Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Touch up

I painted this last year, but made a few changes today. It was like being in the middle of summer again.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Hay Bales, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Painting: Celeste Bergin, White Flower, oil on 11x14 gessoed hardboard  (SOLD)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Painting over an old painting

It's been awhile since I've painted over an old painting. I will never run out of supports doing this. I just grab whatever is on top of my "experiments and failure" stack. (Don't ask me how many stacks like that I have..haha). Today it is my Deibenkorn experiment that will be "repurposed". Paint-over "recipe"steps below:

1. Put the thing on a different angle from how you painted it so you don't "see it"

2. Sketch the overall composition and add the "most obvious" colors

3. Throw in a neutral background painting into the objects a little so you don't get that "cut out" appearance

4. Continue to resolve shapes and for the purposes of this experiment, keep the values to just three.

6. Add and strengthen shadows and highlights ...finished!

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Pottery & Apples, oil on 11 x 14 stretched canvas

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day's End

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Day's End, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Friday, May 27, 2011

it's something everyday

On days when I don't wind up in front of my paints, drawing/sketching seems an equally satisfying way to clock-in valid art time. I keep sketchbooks and supplies in my big tote bag and out in the open in several rooms. I tackle subjects where I am or off the television, out of magazines or out of my head. I never think of drawing as a chore, it is a wonderful way to spend a few minutes ....or a few hours. I think if you don't like to draw.....well. you're just weird. haha.

Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Seated woman, pencil on 9 x 12 paper

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wrapping up a painting ......and the rest of the day

I'm nearly finished with this.  I've got to darken the face again and touch up/resolve a few places (then I'll call it complete).

Mufasa sez, "where are you going and why can't I go too?"

I helped Carolyn with the mural again today.... we also went out to lunch at Brasserie Montmartre (a french restaurant. "Yo!"). After lunch we walked to Art Media (in the pouring rain) and bought art supplies.

Check out this snowy owl that is "flying" in a store window downtown. I like how the building across the street figures into this photo.  (Raven and Owl is at SW Park & Morrison until May 31).

I always feel so lucky that I live in Oregon. No matter where you look and how "ordinary" the street...it's not ordinary at all. When it rains (like today) things look extra green. I never get tired of the green! :)

(Top photo) Painting, Celeste Bergin, On the Fence, (Homage copy of famous Ilya Repin painting) oil on 11 x 14 stretched canvas

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I ♥ the Gorgeous Gorge

I meant to finish the girl on the fence painting, but opted to take a day off of it. Why not, I work for myself, right? I have a couple of opportunities coming up where I might need to have some landscape to submit. I painted this using a previous painting for reference.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, The Gorge, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blocking in the girl on the fence part II

The block-in continues with the light side and the shadow side.  I'll be in a good position to finish this tomorrow.
Hey, What's going on with YOU today? I'm interested!

Block in part II, Celeste Bergin, On the Fence, (copy of Ilyea Repin painting) oil on 11 x 14 stretched canvas

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blocking in the girl on the fence

 All daily painters owe Duane Keiser a debt for coming up with the A-Painting-a-Day concept. I subscribe to Keiser's blog and (inexplicably) a post of his from 2008 showed up in my mailbox yesterday(?) Keiser's new/old post was about re-thinking the whole A-Painting-a-day thing. So why not.. I'll take that as a sign and paint what I'm painting... in stages! (Weird concept, eh?)

(Top photo): Block in, Celeste Bergin, On the Fence, oil on 11 x 14 stretched canvas

(Bottom photo): Keiser blog post (click to enlarge)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday .....!

Pencil sketch: Celeste Bergin, Sunday, pencil on 5.5 x 12 paper

This Strathmore sketchpad is 5.5 x 12, a unique format that makes the suggestion "hey sketch something tall and skinny or long and wide!" This is a sketch for a possible painting. Well, what about you... doing anything artful today?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Afternoon tea

Just another oil sketch..a ceramic teapot (good practice, but I totally missed the boat with "grounding" it onto the table, it's kind of "float-y").

Oil sketch: Celeste Bergin, Afternoon Tea, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Two kinds of painting

Here's my oil sketch from today.  I really enjoyed considering these shapes and colors.

Earlier today I helped my friend Carolyn Rondthaler work on a mural in a classroom at the First Unitarian Church downtown. The mural was conceived and designed by Carolyn's friend Jim Gronsand who passed away unexpectedly near the end of the project. It just needs a few passes of varnish and it will be 100% done.

That's me, what did you do today??

(Top Photo): Oil sketch: Celeste Bergin, Daffodil, oil on 8 x 10 canvas panel
Bottom photo 2:  Carolyn and Linda working on Jim's mural, photo 3: Mural detail

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Solo in the City

I am often drawn to the solitary figure... is he lonely...or does he simply prefer his own company?

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Solo in the City, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Oil sketch: Celeste Bergin, Spring Flowers, oil on 8 x 10 canvas panel

("In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love"):

Monday, May 16, 2011

Oil sketch

An oil sketch on a textured surface

Oil sketch: Celeste Bergin, Tween, oil on 8 x 10 stretched canvas

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday .....!

The first pass on a still life......may take it further (or may not)...we'll see!

