Friday, September 30, 2011

Day's End

Today I made a trip to Elk Rock Island in Milwaukie. It's a fantastic spot!

Painting: Celeste Bergin,  Day's End at Elk Rock Island, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Painting: Celeste Bergin, Shuttered Window, oil on 9 x 12 stretched canvas

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


It's the middle of the week...time for some flowers.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Wednesday's Pansies, oil on 8x8 stretched canvas

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


On Tuesdays, after the regular breakfast meeting, we often have the "meeting after the meeting" at Carolyn's (where we sketch a few straight-forward items and have a 2nd visit). It's fun! A favorite Tuesday subject for me has become Carolyn's shoes. She always has a nice variety of shoes to choose from. I liked how these came out today....because I used that "less is more" approach. Other sketches from the "meeting after the meeting" are HERE.

Color Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Carolyn's shoes, watercolor on 6x9 gessoed paper

Monday, September 26, 2011


When I was a graphic designer it was a hard and fast rule that things (like logos) had to be created first and foremost in black and white. Color was never really thought of until everything was worked out (with no regard for color).  Now I am an oil painter, but I still very much admire beautiful shapes in black and white. This is a gesture done in nearly one stroke and there is no useless detail. I wanted to emulate a Sumi-E type "capture the unseen".

Painting: Celeste Bergin, In the rain, oil on 9x12 canvas panel

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday...Industry & Art on Swan Island

Today I went to the Industry and Art Exhibit at Swan Island. It was located in Building #10 of Vigor Industrial. It was fantastic to see an art gallery set up right there within the Shipyard.

Spacious! Plenty of room to view Henk Pander's two large watercolors and all the other industry art.

The lighting was gorgeous (both by fixtures and natural light). Alongside the paintings, photography and sculpture the employees of Vigor had their own show in the same building. Nice touch!

As a bonus I got to board and tour the only operational PT Boat currently in existence. PT 658 served in WWII.

Lots of things impressed me today...these stairs down to the PT boat were carpeted. I have to think that it was done just for visitors.

Here's "our" Steamer Portland, the same ship I painted from just the other day. It made the trip to Swan Island from the downtown waterfront, just for this event.

It was a beautiful day on Swan Island.... rainy but sunny too.

I hope there will be another Industry and Art show again next year. It's a great way to get people out to see places they wouldn't normally get to visit....and the art very eloquently honors those who work on the waterfront. Five stars!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


This is an oil sketch based on the flesh tones lesson I got yesterday. I'm trying my best to get things right on the palette before putting it on the canvas. Always a good idea.
In other news, I saw this video today (below) and the song got stuck in my head for a good part of the day.  If you are a Queen really should see (hear) this!

Oil Sketch, Celeste Bergin, Moustached man, oil on 9 x 12 canvas panel

Friday, September 23, 2011


Today I got to have a long conversation with one of my art friends about the zones of color in the human figure. Now, this is not just any art friend...he's an exemplary artist. (I'd tell you expressly who he is, but I'm concerned he could get bombarded with requests for lessons and he's not someone who teaches. I'm not sure why that is...he's good at it!)  Well, he took a lot of time today, reminding me that there are distinct areas of the face and body that receive more blood than other places and that it is mandatory to play temperatures off one another. The biggest thing I took away from the discussion was that there is a lot of neutral (or gray) in the face...but many are guilty of using too much "flesh-color". While I was at his studio I painted a portrait from a photo, and when I got home I did another, mindful of what we discussed. A productive day!

Painting, Celeste Bergin, Practice portrait #2, oil on 11x14 canvas panel

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Oil Sketch, Celeste Bergin, Rescue Boat on the Portland Steamship, oil on 12x9 canvas panel

Photo credit: Jerry Mack

We had another art-breakfast meeting today, this time at Bread & Ink in Hawthorne. Afterwards, some of us met up with Brooks Hickerson for the Portland Steamship paint out. I just did a couple of oil sketches, but I plan on going back in the future to do some more. It was a lot of fun to paint on the deck. The Oregon Maritime Museum is joining with the Oregon Society of Artists to put on a "tandem" exhibit of some of the Steamship paintings in 2012. You can see a slide show of our day: HERE.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Detail of a start

Well, who knows if this will fly...I certainly don't. It's a section of an underpainting. It's meant to be "skewed" (in case you are wondering if I'm drunk).

