Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday at Studio 30

I did two sessions at Studio 30 today, but my still life in the morning session tanked. Our model in the afternoon looked brooding and wore interesting clothing. I was off to a rough start and had to eradicate her completely a couple of times...I hung tough, however, and in the end I was pleased with the result. I sure loved the white of her tie against her dark shirt.

I have been drying my paintings at Studio 30 in a locker. I decided to take them all home tonight...but Za stopped me before I loaded them into the car so that I could have a one-man-show in the hall. The idea was to look at how my earlier paintings compare to now.

Everyone in attendance at my hallway exhibit agreed that I've painted some good ones and some bad ones, but the recent paintings (beginning last week) have by far been the best. (...thank you, Za Vue!)

To see all the paintings from today....go HERE!

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Life Model, oil on 12x16 canvas panel

Thursday, May 30, 2013


The topic at our art discussion meeting was paintings that shouldn't work....but do (breaking the rules). I thought this painting might qualify. The big yellow-green swath of land takes the viewer off the canvas...but I think it's pleasing nonetheless. Maybe some of it's other positive qualities redeems it. To see all the art that showed up for discussion today....go HERE.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Mt. Tabor late afternoon, (2009) oil on 8x10 stretched canvas

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Back in my old graphic design days we used to do "rough layouts". Those layouts were not meant to be finished...they served mostly for loosening up and "random thinking". More than one of my recent workshop teachers expressed the thought that "rough layouts" are valid for oil painters too. The major difference is that there is no commercial ad involved... (and you're to use paint instead of pens), but good design applies to both communication art and fine art. 

To paint the "rough layouts" I sectioned off an old (failed) canvas with drafting tape and set up my Yarka easel in the front room. I made-up the compositions and timed myself (a total of 60 minutes). I managed to do 4, next time I'll try to work faster. It was invigorating to work fast.

The other day I was asked (by someone who doesn't paint) "why are you taking classes?"....(hadn't I already learned whatever it is that I need to know to proceed?) In my view the answer to that can be found in this quote from Pete Seeger (just change the word musician to artist):

If you’re a musician (artist), it means you’re going to die unfulfilled…you’ll spend the rest of your life on an upward learning curve, because you’ll never be as good as you can be. You’ll die an apprentice, a student, and there’s nothing better than that. To have achieved the best you can ever be––that would be a tragedy.” ---Pete Seeger

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Sectioned off rough layouts, oil on 16x20 canvas panel

(Seeger always gets the audience to sing with him):


I did some painting today, but it was too late in the day to photograph it. Instead, here is a sketch in my toned-paper sketchbook...a copy of a Sargent drawing. My, but he had beautiful models.

I took a walk in the late afternoon. My regular route took me past Beet's Auto Repair. They always have interesting things in their yard. This is a the hood of a truck made into a rabbit. It's propped up against a boat. Not something you see everyday.

(Top Photo) Sketch: Celeste Bergin, After John Singer Sargent, pencil in 6x8 Sketchbook 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day two, Za Vue Portrait workshop, May 26, 2013

Here's one of the portraits I painted in Za Vue's workshop. To see more photos from the day...go HERE!

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Profile portrait from life, oil on 16x20

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day one, Za Vue Portrait workshop, May 25, 2013

If you follow the Alla Prima Portland blog you're certain to have noticed Za Vue's paintings....they stand out as "routinely" excellent each and every week. Za's professional background includes working with Disney Feature Animation (for movies like Mulan). She now teaches animation at the Art Institute of Portland and paints with us at Studio 30 on Fridays.  Today was day one of her much anticipated portrait workshop.

Here's me with Za at my easel. Note how she used a step ladder to reach my painting. She's kind of short and I'm kind of tall. (Za innovates)!

At the end of the day we discussed our collective work and teacher and students alike were really pleased with the results. Go us!

To see more photos from the HERE. Day two is tomorrow. 

Friday, May 24, 2013


Today I painted in two sessions at Studio 30. We had a great model who was surrounded by flowers. She held up a compact mirror and wore a silk robe. Glamorous! I didn't quite finish, but I took some photos and I might complete it later.

To see what everyone did at Studio 30...go HERE.
To see the Thursday art discussion art...go HERE.

Will you have a wonderful weekend? What is on your docket?

(Top photo): Painting, Celeste Bergin, Life Model K, oil on 16x20 stretched canvas
(Bottom photo): Painting. Celeste Bergin, flowers, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

George's Birthday, May 22, 2013

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Today we celebrated George Broderick's birthday with a party at his Gallery in Rainier. To see all of the photos from this auspicious occasion...go HERE.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


At the Mueller workshop we were reminded that big shapes are so important. I made up this figure...(and focused mostly on "big shapes"!) I painted it over an old painting. It's just for practice.