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Still life, oil on 8 x 10 stretched canvas

Friday, May 13, 2011


I had a lunch with two friends today (it's Friday the thirteenth)...and I broke no mirrors and no black cats crossed my path. Whew! When I got home I couldn't for the life of me decide what to paint. I just could not come up with anything. Well, I came across this painting that I did in one of my previous life painting sessions and decided to put it up for today's post.  I recall that I painted it super fast, probably in less than three minutes. Sometimes painting fast pays off, as this has some positive qualities.  Remember, this is just an exercise in observation, not something that I thought I'd submit to MOMA or anything (yes, critical Greek guy whom I used to date in the 70's, this is directed at you..you can forgo sending me an email telling me what you don't like about this..I do not care!) For those of you who don't blog, consider yourself lucky, you never have to deal with the slings and arrows from people who insist on giving you unsolicited "reviews". Ok, moving on, here is a potpourri of some recent photos that I thought I'd share.

This is a batch of glass bottles stuck in a hay bale wall at the People's Food Co-op. The bottle bottoms "light up" when the sun shines through them...it looks amazing!

At the same People's Market I bought Carrie a Coconut water drink. She took one sip and her face went all "I just drank poison"-like. I thought she might be exaggerating, so I tasted it myself. OMG! It was truly the worst drink I've ever tasted ever. Deceptively innocent can.

They were making a movie right down the street from my house this week. The movie's working title is "GONE". The movie people commandeered several streets for days...and now they are actually...."gone".

This is a mural that I pass on my way to Tuesday art meetings. Portland is the "Rose City" and that rose in the center has 3 people depicted as "petals".  One is clearly Martin Luther King, but I always wonder who the other petals are supposed to be.

I'll always remember the great advice I got from the phenomenal artist Crawfurd Adamson...he said "draw and paint hands and feet all the time..everyone avoids it...... Don't".

So..... now what about YOU....how was your week ....?

(Top Photo): Oil sketch: Celeste Bergin, Profile, oil on 12x18 canvas panel
(Bottom Photo): drawing: Celeste Bergin, Feet studies, pencil on 6 x 9 paper

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


This is the plein air painting that I put into the PPASP group show at Bread & Ink, 3610 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland, OR 97214.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Summer Cottage, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hudson Schoolin it

This is painted with mostly Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Lemon Yellow & White. My aim was to paint a dark foreground to provide a foil for a lighter sky. I also tried to put down the strokes and leave them alone.  I may have too many soft edges here, but it was a good exercise... nonetheless.

oil sketch: Celeste Bergin, On the River, oil on 7 x 5 gessoed hardboard

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, everyone! Today is also my dear departed brother's birthday, so I'm thinking of both Mom & Tom today. They've been gone from the physical world for awhile now, but not a day goes by that I don't think of them.....I'm really glad they were "mine".

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Mother's Day Flowers, oil on textured 12x12 gallery wrapped canvas
Bottom Photo: Bernice Bergin 1919-2004
(Thanks to Jim Seidelman for the merged photo)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Train Station II

Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin,  Train Station II, oil on 9 x 12 paper

Friday, May 6, 2011


(be·spec·ta·cled:  Adjective: (of a person) Wearing eyeglasses)

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Coffee Shop Guy, oil on 9 x 12 canvas panel

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Today I made a 2nd pass on my beach scene painting. (it's influenced by artist Dan McGaw) My objective was to "slather" large areas of paint onto the canvas. Mission accomplished...(except I'll probably scrape some of this paint back!) Also I have to decide what I will do with the sandy foreground (confession: I've cropped the foreground out of my blog photo). Well this is why we should always have a solid plan. (I went straight to it without really resolving what goes in front). Mistake!....(But to be continued!)

Painting: Celeste Bergin, On the Beach II, oil on 24 x 24 gallery wrapped canvas

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In progress

I'm still having a look at how Dan McCaw does things.  McCaw uses a lot of broken color, relies on big linked shapes and often uses tons of neutrals. This is about 1/3 done. I'm taking a break from it until tomorrow. It's all just a big experiment.

In progress painting: Celeste Bergin, At the Beach II, oil on 24 x 24 gallery wrapped canvas

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


This was installation day for the group of eight+ at O'Connor's. Subject matter is routinely "artist's choice", so it is always a surprise what shows up. As an extra bonus today each artist individually talked to the group about their painting.

Our objective is to always get new art on the walls before First Friday each month. Next month the walls are passed back to the other regular artist for her 90 days. The best thing about being part of eight+ is that it is an opportunity to paint large paintings. (I'll try to remember to ask O'Connor's to replace my sconce bulb...!)
eight+: Carolyn Rondthaler, Carrie Holst, Mary Luzinski, Celeste Bergin, David McBride, Eileen Nelson, Katherine van Schoonhoven and Kitty Wallis.

At the end of the meeting some of us sketched at Carolyn's. The results are HERE.

(Now....what about you, did you have an artful day?)

(Top photo): Painting, Celeste Bergin, Sunlit, (after Dan McCaw) oil on 36 x 36 gallery wrapped canvas

Monday, May 2, 2011

......"Oh, sure" one said, "anything for art".

Mufasa the cat helps me make decisions about which paintings to take to the Blue Kangaroo in Sellwood this afternoon.

I had to sheepishly ask these women (who were firmly ensconced) to move while I hung my work. "Oh, sure" one said, "anything for art".

(David McBride and I have work at Blue Kangaroo through July 2011).