Unfinished underpainting detail, Celeste Bergin, Untitled, oil on 24x24 stretched canvas.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


My Tuesday:
See PPASP meeting HERE
See Dave McBride's reception (they opened the place, just for us) HERE
See Leaky Roof Sketches HERE
I've put off phase two of Actrice de théâtre.....for now (Thanks for all your comments).
and you...what did you do today? Tell me....I'm interested!

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Portrait with theatrical lighting, oil on 9 x 12 canvas panel

Monday, September 19, 2011

Female portrait (Phase one)

"Direct Painting" or "Alla prima painting" suits my personality. I prefer to paint all-at-once and in one sitting. Sometimes, however, it is clear that a painting requires a 2nd pass. Such is the case here! I just had to walk away from this ...consider it a good start and vow to return to it tomorrow. We will see if I really do that, because I have been known to lose interest in phase two. In any case, it is a great pose for practice.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Actrice de théâtre, oil on 18x24 canvas panel

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday .....!

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Floral, oil on 6x6 canvas panel

Saturday, September 17, 2011


When I was a little kid I used to wonder why certain things were so much like other things...for example, why did the face of a mouse kind of remind me of the face of a cat? And why did cats have eyes that reminded me of the eyes of a snake? As I painted these daisies today I thought about how flowers sometimes look like honey bees or butterflies..the shapes are so similar. Maybe everything we know and can see is "connected" and closely related. Hey, have you noticed how tree branches look like the veins of a person?
Painting: Celeste Bergin, Daisies after the rain, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Friday, September 16, 2011

Warm and Cool

I nearly did not blog this painting...but it has grown on me. Do you ever "almost not blog" a painting...because it is "too" something?.......too weird, too undone, too overdone too-too-too?  Some artists never share their "too" paintings, they will only blog the paintings they feel very certain about. And, where is the fun in that?
.............What's on your art docket?
Painting: Celeste Bergin, Warm and Cool, oil on 9x12 stretched canvas

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Exaggerated" landscape

My goal was to exaggerate colors and shapes in this landscape painting. I like the overall attitude and I might use it as a reference for a larger painting.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Sandy Delta Park, oil on 8x8 stretched canvas

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

sketchy sketchy!

No time to paint I did the next best thing... I sketched on gessoed paper with the (newly discovered) "Elegant Writers". (The Elegant Writer pens were apparently designed for calligraphy, but my watercolorist friend Carrie Holst showed me how adding water to the ink sketch results in a nifty wash). Recently I found out that "Elegant Writers" also come in assorted colors (aside from black). I bought my set at Muse.

Top photo: Sketch, Celeste Bergin, Idea for a painting, ink & water on 6x9 gessoed paper

 Sketch, Celeste Bergin, People milling about, ink & water on 6x9 gessoed paper

The Elegant Writers...(recommended!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Black and White

some high contrast.....for practice!

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Profile, oil on 10x10 canvas panel

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Study with a Limited palette

This is a study. I may paint a 2nd version. I used Ultramarine Blue, Ochre, Transparent Red Oxide, and white. Here are the steps:

1. I Painted in the basic shapes

2. I Established the darkest darks and painted them in with thin paint

3. Next, I painted in the lightest lights

4. Finally, I established all the other basic mid-tones and re-stated some darks

(If I want to finish this or do another I will place some additional lights and darks, and make some value and edge adjustments). :)

Oil Study: Celeste Bergin, Ballet Dancer, oil on 9 x 12 canvas panel

Ten Years ago

.... We were all New Yorkers that day.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Untitled, oil on 30 x 40 stretched canvas (SOLD)

Friday, September 9, 2011


I'm all in love with gessoing paper lately. This afternoon I gessoed some pages in my sketch books. I realize that it would probably make a whole lot more sense to gesso single sheets and then bind the pages into a sketchbook. Maybe I'll do that someday. I also cleaned my studio today and came across these works that I painted on gessoed paper. I like the freedom of paper.. If it works, fine...and if it doesn't's so easy to throw away.

Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Figure, Oil painted over black Gessoed 6x9 paper

Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Spiritual Road, oil on gessoed 9x6 paper

Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Self portrait that looks marginally like me, oil on 8x10 gessoed paper

Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Girl in a hat, oil on 9x6 gessoed paper

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Here is an intentionally patchy loose sketch of a woman. (Are women of ill repute still called "loose women"?) I had some fun using a liberal amount of green. See that area in the lower right corner that is light? It's not painted that way, it is the sun hitting the surface. I have never put a shade on my window in Der Bunker studio. Sunshine is certainly nice, but it is also aggravating when it is bouncing off of a white canvas.  I paint outside often enough, you wouldn't think it would trouble me much. Still, as I painted this I mentally put a pull down shade on my to-do list. Hey....what did you do today?

Oil Sketch, Celeste Bergin, Color Study/Female model, oil on 9x12 canvas panel

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Here is my new large painting installed today in the "eight+" show at O'Connor's .
Painting: Celeste Bergin, Moroccan Market, oil on 36x36 gallery wrapped canvas

Carrie and I dropped by George Broderick's beautiful show in the Loaves & Fishes Building in Multnomah Village. (Gallery Director Stephen Graham on left, Gallery founder Amy Henderson on right) 

I enjoyed how Amy & Company canted some of the paintings upwards for better viewing.

Carrie and I also managed to find some time to sketch today ..check out our drawings HERE.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Detail of a large painting

Tomorrow "the eight+"* installs new paintings in O'Connor's. We always look forward to this, because hanging at O'Connor's gives us an reason to produce large paintings. (They have big walls and tall ceilings). We've sold a fair amount of paintings there over time too (Hooray for "alternative spaces")! This is a detail from my newest 36x36 painting.

Painting (detail): Celeste Bergin, Morocco, oil on 36x36 gallery wrapped canvas

*("the eight+" are eight or more artists who attend PPASP meetings regularly)

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Train Station

Yesterday, at the reception at Broderick in Rainier, a woman asked me about this painting: "Is she saying Goodbye..or is she saying Hello?" --I responded.... "You decide."

(And George called me this afternoon to tell me this painting got a red dot today! That makes 5 paintings sold from the new show. Hooray!)

Painting: Celeste Bergin, The Train Station, oil on 9x12 canvas panel (SOLD)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Under the Sky" Reception at Broderick Gallery

Quin Sweetman, George Broderick and I had our reception at Broderick Gallery today. I had an exceptional time ...(even though I lost ALL the photos I took at the reception with my Sony camera, THAT was a DRAG!) Luckily, the paparazzi was in attendance, and I did wind up with enough photos at the end of the day for posterity. Best of all, I sold 4 paintings at the reception. Thanks to my art buying patrons, to all who came and to Quin and George! The show is up until September 30th.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

An opening reception for Under the Sky, a new exhibit at the Broderick Gallery in Rainier, will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Artists Celeste Bergin, Quin Sweetman and George Broderick explore places that exist in reality as well as in imagination.

The gallery is at 313 East B St. in Rainier. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays and by appointment. The exhibit continues through Sept. 30.

 (You're Cordially Invited!)

Opening Reception, Pacific NW Plein Air Competition & Exhibit 2011

 Me & Rachel Harvey

 Becky Joy, Diana Botkin & Me

 Cathleen Rehfeld, Caroline Mead, Me (again!) and Gregg Caudell

 Our Juror, Jim Lamb

"Serenade" by Celeste Bergin, oil on 8 x 10 (Honorable Mention :)

For more photos, go to the slide show HERE