Monday, December 28, 2015

The New Year is right around the corner!

It was my birthday a couple of days ago and Dave gave me these flowers. I decided to paint them today.  I might add some touches tomorrow, but I do like the simplicity. I hope you had a great holiday and that you'll have a wonderful New Year! What have you been doing/painting lately?

(Oil Study) Celeste Bergin, Birthday Flowers, oil on 9x12 canvas panel

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Big 500

This is one of 10 of my paintings in the "Big 500".  This show/sale is an annual fundraising event benefiting the Oregon Food Bank (500+ artists, around 5000 paintings in Pioneer Mall.  So much variety, you will not be disappointed)!

Bring a can of food for free entry

People's Art Gallery
Opens Sat Dec 12th at 2pm – until 9pm

It's a little competitive, get there early (The work is scattered)
show runs through January 10
(all art is 8x8 unframed, $40)

People's Art Gallery
700 SW Fifth (3rd floor) Suite 4005
Mark Woolley Gallery = Suite 4110
Pioneer Square Mall, downtown Portland
Oh, and I missed telling you about the Thursday art discussion last week see what we brought go HERE.
(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Portland Nocturne, oil on 8x8 birch panel

Friday, November 20, 2015


Our Thursday discussion meeting was about favorite art books. I've been re-reading Richard Schmid's wonderful book Alla Prima. I have the old version of the book, there is a newer one. 

 I shared this monochrome underpainting (that I painted in Schmid style) in the meeting. The lights are accomplished by wiping away paint from the surface. (I have really not done that method before ...more confirmation for me that there are many methods of painting). Schmid wrote in his book that he sometimes just paints monochromatically and doesn't do more. (I think that is what I will do with this one, though I will likely paint more portraits in the future, adding color and using his method).

To see what everyone else brought (and to read about the great book recommendations...) go HERE

(Painting): Celeste Bergin, in the style of Schmid, Raw Umber oil on 12x16 canvas sheet

Monday, November 16, 2015


Last week our art discussion group talked about what makes a painting successful. It was kind of a challenging topic since we were also asked to bring in a painting that demonstrates a successful result. I brought in this painting that I did a couple of years ago in a workshop. (Funny, most of us brought work from our archives. What do we think that means?) Well, I think most people find it weird to crow about their own work. It always seems best to just let the painting do the talking. 

To see what everyone else brought go HERE 

(Painting) Celeste Bergin, Still Life, oil on 12x9 canvas panel

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Hi Friends! I haven't been blogging for awhile.... I have been working a little on my studio and getting ready for winter. 

The photos in today's post are just what they look like. I finally ditched some of my worst paintings that were taking up valuable space. I posted these photos on Facebook and got some flack for it. People tend to think of this as sad or wasteful. Whenever you post something on Facebook there is a reliable legion of people who want to tell you what you are doing wrong.

This idea (to burn paintings) has been in my mind for a long time, ever since I read that an artist I admire made a practice of this. Today's art discussion meeting's topic was "What one thing did you do over the past year that made you a better painter"? My answer was "destroying paintings that currently serve no purpose"! (Really, if you have been painting for awhile and not yet gotten rid of things, you might consider doing is a liberating decision).

To see what everyone brought to today's meeting, go HERE.

Well, I'm excited about painting this winter....are you? I will go check your blogs now. :)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy Labor Day!

This is a photo of "The Thursday Drawing Club".  It was so nice of Medley Tea to honor us in this with a reception last week. We have "tea-related" drawings and paintings on the walls until the end of October. Thanks, Medley!

And this week my "Artist Talk" is coming up on Wednesday, from 6:30-7:30 at Lane Gallery. You are invited! :)

Are you having a great summer? I'll check your blogs and find out what is happening. :)

(Top Photo) LtoR Diane Marks Bestor, Tim Young, Paula Hansen, Loretta Unger, me, Carrie Holst and Stephanie Cissna.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Things that are Upcoming!

On Thursday, Sept 3 (from 6-8 pm) I'll be at Lane Gallery, celebrating "Summer's End" in a First Thursday Reception. Come join us...(the Gallery is just beautiful).

Then on Friday, Sept 4, I will be at Medley Tea for an Artist's Reception from 6-8pm. (Click the image below to enlarge the invitation). (7881 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland) 

I am hoping you will mark also your calendar for Wednesday, Sept 9. Lane Gallery is hosting "Artist Talks" and I'll be the speaker (from 6:30-7:30). The name of my talk is "Creating....Why Bother"? Have you ever wondered if creating (painting/drawing and other "by hand" pursuits) are worth it? Well, I have some well-researched theories and answers to offer.  (Click to enlarge the invitation) 2412 NW Raleigh. (....And I'll see you there). :)

(Top Photo) Painting, Celeste Bergin, Dancing Clouds, oil on 12x9 canvas panel

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Every Thursday is fun for me and my drawing/painting pals because we spend time with some lovely still life objects at Medley Tea. We've been doing this for over a year and now "The Thursday Drawing Club" will show some of the results of those sessions this September and October (at Medley Tea).  There will be a First Friday Reception...I'll remind you as the time draws nearer.