Oil Study, Celeste Bergin, Practice figure, oil on 8x10 canvas panel.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Here is another small super-simple oil study that I did this weekend. It's a good idea to do lots of these...just dash them out.

Did you have a great Monday? I hope so!

Oil Study, Celeste Bergin, Landscape from photo, 5x9

Sunday, May 19, 2013


This is a small oil study from today's workshop class with Ned Mueller. The thing Ned stressed most was simple major shapes. The idea is to establish a good solid design and add details the very end.  Ned is SO GREAT and so were our hosts, Carol and Paul Hansen. There is talk about Ned coming back in November.

To see more photos from the day...go HERE.

Oil study, Celeste Bergin, Crouching woman, (from photo reference) oil on 6x8 canvas panel

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I'm in day two of the Ned Mueller workshop. He has done a lot of traveling to exotic places, so he has many beautiful reference photos. Ned says: "good art is an interesting arrangement of colors and shapes." Today our challenge was to paint from 3 or 4 different photos (combining elements from each). Apparently, in India women carry all manner of things on their heads. (I'm glad I live here--but I do love the colors of their Saris). It was especially fun to put down big shapes of bold color.  In the evening Ned treated us to a bonus portrait demonstration of fellow painter Jim King. To see photos from the day....go HERE.

Workshop Painting: Celeste Bergin, Marketplace, oil on 9x12 canvas panel

(Here are the people in attendance at the finish of the portrait demo: L to R, Paul, Carol, Hilarie, me, Jim, Ned and Roger)

Friday, May 17, 2013


I'm in Ned Mueller's 3-day workshop at Carol Hansen's studio. Ned provided stacks of interesting reference photos for us to paint.  (We had our choice of bringing in our own photos or choosing from the ones he brought). I opted to use his, but I felt indecisive about which photo to commit to. I decided to paint small studies instead of one painting. Ned stressed establishing major shapes and paying close attention to values. 

At first I was going to do these value studies in just black and white...but Ned walked by and said "add some red, it will liven it up." This figure had great shapes and the warm (red) and cool (black) definitely worked well, just as Ned predicted.

The third study I did was this little landscape. It was a great day and it went by super-fast. We'll be back in the morning. To see more photos from the day....go HERE.

(Top Photo) Oil Study, Celeste Bergin, Dingy, oil on 8x10
Photo 2 Oil Study, Celeste Bergin, Bearded man, oil on 6x8
Photo 3 Oil Study, Celeste Bergin, Landscape, oil on 5x7
Photo 4 Ned's demonstration and lecture

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Today's topic at our art discussion meeting was composition "dos and don'ts". This painting (above) is one that I brought as an example of a successful composition. It is a plein air painting that has good contrast and a nice variety of shapes. 

The meeting had great attendance..the best ever!

To see what everyone brought (we only photographed the "dos").....go HERE

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Corbett overlook, oil on 9x12 canvas panel

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I did some clean-up in "der bunker" studio today. I ran across this painting that I did on a cigar box a few years ago. It serves as a good reminder that oil painters aren't confined to canvases*. I enjoy how the embossed words on the lid show through the paint.

*I don't know what I'll do with this...if anything. I guess I could varnish it! It was an interesting experiment.

Here's what the inside looks like. I used to use cigar boxes as pochade boxes. When I first started painting "on-site" I loved putting a cigar box (charged with paint) into my tote bag and heading off to a coffee shop. So portable! I can't say I have any genius paintings from those days..but I remember the experience was fun!  I wonder why I stopped doing that...? Well, sketchbooks and pens are obviously a whole lot more convenient....but who knows, maybe I'll put paint back in this and head out with it once again. Why not!

Tomorrow back to finish the studio clean-up. Hope you are having a great week so far!

(Top Photo): Painting, Celeste Bergin, Sunflowers on 8 x 10 x 2 wood cigar box

Monday, May 13, 2013


Painting: Celeste Bergin, Evening, oil on 6x8 canvas panel

Sunday, May 12, 2013


I started a painting that went nowhere at the end of the evening I did this quick Conte' sketch. (The reference is from a magazine). I liked using a big eraser to create the lights.  (He reminds me a little of "the most interesting man in the world"). I'll have another go at the painting tomorrow. 

In honor of Mother's Day, I changed my facebook profile to this picture of my Mom. (I always did want to look like her!)

