Monday, September 30, 2013


Painting: Celeste Bergin, Chances of Rain, oil on 5x5 canvas panel

Sunday, September 29, 2013


(Painted with the grays left out from yesterday).

Painting: Celeste Bergin, In the rain, oil on 12x24 stretched canvas

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A very rainy Saturday!

What a great day to paint in the studio. I decided to do a quick copy of one of my favorite Manet paintings....Portrait of Berthe Morisot. It's not a perfect copy, by any means--but instead of a slavish reproduction, my objective was massing big shapes and .....working quickly. Here are the steps:

1. It's always gratifying to use an old panel that didn't work out. I turn it upside that I don't 'see' the other image.

2. Slapping down dark paint

3. indicating some quick placements.

4. massing in the light side of the face.

5. establishing (quickly) the shadow side.

6. putting down more big shapes

7. I didn't want to labor over this (it's just a study)...but I see I need to slow down some...and take more care with the drawing.

8. I've made her face too slender and her mouth isn't centered. Luckily...this is just paint and I can wipe things out and make revisions.
9. starting over with her mouth.

10. putting in the background.

11. After the corrections...I am thinking this is a fairly good study...but then I see I have her looking down instead of how Manet had her looking at us. 

12. it's only paint--! So I eradicate that downcast eye.

Ok...! This is the finish. The printed copy I used to paint from made her cooler in temperature than many of the versions I later saw on the internet. Maybe I'll do a warm version next time. I enjoyed doing this and working fast.  I'll do more of these copies/studies!

(Top Photo) Painting (after Edouard Manet) Berthe Morisot, oil on 16x20 canvas panel

(p.s. I didn't get to go to Art Discussion Thursday...but ----if you want to see what the artists brought....go HERE). 

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Beginning October 3, with a reception on Friday October 4, I'll have paintings on display in Lane Gallery's Elle Est Exhibit. 

Remember the worried woman I saw and sketched a while back? I am happy to report that I saw her again recently .....and now she is all happy! (Feelings can be very --------transitory). 

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, At the Vanity, oil on 12x9 canvas panel (framed)
(Bottom Photo) Sketch: Celeste Bergin, On the phone, pencil in 6x9 sketchbook

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Whimsical study.... with left over paints. 

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Colorful truck, oil on 6x8 canvas panel

Monday, September 23, 2013


"Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain."  ~Author Unknown

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Gray Day, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Sunday, September 22, 2013


The first day of Autumn--sweater weather and plenty of rain! This is a small study from Mt. Tabor. 

I'm helping neighbor Randy with a project and I got to dog-sit his dog Jay-Jay for a little while. Jay-Jay likes to have his belly rubbed. I told him...."Jay-Jay, this is just the type of behavior that is sure to get you on my blog". 

Painting: Celeste Bergin, From Mt. Tabor Park, oil on 7x5 canvas panel

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Today I gave a talk at Muse Art + Design as part of their new artist-to-artist lecture series. My presentation had to do with motivation and reward (as it pertains to creative pursuits).  I brought in a few of my paintings, including the one above. 

Even though I've developed a pretty good habit of drawing and painting on a regular basis, I certainly don't profess to be any kind of expert on motivation.  For this reason, I referred mostly to ideas found in Steven Pressfield's (brilliant) book The War of Art.  Pressfield has solid theories of why artists have deep issues and problems staying on course....but even better, he has a super-good answer of what to do about it.  The book can be found here.

A big thanks to everyone who came out and to Muse Art + Design for the opportunity to share these ideas. I had a wonderful time...(and no one threw a tomato at me!) Hooray! 

(Top Photo): Painting: Celeste Bergin, Alone, but together, oil on 8x8 canvas panel, framed (SOLD)!

(Here is a slideshow from the day...(Thanks, Dave Burbach) direct link to photos HERE):

Friday, September 20, 2013

Art Discussion

The suggested topic at our weekly art breakfast meeting was 'Art-related pet peeves'.... (I bet you have a few of your own)! The painting above is a small practice piece that I took in. I wasn't peeved about it (but come to think of it, it could have been photographed better).

To see what everyone else brought.....(and read was irks the artists).....go HERE

(It's entertaining for us to see the work brought in. Paintings get passed to we can see the brushwork). 

(Top Photo) Practice painting, Celeste Bergin, Field, oil on 6x6 canvas panel)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'll be ........talking!

(click to Enlarge)

I am pleased to be giving a talk to kick off the new lecture series "artist to artist" at Muse Art + Design!

"How to Stay Motivated to Paint or Draw"

Time: 10-11 am
Date: Saturday, September 21
Place: Muse Art + Design, 4220 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97215
(503) 231-8704

Information on the artist-to-artist lecture series HERE

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I've been enjoying painting out of my cigar box/pochade box. I used it when I first started painting. I was inspired to unearth it from a forgotten corner of my studio because of a recent blog post about small pochades by Thomas Kitts.  I used my cigar box to paint this still life of forsythia (painted indoors --'expressively'). 