I remember reading Carol Marine's great book last year and the wonderful advice she gives about "economizing brushstrokes". I kept that in mind for this 8x8 painting. What have you been doing lately? I'll check out some blogs now and find out.

(I took this paintings to the art discussion group on Thursday. To see what everyone else brought....go HERE).

(Painting): Celeste Bergin, White Teapot, oil on 8x8 gessoed paper

Friday, August 21, 2015

The weekend approaches!

Our art discussion on Thursday was "Blue". I brought this sketch that I did in a life session with just a blue and burnt sienna. To see what everyone else brought...go HERE

(Oil Sketch), Celeste Bergin, Ballerina, oil on 16x20 toned canvas panel

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I don't generally paint the whole figure in life painting sessions. I usually concentrate on portrait...but this set up seemed to ask me to paint it all. Our model wore a beret and explained the classical music that was playing: (Carnival of the Animals) ......."This part is about the Cuckoo bird" he told us. 

(Painting) Celeste Bergin, Life Session, oil on 16x20 canvas sheet

Thursday, August 13, 2015


I've been neglecting my blog recently...but I promise to do better and check in with you this week. It has been a busy time! I had the absolute best time at Hood River...what a blast! I was introduced to several new locations and I can't wait to go back. 

Last Monday I had a chance to paint in a life session. I took this and some of the Hood River paintings (that didn't go into the show) to today's Art Discussion meeting. To see what everyone brought...go HERE

(Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2015 is up until August 30). 

(Photo): Celeste Bergin, Oil Painting, Monday Life Model, oil on 16x20 canvas sheet 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Reception, August 7, 6-8pm Columbia Art Gallery

Join me at the Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2015 Artist Reception, Friday, August 7, 6-8pm. #PleinAirHoodRiver

(Photo) Celeste Bergin, In the Orchard, Oil on 9x12 canvas panel 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2015

It's finally here...Monday, August 3 begins the Pacific Northwest (Hood River) Plein Air Competition and Exhibit. I'll be there! Come out and join us (click the schedule to enlarge).

Last Thursday's art discussion is HERE and I missed posting the week is HERE. :)

Thursday, July 16, 2015


I did this painting from life a few years ago. She was lit from above, sort of like with an interrogation light bulb. I resurrected it because our art discussion group had a topic about old paintings. To see what everyone else brought go HERE

Thanks to everyone for coming to the Lane Gallery Reception. It was great to see you.. So much fun (red dots too)! Photos below, direct link HERE  (Thanks, David for the photos)!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Artist Reception...this coming Wednesday, July 15 6-8pm, Lane Gallery

Hey Friends! I've got a show reception coming up this coming Wednesday July 15th (6-8pm) at the new Lane Gallery (2412 NW Raleigh). (Lane moved to the Pearl ---it's a beautiful space). I'm showing with the lovely and talented Jennifer Feeney, Gila Lane and others (and it's all about SUMMER, a plein air painter's favorite time of the year)! Please come, I'd love to see you there!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Thursday ---(and Reception next week)

The topic was "color mixing tips" at art discussion yesterday. I showed this painting of an alley. I like this painting for it's simplicity and all the atmosphere. To see what everyone else brought...go HERE.

There is a reception for me, Jenn Feeney, Kyle Kraiter and Gila Lane next Wednesday, July 15, 6-8pm at the (newly located) Lane Gallery in the Pearl. ("Summer's End" is the name of the show...and even though right now we're right in the middle of a hot-hot summer the show is up until September). Lane Gallery is a beautiful gallery and I am so honored to be in this show. Please come if you can I would love to see you there!  2412 NW Raleigh Street.

(Top Photo) Painting, Celeste Bergin, Rain in the Alley, oil on 5x7 canvas panel

Monday, July 6, 2015


Are you ready for a new week? This is a painting that I had at art discussion. To see what everyone else brought....go HERE.
(Painting) Celeste Bergin, After the Rain, oil on 18x24 canvas panel

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Painting on sketchbook covers

This is one of my favorite sketchbook cover paintings that I've done recently. So simple and I love how the background and her skin tone are so similar. It is from a photo reference and an experiment in using Alizarin Crimson for flesh. 

For a couple of months I've been painting my sketchbook covers. I got this idea from a sketching friend of mine (Tim Young) and he got the idea from James Gurney. Here (above) you can see I have a lot of old sketchbooks. I have saved them mostly for sentimental reasons. Most of the drawings inside aren't very good at all. I have learned (and have come to accept) that sketchbooks are a just the perfect place to make all kinds of mistakes.