Here we are probably in the area of 13 years ago when I visited her in Florida. The absolute best thing about my Mom was her sense of humor.  She made me laugh most every single day!

This is the painting of my Mom that my blogging friend Crimson Leaves surprised me with last year. (She got the reference from a photo I had blogged). This painting hangs in my bedroom..and it is a treasure.
Yesterday I went to Eric Jacobsen's painting demonstration at the Sovereign Gallery. Slideshow (below).  Eric gave a great talk throughout the demonstration. Remember the big shapes!
(Direct link to photos: HERE)

(Top Photo) Sketch, Celeste Bergin, Bearded guy, Conte' in 9 x 12 sketchbook

Friday, May 10, 2013


It was a great afternoon for painting at Studio 30. There was just one session today. Here is our model, Ang. She looked super-pretty. I didn't like how her hand looked up to her face, so I elected to leave it out. To see what everyone else painted ...go HERE.

(Painting) Celeste Bergin, Ang, oil on 16x20 canvas panel

Thursday, May 9, 2013


This morning I went to our art discussion meeting at O'Connors. Afterwards Loretta and I went to a lecture/demonstration by Ruben Arizpe at the Oregon Society of Artists. On the drive home I called Dave and found out he had walked to Albina Press on Hawthorne. This happens to be on my route! I saw a great parking space out front and joined him for one more cup of coffee. We talked about Arizpe's lecture. I like this photo Dave took of me...I'm "drawing in my mind's eye" ....and my car is in the background.

To see what everyone brought to the meeting....go HERE.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I didn't paint or draw I am posting something from my sketchbook from last Friday. I drew this with vine charcoal. (Don't you love to draw?)
"Drawing is not the form; it is the way of seeing the form".    ----Degas

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Today we drove to Longview/Rainier to see George Broderick. (He owns a gallery, but he is also an artist).  In a world where many artists try to somehow fit-in in some sort of homogenous way... George stands out as completely unique. "Off-beat" has always been a good way to describe him.  We went to George's exhibit at the Broadway Gallery, had lunch at the Monticello Hotel and drank coffee at his studio. A great art day!  (Slideshow from our visit below .....or go to the direct link HERE)

 (Top Photo): Painting, Celeste Bergin, Sundown, oil on 5x7 gessoed hardboard

Monday, May 6, 2013


This is one of the paintings that I have in The Gorge White House this month. The reception was yesterday (Sunday).  I have 28 (mostly landscape) paintings in the show.

Hood River is a one hour drive from Portland, so it was a great surprise when my art friend Claudia Stockton (and her husband) came through the door.

Fellow plein air painter Tim Young also made the trip. Thanks, Tim! 

The Gorge White House has been a landmark on the scenic highway for nearly 100 years. The historic house is just part of a big operation that includes fruit orchards, u-cut flower fields, a winery (and now they are offering lunch too).

Here is my traditional celebratory photo to complete the experience.... Thanks to all (especially to new owner Carrie Kennedy for selecting me and for installing the work so beautifully). The show is up until May 31. 

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Columbia River, oil on 8x10 canvas panel (framed)

Saturday, May 4, 2013


The painting above is one of 6 paintings that I have in Lane Gallery's "Reigning Cats & Dogs" show.  The Lane Gallery arranged to have some pets available for adoption from the Oregon Humane Society at last night's reception....(and one little dog got to go home with a new owner as a result!) At the very end of the evening we managed to run over to First Friday in Montavilla to see Dave Burbach's photography at Pastrygirl. A really great art-filled evening! I hope you are having a good weekend too! (Slideshow below or use this direct link).

(Painting): Celeste Bergin, Have a Ball, oil on 9x12 stretched canvas (framed)

Friday, May 3, 2013


I painted the painting above with no time to spare at the very bitter end of the Studio 30 session today. (I had wiped down my previous that I had worked on for nearly three hours...sometimes that happens!)**

The still life session in the morning was super-fun...well attended, even though the good weather is beckoning painters outdoors for plein air. To see what all the other painters did today..go HERE.

** “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” (--F. Scott Fitzgerald)

P.S. If you have a moment, have a look at this intriguing video. It's short. (Direct link: HERE)

Thursday, May 2, 2013


This is one of the 6 paintings I have in "Reigning Cats & Dogs" at the Lane Gallery.  I have a real soft spot for cats and dogs, so this show is my cup of tea! (The reception is on Friday....maybe I will see you there!)

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Siesta, oil on 9x12 canvas panel (framed)