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):


mary maxam said...

This post is filled with just the BEST ideas and reminders!The quote is so true and I'd never thought of it quite like that- thanks!

CrimsonLeaves said...

Oh I do so love that little piece bottom right! I know you did this for an exercise, but each section is beautiful, Celeste. Love the video too.

Libby Fife said...

Seems like the layouts are akin to sketching and doodling and just getting your brain and pencil/brush coordinated together. Rather than just have the layouts in your head, you get them down on canvas or paper. Sounds just right to me:)

Dean H. said...

Those layout sketches are wonderful, Celeste!They turned out so well, they could be considered MUCH more than layouts!
We all must stay students.

hmuxo said...

"Rough layouts" sounds like a good idea and something I should practice in order to loosen myself up..!
Wonderful post, Celeste!!

Sheryl Anthony said...

thanks, Celeste! this is a great post about always being open to new things at all levels.

Page Railsback said...

Rough layouts..the best. No fuss or worry...Like it . we are so lucky to have painting in our lives and be forever students..Thx Celeste

Julie Ford Oliver said...

Your quick layputs are all fabulous. Yes...thanks, Celeste.
Art is continual learning and I love knowing I will never know it all in my lifetime.

Celeste Bergin said...

Thanks Julie, Page, Sheryl, hmuxo, Dean, Libby, Sherry and Mary! :)

Gary L. Everest said...

Hi Celeste,
Pete really knew what he was talking about!
Great post, as usual, with lots of good things to consider and attempt, the best being the quote from Pete.
Have a good day tomorrow.

Nancy B. Hartley said...

Celeste, I always learn something interesting and helpful when I read your posts! I love the quote. It is so true! Also love your idea about the rough layout! Thanks you for sharing so many great ideas!