I'm reasonably certain that when Gurney advanced this idea of painting directly onto your sketchbook cover he meant that you would personalize your sketchbooks as-you-go...but I decided to do mine retroactively.
The sketchbooks in the photo show that I gessoed the books in advance of painting them. I textured the gesso also (with a paper towel). I used oil for these paintings and Tim used acrylic. Almost all of these books are Aquabee Deluxe sketchbooks, but I know this will work on any hard cover.

You may wonder what is to be gained from doing this. Well, for one, it is just plain fun. Tim and I both have noticed that sometimes these efforts can come out great*. I've been trying to paint them energetically (for the "brushspeed"). *(There may be less onus to painting on an unconventional surface). Below are what I have done so far: 

I'm glad I tried this and if you're looking to do something really different, you might try it too. The only downside to it is that you can't stack the books until they are really super-dry...and that people might be disappointed when they open a book with a pretty painting on the front... only to find  mediocre crappy drawings inside. Oh so what.. haha! ("The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one." --Elbert Hubbard)

(Sketchbook covers): Celeste Bergin: Red truck from photo reference, Profile from photo reference, Man & dog from memory (I have to re-take that photo), Portrait of John Singer Sargent, Landscape from memory, Profile from photo reference, Hoodie from photo reference, Figure inspired by Manet, Flowers from life, Cup and saucer from life, "Lonely" trees from memory

Monday, June 29, 2015


I took this oil sketch to art discussion last week. It is inspired by an evening I enjoyed at the Tualatin Wildlife refuge. (Pretty much everywhere you look at Tualatin Wildlife Refuge....there is a painting). I am thinking about working this up into a larger painting. 

We got to hold our meeting on the patio of O'Connors. That was different! We had to raise our voices over the hum of the air-conditioner.... but it was still fun, as always. To see what everyone brought...go HERE.

(Oil Sketch) Celeste Bergin, Early Evening Moon, Tualatin Wildlife Refuge, oil on 12x16 canvas 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Sometimes it is satisfying to paint a simple summer green tree. Better photo to come :)

(Painting) Celeste Bergin, Summer in Corbett, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Monday, June 15, 2015


Thanks to all for coming to the Sunday Reception! Here is a portrait that I painted in a life session recently. I went to art discussion last week too. To see what everyone brought....go HERE. Now I will go check out what my blogging friends are up to. :)

(Painting) Celeste Bergin, Carla, oil on 11x14 canvas panel

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Please come to our Artist’s Reception

(click to Enlarge)

I hope you can come help us celebrate (it would be great to see you there)!
I have 4 paintings in the show "Regional Art"

Artist’s Reception: Sunday, June 7, 2015  1-6pm

Overall Exhibit Dates:  June 4-July1, 2015

Broderick Gallery 1318 Commerce Avenue, Longview WA, 98632

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Fruit practice

Here's my still life station. It is just a cardboard box with two sides cut out of it. This is as far as I got tonight. Maybe I will do more to it tomorrow...or maybe I'll just go to different set-up. It's all--- just for practice.

Oil Study, Celeste Bergin, Fruit Study, oil on 16x12 canvas sheet

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Little practice paintings (Thursday)

Our art discussion question was a good one..."challenging subjects" (things you find daunting to paint). In anticipation of the meeting I painted some quick exercises in my still life station. I chose a white bank, a copper tin and my mineral spirits container.  

The copper tin was the most vexing. I think I did pretty well, though it was definitely a challenge to get the colors right.

This mineral spirits tin has been with me from the start. It was fun to paint, and I might do a more complete version someday. 
To see what everyone else brought to the meeting....go HERE

(Oil studies) Celeste Bergin, 3 objects, oil on 6x9 canvas sheet

Thursday, May 21, 2015


....An experiment in contrast. I took it to the art discussion today. To see what everyone else brought...go HERE.

(Painting) Celeste Bergin, Across the River, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Friday, May 15, 2015


The topic at art discussion was "High Key". This is what I took in. To see what everyone else brought...go HERE. Happy Weekend!

(Painting) Celeste Bergin, Sauvie Morning, oil on 9x12 canvas panel

Friday, May 8, 2015


The painting on the left is a painting from a few years ago.  I painted it from a photo reference. I guess when I painted it I wanted to remain faithful to the photograph. But, what a dumpy figure! She wasn't really overweight, but she wore a "puffy jacket" and let's face it, she looked a little like a baked potato. 

 I realized that painting into the background (around the original figure) would effectively revamp the walker to make her more svelte.  (I wish we could so easily trim down in real life)! The topic in our recent art discussion meeting was "negative space" so I took this painting and explained how I changed it. (I also pepped up the color everywhere).

To see what everyone else brought....go Here.

Today Dave and I went to Longview to visit George Broderick. We had lunch and looked at all the fabulous art at his gallery.  A really great visit. (Thanks for the picture, Dave)!

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Rainy Day Shopping, oil on 12x6 canvas panel