I live near Mt. Tabor park and there is a good spot where I've discovered I can practice painting the distant hills. I can walk here (though I'm pretty lazy when it comes to that steep grade!). I have an idea that it would be cool to paint from the same spot over and over. I just may try to find time for that in my schedule.

 The same subject seen from a different angle offers subject for study of the most powerful interest and so varied that I think I could occupy myself for months without changing place, by turning now more to the right, now more to the left."—Paul Cézanne in a letter to his son, 1906

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Forsythia, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Monday, September 16, 2013


Recently I re-read an account of a murder that took place in a town where I had once lived (Gulfport, Fl). In the online article there was one solitary photo of the victim. I didn't paint today, so I took on the challenge of sketching this portrait as an exercise. I came close to a likeness...but I know I can do better. Maybe I'll try again --down the road.

I'm aware there are some artists who have practiced from mugshots. It seemed a little weird (and ghoulish) to practice from a victim. I wouldn't want to make a habit of it. It's too sad!  (...and it's a funny by-product to want to do a perfect job....when the person you are drawing is no longer here). 

Sketch, Celeste Bergin, Karen Gregory, charcoal on toned paper 6x9 sketchbook

Sunday, September 15, 2013


This painting is from my archives. I'll be showing some work involving 'the feminine' in a group show entitled  Elle Est at Lane Gallery beginning in October. :)

Painting, Celeste Bergin, At the Opera, oil on 16x20 stretched canvas

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Here is Michael Lindstrom giving us a mini-lecture to kick off his one-day workshop.  It was a gray morning at Burnt Bridge in Vancouver, Wa. (Despite the big electrical transmission towers that kept reminding me of Erin Brockovich, there are scenic views in most directions). 

Michael showed us two of his paintings. One was done very quickly and expressively. The other was more controlled and 'quiet'. 

Michael did a great demo that had him troweling on the paint in big globs. (His painting turned out great). 

The gray and fog burned off and we had sunshine for the rest of the day. My first attempt did employ plenty of paint...but I wound up just hating my effort. Piling on the paint is a bigger  challenge than you would think!  I'll have to make a concentrated effort to slather it on! 

My 2nd little practice  painting showed some promise... and I'll take Lindy's advice and paint a 2nd pass on top the paintings I started today! Lots of paint needs something to grab hold of. Michael's demonstration showed us that any tool to get the effect you are after allowed. :)

Well, it was a good day---how was yours?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Art that I own....I'm a collector!

It's Friday the 13th, but it is my lucky day---  Today I have acquired this fantastic Oleg Ulitskiy plein air painting. (It was painted last year in Astoria). 

Oleg is one of my all-time favorite artists and I presume you can see why! (I asked him if I could paint with him one day and he said 'Mayyybee'! (Read that in a deep Russian voice).  It would be so much fun to watch something like this emerge from nothing but a blank canvas and a bit of paint! (GEEEEZ).

(I'll be updating my 'collector' post with this in the near future).

(Bottom photo) Painting: Oleg Ulitskiy, Docked in Astoria, oil on 16x12 canvas

Thursday, September 12, 2013


This is another painting that I glazed with Gamblin Cad Green..I took it to our art discussion today. To see what everyone else brought....go HERE.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Reflections, oil on 8x6 canvas panel

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11

John Bergin 11/10/61--9-/11/01

“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.”  David Levithan, Love Is the Higher Law

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


This morning I hung my show in the lobby of the NE Community Center in the Hollywood neighborhood. There are 13 of my landscape paintings on display. (...and 13 is a lucky number...right?)

This is the handsome Community Center entrance. Lots of things take place here. There are book clubs,  dance and swimming (among many other things)...I wanted to stay and take a dip in the pool!

At the Community Center they have that great hanging system that makes it so there are no holes in the wall.

See the window on the right?...the pool is on the other side. 

That's my big painting over the couch too. It all looks so nice on the terra-cotta colored wall. I'll be having a reception during the month and I'll let you know as the date gets closer. :)

(Top Photo) Painting, Celeste Bergin, Sky Show, oil on 8x8 canvas panel framed ($185.00)

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Just for fun I glazed this small study with Cadmium Greeen. 

Here is the (dry) value study.

I pushed around Cad Green in a slurry of Galkyd light....and then lightly wiped it off with a paper towel.

I liked how the old textures came  certainly looks altogether different from how it looked as a value study.

Today is (Grandson) Tristan's birthday (the strapping young lad on the left).These fellows on the couch have known each other since they were in third grade. I loved how they so easily shared a hug. It was such a cute scene.....I had to share it with you.

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Green experiment, oil on 5x5 stretched canvas