Sunday, March 30, 2014


In honor of van Gogh's birthday (today) I painted this copy of his painting Wheat Field with Cypresses. It was fun to try to match van Gogh's energetic brushstrokes.  I'll add more paint when it dries a little.

van Gogh painted copies himself. His favorite artist to emulate was Jean-Francios Millet. He did something like 30 copies of paintings by artists he admired. Here is a Wikipedia article about van Gogh's copies:

In the afternoon we took a walk to McDonald's. A perfect walk, because it is about 3 miles round trip. There was a man who set up his office in a corner booth. He made a lot of phone calls and sat pretty I used him as my model to sketch.

(Top Photo) Painting, Celeste Bergin, After van Gogh, oil on 24 x 28 canvas panel
(Bottom Photo) Sketch, Celsete Bergin, Office Guy, pen in 6x9 sketchbook

Saturday, March 29, 2014


In the afternoon I set up a still fun to paint inside with the rain hitting the windows!

I changed from a brown drape in the background to gray in my painting..(brown was "taking over"!) I opted to just go with a similar value.  More painting tomorrow!  :)

(Top Photo) Painting, Celeste Bergin, Pears and Wine, oil on 20x16 stretched canvas

Friday, March 28, 2014


No time for painting today, so I did a sketch to add to my Sargent project. This one is from a painting that Sargent did after Franz Hals. ...Another flamboyant hat on another great looking guy. It's a recurring theme. 

Mufasa wanted to help me by sitting squarely on my reference. Thanks, Mufasa!

Ok....What are you doing this weekend?

(Top Photo) Sketch, After Sargent/after Hals "The Standard Bearer", charcoal on toned 6x9 paper

Thursday, March 27, 2014


It's Thursday, so I went to the Art Discussion Meeting. I took this figure painting. To see what everyone else brought....go HERE.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Figure, oil on 6x12 canvas panel

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Here is a study that I think could work as a finished painting...with just a few adjustments. Less is more!

Today I found myself, I stopped in Gallery 903. (This is the side entrance).

Giant bronze mice in the front window. (by Georgia Gerber) favorite wall was Mona Cordell's. The whole gallery is lovely. 
(Wonderful to see art displayed with great sensitivity). 

(Top Photo) Study, Celeste Bergin, Discovery Creek, oil on 10x8

Monday, March 24, 2014


Three of us went plein air painting today in George Rogers park in Lake Oswego. The forecast for the next few days is rain, so we were glad to "may hay while the sun shines". There is a lot about this that I like and though it has a few "issues" ... I'm satisfied that I caught a certain something about the day.

To see what the others did...go HERE.

Study, Celeste Bergin, George Rogers Park, oil on canvas, 12x9

Sunday, March 23, 2014


It was a beautiful day today in Portland. We took a lunch and went to Powell Butte. (Where I ultimately painted this tree). I'm on a tree kick.

The regular parking lot was closed we had to find another entrance and walk and walk what seemed an interminable amount to get to the old orchard that I remembered from my last visit. 

Here a couple immortalizes their visit at this strange structure near the orchard.

Going down the stairs was much easier than going up.

This woman had a 4x5 Linoff Technika and was under a dark cloth trying to get what she described as a rainbow of colors in a bunch of rocks. I wish I could see the end result!

Did you have a good day? :)

(Top Photo) Painting, Celeste Bergin, In the Orchard, oil on 12x9 canvas panel

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Backyard painting

I was inspired to paint in the back yard today.  I decided to focus on the big shapes and the general character of the big maple tree. I may use this as a study to do another painting. 

(I'm really glad that I got this extra's a "Yarka"... so simple to set up!)

Oil Study, Celeste Bergin, Backyard tree, oil on 16x20 stretched canvas

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday (Art Discussion and neighborhood walk)

This is a painting I did a couple of years ago (after Serebriakoa). I hope to use lighting just like this in a life model session someday.  I took this painting to O'Connor's art discussion today. (To see what the other artists brought, go HERE).

This afternoon, despite the threat of rain, Dave and I went for a neighborhood walk:

This is the greeter in front of an airconditioning/duct company in Montavilla. (He looks a little stern). 

We stopped at Pastrygirl for a coffee. I liked this gouache painting on the wall...(by Acie Thompson).

Dave and I were both enamored by this Magnolia tree

The whites of the Magnolia tree are so pretty. It was like looking at a bridal bouquet.

Our neighbor was walking his wonderful dog Heidi. He lets her run up to meet us.


Here Heidi and I are asking Heidi's Dad for permission to come home with ME!

Not this time big girl......But, if your Dad ever changes his've got my number! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Today I joined some other painters in Multnomah Village.  I did this color study, looking down the block. I especially like the big red sign at "Renners". It started out gray today... but then it got (and stayed) super-sunny. For more photos....go HERE.

