Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

The Jane Eyre Painters (Kat Sowa, Za Vue, Jodi Burton, Quin Sweetman and I) have paintings on display beginning January 3 in the Art Gallery at the West Linn Library. Our reception is Sunday, January 13th at 1pm...(I hope you'll come...I'll remind you as the date gets closer).

On today, the last day of 2012, we drove to Rainier to visit with George Broderick. It snowed, we ate lunch, talked about painting and vowed to paint more (in a more disciplined way) in 2013.  (Slideshow below).

"The new year begins in a snow-storm of white vows".  ~George William Curtis
(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, The Reader, oil on 16x20 canvas panel

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Painting: Celeste Bergin, Water's Edge, oil on 8x8 canvas panel (SOLD)

Friday, December 28, 2012


I painted at Studio 30 today. This is Alex, a beautiful young woman who stood motionless for 3 hours. To see how the rest of the painters did....go HERE.

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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Art, it's everywhere

A recent walk through Sunnyside Piazza (SE 33rd &Yamhill) proved to be quite a visual treat. The graffiti above was on a metal power pole.

These numbers did not seem to have any actual purpose.  Who set random number tiles into this concrete? Well,  I presume the "actual purpose" might be to make people like me wonder.

This iron structure is like a open roofed pavillion --I liked looking up at it to see how it intersected with the colorful house.

I'm impressed that the Sunnyside Piazza community managed to get the City to ok putting big planters right on the street...not to mention painting the street and sidewalk lime green! How did they manage that??

In the center of the street is a giant sunflower. It's somewhat faded, but very happy-hippy-looking nonetheless. If you find yourself in this area (it's right off Belmont), swing by and take a walk. You'll probably love it..... like I did.

I also went to the art meeting at O'Connor's today. Check out the art that showed up for discussion HERE.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26!

Today is my birthday and as birthdays is an outstanding one. I even found time to paint this practice floral (using three values). I painted it quickly and it is not quite finished...but I might get back to it tomorrow. 

Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting on my blog all year are very much appreciated! .......Here, have a piece of my cake.

(Top) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Floral Practice, oi on 9 x12 canas panel
(Bottom) Photo: Birthday Cake

Monday, December 24, 2012

Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.” --Dr. Seuss

Painting, Celeste Bergin, On Christmas, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Sunday, December 23, 2012


I remember I worked with a graphic designer a long time ago who told me that she had a full-sized drafting table in her bedroom. She (apparently) would roll out of bed and jot down ideas/designs right then and there. She counseled me: "I can't imagine a creative person not having whatever tools they need wherever they want in their home". So... it's several years later... but her words come back to me now. I've got my new/old Yarka easel all ready to put up (and leave up) in the front room after Christmas. Yeah. You heard me...the front room...why not?!

No time for painting today. I'm getting ready for Christmas. The snow scene above is from my archives. What are you doing for Christmas?

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Snowscape, oil on 9x12 canvas panel (SOLD)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday (Apocalypse Day)

It would be my preference to be painting during any I went to Studio 30 for two sessions today. I didn't finish either painting, but I've got photos if I want to take these further. Hey! The world didn't end....Hooray! 
To see what everyone else did at Studio 30 during the Apocalypse that didn't happen....go HERE.

(Top) Celeste Bergin, Still Life, oil on 8x8 canvas panel
(Bottom) Celeste Bergin, Elizabeth, oil on 18x24 canvas panel

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Today was the Thursday meeting at O'Connors. The topic of the day was Composition. It was great to talk about the successful (and less than successful) aspects of the work we brought in. I brought this, something I painted plein air last summer. It's a bunch of people who were (of all things)...singing in the South Park Blocks. There is plenty to like about it...I have kind of a thing for strong contrast and silhouettes, but I abandoned this effort midstream because it just didn't make complete sense and the heightened contrast looked more nightclubby than Park-Blocksy. I'll probably remember what I do like about it and make use of those things in another painting another time. Meanwhile, I think it's a pretty good example of ..."poor composition".

To see all the paintings that everyone brought....go HERE.

Celeste Bergin, Singers (incomplete), oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday! (This & That)

Here I am wearing my PAMO ART T-shirt that was sent to me by my blogging friend PAMO.  I am facing Tennessee (where PAMO lives) and cheering: THANK YOU PAMO! (I sense that she is a little fond of all caps, else she'd be Pamo instead of PAMO). Seriously, I do LOVE my PAMO T shirt and I am very HAPPY it's mine....all mine!

A couple things I bought recently...a wonderful book about John Singer Sargent and a Strathmore sketchbook with tan paper. (At night I've been sketching some of the paintings out of the book and reading about Sargent. Great fun).

Sketches, Celeste Bergin, After Sargent, pencil on 6x9 toned paper

I stopped at "I've Been Framed" for some Black Gesso. (I'm thinking of doing more black gesso panels, like Cathleen Rehfeld does). 

I posted this photo of my basement studio on my wall on Facebook today. The comments were running about 50-50 about whether I should clean it up or not. 

It only took me 35 minutes to get it to this improved state. (The area outside of the photo is where the frames and boxes are so there is more work to be done). I'm gearing up to build my still life station to paint a lot of still life in "der bunker" this winter.

This was my was yours?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Take each day as it comes

It's too late to photograph the drawing I did today, so I'll post my favorite linocut. (I don't know who the original artist was). I'll be back......(tomorrow).

Linocut, Artist Unknown, Take each day as it comes, ink on 11x14 paper

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Skies are not always blue

All right, this is not an altogether believable sky, but we artists are not always in the believability business. I learned quite awhile ago that skies can be painted in all sorts of colors aside from blue. This is a "paint over". It is always cool to paint something over...ending up with something completely new. The steps are below:

1. I find an old painting that doesn't work. This one qualifies...poor composition and nothing much at all going for it. It is painted on a nice grainy wood support. That's nice!

