Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

----Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.-----Ralph Waldo Emerson

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Westmoreland Pond, oil on 9 x12 canvas panel

Friday, December 30, 2011


Here's a guy with an old-timey mustache, painted with three colors directly on a magazine page. I liked seeing the words on his cheek, so I left that unpainted. Painting these sketches on the printed page is great practice and almost always yields interesting results.

Oil sketch: Celeste Bergin, Mustached man, oil on 9x12 printed page

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Painting in the rain

Typically, steady cold rain makes me head for the coffee shop, but because Michael Lindstrom (who paints in the rain a lot) invited me to Burnt Bridge Creek today, I decided to throw in with him and brave the elements. Painting in the rain is a challenge. There is a distinct "repelling" sensation as the paint is put down, but I wound up liking the experience. Burnt Bridge Creek is a super pretty place and I thoroughly enjoyed the day! I may use this as a color study for another painting.

Color Study: Celeste Bergin, Burnt Bridge Creek, oil on 8x10 canvas panel

"Throwing myself" in! (my old golf rain jacket helped)

A Lovely spot ...I want to go back again

Vicki stayed dry under a tree

Michael captures the day

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Painting over an old painting....again

I recall seeing a brilliant book title: "Life is Goodbye, Life is Hello"...and I thought,  I don't even have to read that book.... the title is haiku enough.

I like painting over old paintings for the "Hello-Goodbye" aspects of it. (Steps below)

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Homestead (painted over "life model"), oil on 16x20 stretched canvas

1. Place the darkest darks directly over the old painting

2. Next, place the lightest lights (I used a palette knife)

3. Block in the other major shapes and approximate local colors

4. Add the sky (now the entire canvas is covered)

5. Strengthen the buildings and place final details ....finished!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Today I went to the Breakfast meeting at O'Connor's. It's always fun to take in a painting or two and see what other painters bring in also. I like this truck painting because it is a good example that proves that a seemingly complex subject is really a bunch of simple shapes placed next to one another. After the meeting Carrie and I wound up at a favorite place, Verde Cocina, for some sketching.

What about you...did you have an artful Tuesday?

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Old Truck, oil on 9x12 canvas panel

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy me!

Believe me, the day after Christmas has never been an ideal Birthday---but I've gotten so I like it now; it is a perfect day to "kick back" and it is super-surprising that people have sent me so many Birthday wishes...(I like it!)

My birthday has always been a good time to take stock of the year..and 2011 has been a great one, largely because of my art friends (and that includes you, my blogging friend!)

I found some time today to add a few revisions to this copy of a John Singer Sargent painting ....Sargent proves to us that grays are............ colorful..!

Painting: Celeste Bergin, after John Singer Sargent, oil on 16 x 20 gessoed masonite

Friday, December 23, 2011


Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Nocturne, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Thursday, December 22, 2011


My art friend Mark Larsen hosted a breakfast at Bread and Ink this morning.  A topic discussed was paintings that hit and paintings that miss. I brought in a stack of paintings that I felt "just" missed. Close, but no cigar. It was fun to talk about what went wrong. The painting above is probably my favorite in my stack of paintings that missed. The tree takes up half of the panel (vertically).......but the more I look at it,  the more I believe it has enough good qualities to override that compositional flaw.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Tree on the River, oil on 6x8 canvas panel

...and here is a little Chet Baker for Christmas:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Life painting session --"G"

Today's model "G" was pretty and had a "serious" look about her. My aim was to concentrate on big shapes!  Life painting sessions are over now for awhile, but I will try to find a way to paint models each week, either at Hipbone or from reference.

(Top) Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Portrait Study of "G", oil on 16x20 canvas panel
(Below) Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Figure Study, "G", oil on 12x16 canvas panel

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


This is a painting that I took to the breakfast meeting today....for "discussion". I told everyone that even though this painting is green-green-green and a little blah compositionally, I enjoyed how I made the big kind-of-nutty decision to make the sky green.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Sauvie Island, oil on 9x12 canvas panel

Monday, December 19, 2011


After last week's glazing experiments, I decided to do a little more glazing and also make some corrections to earlier work. Revisiting older dry paintings is a cool way to feel like you are getting a ton of stuff done...when, in reality, it takes very little time.  For the glazes, I used one part thinner to 2 parts stand oil, and then I applied the color where I wanted it.
(All of these paintings are "studies" and I was not heavily invested in the outcomes...I wound up pleased, though).

This bouquet was painted quite a while back. I like it because it is the complete opposite of "fussy". A glaze of yellow made it more interesting.

This painting received a light all over glaze of Ultramarine blue. I then went back and removed the blue out of the yellow. The glaze helped unify the colors in the painting.

Here are these people in the rain again..... I "obscured" her ugly foot. Good move, if I do say so myself.

I added a bit more color to this portrait. She was a cool experiment (with a grisaille). I'm calling her done now.