Study, Celeste Bergin, Street scene in Multnomah Village, oil on 10x8 canvas

Monday, March 17, 2014


"When we look up, it widens our horizons. We see what a little speck we are in the universe, so insignificant, and we all take ourselves so seriously, but in the sky, there are no boundaries".
                                                                           -----Julia Gregson

Study, Cleste Bergin, Clouds over Mt Tabor, oil on 8x6 canvas panel

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Today I did this sketch to add to my Sargent project. I added mineral spirits to the charcoal to make it extra-dark. I especially like the white bits in her hair. I wonder if she had those in her hair when she showed up to model....or if they were Sargent's idea.
This afternoon I went to "Private Collection" at Broderick Gallery, an exhibit of paintings and etchings by famous artists like Picasso, Dali and Franz Kline. Here are a few photos in a slideshow (or direct link HERE)

Friday, March 14, 2014


Here's a study I did last summer in the orchard at the Gorge White house. I didn't finish it... it was only meant to be something to refer to for color notes.  I painted another painting using this one as a guide of sorts...but it didn't succeed. This little dashed out version survived, while the more carefully-considered approach tanked. That's how it is sometimes. I'm glad I kept the study. It reminds me that the initial response is sometimes the absolute best one. 

Today I had lunch with my friend Barbara Szkutnik. Barbara is retiring from her profession as an international airline we celebrated! Now she has more time to devote to her passion of pastel painting. Here I am with my new acquisition, a beautiful Szkutnik abstract entitled "In Amber". 

Barbara used to paint exclusively in a representative style. Her journey into abstract painting is exciting. She is a winner in this month's Pastel Journal in the category of abstract and non-objective...and she won last year too!  

The weekend is here...what will you do with it?

(Top Photo) Study, Celeste Bergin, In the Orchard, oil on 6x6 gessoed hardboard
(Bottom Photo) In Amber, Barbara Szkutnik


Today is Thursday so I went to the art discussion meeting. I brought this painting. To see what all the other artists brought....go HERE.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Clouds, oil on 12x9 canvas panel

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Here's one of my recent landscapes. I added some small touches to it today. 

Last night I had the pleasure of addressing the Three Rivers Artist Guild. My lecture/talk was based on the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I shared with the group Pressfield's theory about fighting fear and resistance. It all has to do with remaining in a territorial orientation (instead of a hierarchical one). That part is key and you should get the book if you have been taking any breaks from painting or drawing. It was written in 2002, and aside from the fact some of examples of success seem dated (Lance Armstrong, for one), you'll still learn a lot about what holds us back. 

The Three Rivers Artist Guild is already very motivated and active, but I bet I (rather, Pressfield) reached a couple people who have trouble staying with it. Let's face it, it is indeed a battle......and he nails it when he calls it "war". (Pressfield urges us to fight back against this enemy within us, the one tempting us to do other things aside from our work). The good news is that we can easily make fear and doubt our ally and we can enlist the help of our higher self.

A big thanks to Tara Choate for inviting me...and to everyone at the Guild. What a great organization!

Oregon City is pretty---here is our walk to the car afterwards. The people at Three Rivers tell me that they are starting a plein air group and I'm going to want to throw in with them sometime, because there are nice views everywhere. :)

Link to Pressfield's book: HERE 
(He has written a couple books on the subject of art and work, but this one is his best).

(Top Photo) Celeste Bergin, In the Distance, oil on 12x9 canvas panel

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The weekend...(part two)

Here is another sketch for my Sargent project. The thing I have learned by doing these is you really have to make the skin much darker than you think. The tendency is to draw or paint skin in a light tone....but if you make the skin too light....... you'll "have no place to go". 

I hope you are having a great weekend...did you do anything special?

Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Sargent sketch, vine charcoal on 6x9 toned paper 

Saturday, March 8, 2014


I've been cleaning my studio. It's an arduous task! I came across this unfinished painting and thought about painting it over, but it turns out that I like it just as it is. Sometimes unfinished is finished.

I also spent some time at my "Sargent station" today, drawing a Sargent portrait, but it needs more attention, so I will finish that one tomorrow. Recognize my assistant there on the right?

(Top Photo) Celeste Bergin, Still Life/Unfinished, oil on 16x20 stretched canvas

Thursday, March 6, 2014


It is I went to our art discussion. I took this painting. To see what all the artists brought go HERE.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, After Sorolla's Bath, oil on 18x24 canvas panel

Monday, March 3, 2014


The weekend SE Artwalk was a ton of fun! THANKS to all for braving the elements (and best of all.... for purchasing paintings!) A special thanks to Mark Larsen for inviting me to show with him at his home. It's remarkable how Mark made his front room and dining room into a gallery. 

One of my artist friends asked me during his visit "Which one of your paintings here is your personal favorite"? It was such an interesting question. I settled on the above, a semi-abstract that I painted at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. I probably like it best because it makes me remember what a good day it was, how much fun it was to just paint my impression and of the friends who love art. (Hey, that describes you too!) :)

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Through the trees, oil on 8x8 canvas panel (framed)

Here is a slide show of our Artwalk experience (direct link to photos HERE)

Saturday, March 1, 2014


What a great day! Mark Larsen "hosted" me at his house for the SE Artwalk. He and I just had a blast talking shop with our artist friends and visiting with the all the art-walkers.  We also sold a bunch of paintings. (Yay!) It's pretty great how Mark transformed his front room into a gallery. Thanks to all who came out to see us!
We will be back tomorrow (Sunday) come by....(cookies will be fresh)!

2635 SE 35th Ave. Portland, Or 97202
March 2, 10 am - 5 pm

Brenda Boylan purchased one of my winter scenes. How's that for a compliment?!
(Thanks, Brenda).

(Top Photo): Painting, Celeste Bergin, Wind and Rain, oil on 16x8 canvas panel (framed)