Broderick May Day Show in progress, New Gallery sign, Broderick waves Goodbye

The sleeping redhead

Bloggers, do you ever check your blogger stats? According to mine, this painting is my most viewed photo. Since I didn't paint anything today, I thought I would put her up. Why is she so popular?  Perhaps it is because she is willing to go to sleep without removing her ruby red lipstick.

Relaxed party girl, you're ok in our book.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Redhead, 2009, oil on 12x12 canvas panel

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Just a little landscape practice. Yellow is the first of the primary colors that should drop away as distance increases.

Painting: Celeste Bergin: Away in the distance, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Green Truck II

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Old Green Truck II, oil on 12x12 gallery wrapped canvas

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sketching after the PPASP meeting at Carolyn's

After our rousing art discussion at O'Connors today a few of us went over to Carolyn's to sketch at her table. We call it "the meeting after the meeting". To see what the others did, go HERE.

Monday, April 25, 2011


I'm enamored with the work of Dan McCaw. This painting is painted with him in mind...he often favors strong contrast, a limited palette and he seems to cycle through beaches, ballerinas and cafes as his subjects. If you own his book A Proven Strategy, you might want to keep it under lock and key. It's out of print and highly desirable.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Cafe, oil on 16 x 20 canvas panel

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Painting: Celeste Bergin, Easter Bouquet, oil on 5 x 7 gessoed hardboard

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Comcast installation woes...and something uplifting

We've spent two days on a new television/internet/telephone installation package project. Two solid days..and it's not over yet, because things are still wrong. Just one computer works (not mine) so I am "borrowing" use of another just to blog this message. We have no wireless internet and the phones are screwed up too. I won't be able to answer emails very fast until this Comcast fiasco is resolved. Meanwhile, before I lost the internet today, I ran across this short video message from 91 year old Marge Champion. (Thanks for the link, Ronni). I am sure not many of you will remember her, but I do. She and her husband Gower Champion were dancing legends. I love what she said about how each stage of life has it's rewards....Well, what do you think, is she right?

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Choices, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Mountain Cabin

Just painted for fun...checking out color relationships. The yellow light looks more yellow because it's placed next to muted green and grays...(edited to add: and it goes without saying, but apparently I have to say it anyway, that it would look even more bright against yellow's complement purple...though that was not my intent).

Oil sketch, Celeste Bergin, Mountain Cabin, oil on 8 x 6 canvas panel

Thursday, April 21, 2011

oil study

A quick study that speaks to the kind of day it was today.

Oil sketch, Celeste Bergin, Lunch hour in Portland, oil on 9 x 12 stretched canvas

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Painting: Celeste Bergin, The Messenger revisited, Acrylic on 11 x 14 canvas panel

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Painting: Celeste Bergin, Last Flower in the Bouquet, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Monday, April 18, 2011


I painted this awhile ago....but it's my first time sharing it.  It's pretty much "intentionally graphic". I remember when I painted it I wanted it to seem like the viewer was becalmed in a boat,  a little blinded by the sun on the water...stopped for a moment... enjoying the rustle of the reeds.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Summer Breeze, Acrylic on 24x24 gallery wrapped canvas.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Less is More

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Less is More, oil on 6 x 12 canvas panel

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Some land; some water

An alla prima painting from a previous painting.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Sandy River Delta, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Painting over"....from no-drama...... to drama

It's so fun to paint over old paintings. I never get tired of it. The painting I selected to be obliterated is from an old life painting session. The model (in photo 1 below) was dressed like an arctic playboy bunny, which should have been verrrry interesting, but I struggled with the confused un-directed light.  For this paint-over I had resolve to be much more deliberate about light and shadow. I used a photo reference where the figure was lit from below.  I think I can make some corrections and heighten the drama even more, but meanwhile I'll count this a successful exercise.

(Top photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Nightshirt, oil on 16x20 stretched canvas
The Steps:
Step 1: I smeared Liquin all over the old image 

Step 2: I turned the canvas upside down and massed in the new overall shape 
Step 3: This shows the placement of major shapes paying attention to "new" values. 
Step 4: Refinement of features 

Step 5: More shapes added with "directed" dramatic light
Step 6: Final touches added...Complete!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"The Woman Who Needs No Dog".....