(1) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Wild Flowers, oil on 8x10 canvas panel
(2) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Reflections, oil on 8x8 canvas panel
(3) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Conversation, oil on 9x12 canvas panel
(4) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Portrait, oil on 16x20 canvas panel

That's my's yours?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dramatic values

Every now and then I have the opportunity to see an instructional art DVD. Recently I watched M. Katherine Hurley's "Dramatic Values". In the DVD Hurley "adds and subtracts" values with a black pastel and an eraser. I painted this painting tonight with her instruction in mind. (It always seems "naughty" to paint with some black! ....Will Santa know?)

Painting: Celeste Bergin, The River, oil on 8x8 stretched canvas

(And just for fun, here is a Potpourri no-rhyme-or-reason slide show of recent things, some photos taken with my iphone):

Saturday, December 17, 2011


This is a painting over an old painting. It's a big improvement over what it eradicated.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Yellow Tree, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Friday, December 16, 2011

Art Collecting (Part II)

Last night I met with my art friend Michael Lindstrom and I picked up my newest art acquisition, a wonderful plein air painting from Steigerwald Refuge.  My new painting is already installed in a perfect spot where I will see it every day.
 I thought this occasion is a good time to re-post  my "Art that I own, I am a Collector" post from July of 2011. I added a few new photos, but the list is still not quite complete.

I think most artists admire other artists..I'm no exception. For many years I didn't have anything much on my walls except for my own work, but recently I realized that now I have a good start on a great art collection. Some things I have purchased, some things have been trades..I love all these treasures (yes, even this questionable and "ugly" Dali). Welcome to my my collection, (scroll down, it's in random order):

This is a signed lithograph by Salvador Dali. it was purchased in 1978 in the Bahamas. It is from the "Pergatory" panels of Dante's Inferno. I have a certificate of authentication, however, Dali is the most forged artist of all time.  In order to be confirmed that it is attributed to Dali I would have to have it appraised by a firm that is accredited to authenticate in Dali. It's spendy and I don't know if I want to make the investment in knowing. This is the first "real art" (if it is) that I ever owned. I realize that it is very er...novel but the strangeness of it thoroughly impresses me,  along with the fact that it may be an actual Dali.

I bought this painting on eBay a couple of years ago. Thanks to my blogging friend hwfarber, I learned this was painted by Arturs Upelniek/Upelnieks (born 1911). Here is a link to a post about one of my favorite acquisitions. (An interesting thing that I later learned about Mr. Upelniek was that he was once lost at sea, and many of his paintings depict a relentlessly dark and foreboding ocean). Upelniek immigrated from Latvia and became a member of the Ashcan school.

A beautiful piece of pottery by Kurtis Piltz (no website). I traded a  painting for it.
I use it as an umbrella stand or to hold huge arrangements.
(The Kitty cat, Daisy is also a "prized possession").

Life casting, by Peny Wallace (I bought this in 2009, it is of Peny's daughter)

Another of my most favorite paintings, by Eric Jacobsen
I acquired it very close to this event.

A classic Eric Jacobsen landscape (isn't it beautiful!?) Acquired in 2009

Small painting by Eric Jacobsen purchased at Eric's studio sale

Small painting II by Eric Jacobsen purchased at Eric's studio sale

Brenda Boylan pastel (I traded a small painting for this)

Eric Bowman Acquired 2010 (I feel so lucky to own this!)

A study by Crawfurd Adamson (Gift from Crawfurd and Broderick Gallery)

Bonnie White, Gorge artist (purchased at Gorge White House)

Hanging vase by Margaret Synan-Russell

Painting purchased during Cathleen Rehfeld's Studio Sale

Cathleen Rehfeld (artist trading card, I still have to do mine)

Mosaic purchased at Bread and Ink Emilie Machon (no website)
The artist told me that when that cup accidently broke she announced,
"No problem, I will just use it in my next mosaic!"

Painting purchased during Portland Open Studios, Virginia Leonnig
... see the WPA influence?

Mark Larsen (trade for a painting of mine)

Kimberly Kent, purchase of one of her plein air encaustics (during her studio sale)

Kimberly Kent, (Gift) Abstract Expressionist Oil Painting

Mike Rangner, purchased at the Gorge White House

Scott L. Hendrie, Watercolor and ink portrait of "me" (gift)

Todd Smith Oil painting purchased at Todd's solo show at Gorge White House...(it's TOO good!)

Elizabeth See, Purchased at Columbia Art Gallery 10/10

Carolyn Rondthaler, (Watercolor), purchase from her show at First Unitarian Church, summer 2011

Eric Bowman, purchased in his "Collector's show" December 2011 (I ♥ this painting! )

Michael Lindstrom (Oil painting trade) My newest acquisition---Plein air, so thrillingly "fresh"

This is not absolutely everything..I have to add photos for work by Marcia Vander Schaaf, Stephanie Cissna, Karen E. Lewis and Olivia Jacobsen! It was fun posting my collection to share with you!
What about you collect art --what do you have on your walls?
 It is a good thing acquire art!