2. I sand it lightly and dust it off.

3. The new composition is indicated in red paint.

4. I'm thinking about simple shapes and color harmony. (The design is from a previous painting)

5. The sky and the big shapes are massed in.

6. There are few elements in this painting...but the design is strong. I especially like the grain of the wood in the paint.  I'll add a little variety to the sky tomorrow..but I won't change it much! It's absolutely fun to "paint over"---!!

(Top Photo) Painting, Celeste Bergin, Mystery Creek, oil on 8x8 wood panel

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Still Life & Model sessions

I did all three sessions at Studio 30 today. (I love those painting marathons!) Here are two of my paintings from the day, to see the third and everyone else's work.... go HERE.

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Christmas still life, oil on 9x12
(Bottom Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Jodi, oil on 12x16

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Here is an oil study that I took to our art discussion about painting edges today. We talked about hard/soft edges, lost and found edges, broken edges, close-value edges, etcetera, etcetera! To see the other paintings that showed up go HERE.

I drove to Dick Blick downtown after the meeting and bought paint, brushes and panels. There is a lot at 50% off! The afternoon was especially pretty weather-wise:

(Top Photo) Oil Study: Celeste Bergin, In the Cafe, oil on 6x8 canvas panel
(Bottom Photo) Portland Pearl District

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Painting: Celeste Bergin, Winter Woods, acrylic on 9x12 gessoed hardboard

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


This is a still life that I've been working on at Studio 30.  I don't know if I'll continue it. I think I've lost interest, though it is a good start.  I'll determine if I want to go further at the next session. Meanwhile...

In her book Elizabeth Tolley makes a case for using your old worn brushes for scrubbing/massing, but using your better new brushes for most all other brushwork. I decided to replicate the old brush/new brush example from her book (below). Sure enough, the marks made with the old brush (top row) are more scruffy looking, while the marks made with the new brush (bottom row) are more clear and clean. I know, I know, this should be obvious! But proving it to myself in paint has driven home the point! This explains clearly why some of the paintings I've done with an old brush aren't as successful as those I've finished with a new brush. Food for thought!

(Top photo: Unfinished Painting, Celeste Bergin, Still life, oil on 12x16 canvas panel

Monday, December 10, 2012


The past few days have been super-busy....A big highlight was meeting Osy Milian, a beautiful, brilliant young artist from Cuba at Broderick Gallery. Slideshow below!

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Evening glow, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Saturday, December 8, 2012


The Studio 30/Cathedral Park Place Holiday Sale Show was today...thanks to everyone who came out! It was great to visit with all the shoppers, hang out with the other artists, have lunch at the Cathedral Park Kitchen, make some sales (yeah!) and cap off the day by doing some shopping of my own at "Milon Fashion" (I bought something cool --I'll show you later). Meanwhile, I'm putting my feet up and having a celebratory piece of chocolate cream pie. It just seems like the right thing to do.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Rain-walker, oil on 12x24 stretched canvas SOLD

Friday, December 7, 2012


Two sessions at Studio 30 today*....and then I went to the Reception at Lane Gallery. A great was yours? * To see all the paintings: go HERE.

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


Painting: Celeste Bergin, Shopper, acrylic on 8x8 cradled panel

Today was our Thursday art discussion meeting and the main topic was signatures. Total fun when we all signed a practice painting. There's a knack to signing with rhythm and flow. To see more about our meeting go HERE.

After the morning meeting I swung by the Lane Gallery to see a sneak preview of Carolyn Rondthaler's work. (She is the featured artist in the current show: Winterfest).  I'm honored to have some pieces in the Gallery too. The Artist Reception is tomorrow evening (information in the sidebar on the left). 

Me & Gila 

In the evening Dave & I went to Michael and Vicki Lindstrom's Holiday Open House. Yes, in the air!
(Nila catches me taking photos)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

You are Invited.....two Holiday shows

I’ve delivered five new framed paintings to the Holiday Treasures show at Columbia Art Gallery in Hood River. All the participating artists are offering small gems (no painting over 14") at great prices. There's nothing better than a one-of-a-kind gift! First Friday Reception, Dec 7th, 6-8pm, (the show continues through December) Columbia Art Gallery, 216 Cascade Street, Hood River, OR 97031 541-387-8877

(Click to Enlarge)
On Saturday, Dec 8th,  I’m pleased to be one of 5 artists involved in a One Day Holiday Sale at Studio 30 at Cathedral Park Place. We’re all providing some unframed work and some oil studies at lowered prices.  It’s a great opportunity to shop for original art at a savings. (There will be framed pieces available too!) Hours: 10-6pm. Hope to see you there! Studio 30 at Cathedral Park Place, 6635 N Baltimore, #30, Portland, OR 97203 503 314 3521

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Paint-Over Tuesday

Recently, I was in a discussion with some other painters about painting flowers with just 2 or 3 values. We agreed that it runs against our natural proclivity for detail,  but "No petals--just large shapes" is the mantra of many successful floral painters! I often suffer from wanting to paint my objective was to do the 2-3 value thing...(and why not go ahead and paint over an old crappy painting while I am at it...yes, why not!)
Here are the steps:

1. This is a failed landscape on it's side. The white chunk lower left was a house. I indicated the overall new shape with a dark red paint.

 2. I put down the two values and I'm aware that it doesn't look like this is going to work. I soldier on anyway.

3. I begin to add some detail (but not much) to the flowers.

 4. Once I add darks all around what I've painted thus is starting to look like something.

5. Just a few more large shapes and colors (No individual petals) and Voila! A good practice session that proves that large shapes and 2-3 values carries the day.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Flowers in the sun, oil on 8x10 canvas panel