I donated my painting, A femme qui n'a pas besoin de chien (The woman who needs no dog) to the May 7, 2011  benefit/auction for the Oregon Feral Cat Coalition. All the attendees of the gala benefit will have the opportunity to bid on (and win) the painting. The "Furball" is a popular event hosted by Meterologist Matt Zaffino. To find out more click on the logo below.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, A femme qui n'a pas besoin de chien (The woman who needs no dog), oil on 30x40 stretched canvas

About Donating to Fundraisers (reprinted from FidelisArt):

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Life painting session --"K" and Cello

This may be my favorite pose from all the Wednesday sessions thus far.  I enjoyed how the model's black dress looked next to the red/orange Cello...and it was extra engaging to consider all the lovely shapes of the instrument.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Rehearsal, oil on 16x20 canvas panel

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Orange sky

Oil sketch: Celeste Bergin, Pastoral evening, oil on 7 x 5 gessoed hardboard

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pink Umbrella, Part Deux

Weather-wise it was an intermittently rainy day today...that's Portland (and I like it)!  Appropriately, I made some improvements/adjustments to my pink umbrella painting.  Earlier today I joined Carrie on Clinton street for some neighborhood sketching. First we visited People's Food Cooperative and then we wound up at NoHo's Hawaiian Cafe. See our results HERE. Well, that's my report for Monday, whatz your report?!

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Pink Umbrella II, oil on 12x16 canvas panel

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday .....!

I painted a very quick plein air, just to keep my hand in. I also swung by Carolyn's show at Eliot Hall.  I added to her bottom line by purchasing a beautiful new watercolor.  My Sunday was was yours?
(Top photo) Oil Study: Celeste Bergin: Spindly tree, oil on 12 x 9 canvas panel
(Bottom photo) Carolyn Rondthaler & me at Eliot Hall

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Just an exercise: dark tree & foreground against light background.

Oil Study: Celeste Bergin, Lonely Road, oil on 7 x 5 canvas panel

Friday, April 8, 2011

Something....completely different (for fun!)

I've seen some art painted directly onto cigar boxes and I thought it might be fun to try it for myself.
One of the nice things about oil paint is that it will adhere to pretty much any surface, as long as the surface is primed. So, here are the steps for "my" cigar box (photos below):

1. I applied acrylic gesso to the box (I probably should have given it several coats, but this is an experiment and just only did one).
2. I sketched directly onto the box with charcoal and fixed it with spray fixative
3. I painted the darkest darks
4. Then the lightest lights were placed
5. The mid tones came next, paying attention to the light source
6. Done!
Aside from the preliminary drawing with charcoal, this was just like painting any painting for me. It was fun and I enjoy the "dimensionality" of it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I posted this painting on Facebook recently and it got good reviews. That's one of the cool things about social media, your "friends" can serve as your own marketing survey. While it can be said that people in these situations are always just being nice, I still make note when I get more than just a couple thumbs up.  I like to know what kind of painting seems to "strike a chord".. just for future reference.

Recently one of my friends told me that she doesn't approve of uploading art onto Facebook because of copyright issues. Hmmm, lots of very good artists do not seem to share her concern. What do you think? Do you like or loathe "social media"?

(Top photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Refuge, oil on 5 x 7 gessoed hardboard
(Bottom photo) "Good Reviews"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Life painting session --"S(2)"

Today our model held a violin and was dressed like a street musician. We've had this model before;  she has remarkable stamina for the long pose and she never moves a muscle. She looked very Oregonian in her olive drab clothes. Half way through this painting I started laughing (to myself, of course), because it dawned on me how much my painting looked like a foot soldier holding a gun. She might have seemed less militaristic if the clothing were a different color, but it was what it was, and I "soldiered on" (pun intended).
 I didn't finish my 2nd painting (below), but it was a good start and I might use it for reference together with some photos that I took today.

(Top photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Seated figure, oil on 9x12 stretched canvas
(Bottom photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Unfinished portrait, oil on 9 x 12 stretched canvas

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What time is it?

Tuesdays are a favorite day for me because of the regular PPASP breakfast meeting at O'Connor's. We go around the table in turn to  tell one another what we are currently working on. Sometimes people bring in a painting or book just for the exchange of ideas. Often after the meeting some of us get together for a quick sketch session.  I enjoy dashing out these simple is super practice for honing one's observational skills. What about you....did you have a great Tuesday too? What are you "currently working on"?

(Top Photo) Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Carolyn's clock, pen on 6 x 9 paper
(Middle Photo) PPASP breakfast meeting
(Bottom) Photo 2: Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Italian books & demitasse, pen on 6 x 9 paper, Photo 3:Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Mary Jane shoes, pen on 6 x 9 paper Photo 4: Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Olive oil, pen on 6 x 9 paper
(To see what the others sketched today, go HERE)