Saturday, July 31, 2010

Establishing darks---and thoughts about next week

When I painted this painting I had the good sense to photograph some of the steps..the sequence shows how establishing strong darks early will "carry the day". A good dark design that is merged together is something that many early great artists consistently employed. This is one of three of my paintings that is going to be in the Art in the Heart of Multnomah Village exhibit. The exhibit is at the Multnomah Arts Center and will be from August 6-September 1. 7688 Southwest Capitol Highway, Portland, OR 97219-2489, (503) 823-2787 Reception: Friday, August 6, 7-9pm. Reception August 6, 6-8pm.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, At O'Connor's, 2010, Oil on canvas panel 20x16

Friday, July 30, 2010

My day..........and how was yours??

For painting practice today I painted a crow onto a new surface..just a exercise. I often think it would be fun to paint a lot of things in only black and white. I'll do that one day.

I signed a lot of paintings in the late afternoon. (I'm getting ready for next Friday and Saturday's Art in the Heart/Art on the Boulevard outdoor art event). There will be many paintings there that have appeared in my if you have coveted something..why not come out next Friday or Saturday to buy it at "festival pricing!" (yes! that means lower than usual)
I tried to familarize myself with the tent today in the back yard....I've never put it up before and I managed a dry run. Putting that sucker up is not as "E-Z" as I thought it would be, but I liked how the sun shined through the white sidewalls.

What did you work on today?

(Top) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Crow, 2010, Oil on canvas panel 8x8

Thursday, July 29, 2010

For you, Tim

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Untitled, 2010, Oil on canvas panel 8x8

Update: My friend, Tim Gibson passed away July 30, 2010. Hugs to his family and to all who knew and loved him. Godspeed, "Honey".


Sauvie Island makes me hopeful.
Painting: Celeste Bergin, Sauvie Island, 2010, Oil on canvas panel 8x8

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sketching at the "Caffe Autogrill"

After our meeting today I intended to do an errand..instead Carrie & I wound up at the Caffe Autogrill. We ordered pastries and took a seat outside to sketch them. Autogrill's "Bread Pudding" was good! The errand waits for another day.

(Check the Behind the Scenes Blog for work by PPASP-ers throughout the week).

Sketch 1: Celeste Bergin, Bread Pudding at the Caffe, watercolor on 6 x 9 paper
Sketch 2: Celeste Bergin, Pellegrino water, watercolor on 6 x 9 paper

Monday, July 26, 2010

Costumed model session at "The Canvas Art Bar & Bistro"

I ran late tonight and had all manner of "issues" with my tripod. I also spilled my painting medium (good thing the floor is concrete)! My contact lenses gave me some grief. I have more in my litany of problems, but I will spare you. Despite all the troubles, I loved our model at the Canvas. She has a lovely square jaw and the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" hat was fun to consider. I did one version of the model in just blue and white. I know I could improve on both paintings..but I usually don't return to them. I have learned that to do so, for me, often compromises "what was". To see the rest of the artist's interpretations go HERE.

(Top) Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Safari Thoughts, oil on 12 x 16 panel
2nd Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Monochromatic Model, oil on 11 x 14 panel

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Meeting up with the Portland Urban Sketchers

Today I met up with the Portland Urban Sketchers at the Lone Fir Cemetery. I learned something about a specific stone that has always intrigued me. It is the most magnificent old stone, a huge ornate Celtic cross. The story goes that the name of the departed was deliberately eradicated because the deceased's sister was offended by the circumstances surrounding the donation of the monument. (The deceased was a prostitute and the stone had been installed by her patrons). It is one of the most unusual and pretty monuments in the entire cemetery, but there is no name on it. A pair of clasped hands also adorn the finger points down....presumably to indicate sin.

(Top) Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Macleay Mausoleum, watercolor & ink on paper
2nd Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Nameless Monument (Celtic cross), watercolor & ink on paper
3rd Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Handshake with extra message, graphite on paper
(Bottom) Sketch: Celeste Bergin, at home here, watercolor & ink on paper

(Click photos to enlarge)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

August 6 & 7..Come see me at Art in the Heart in downtown Vancouver!

Southwest Washington Art Galleries and the Vancouver Downtown Association invite you to the 3rd annual Art in the Heart: the downtown Vancouver art festival...(and I get to be part of it!) I am one of 16 artists presenting work for sale with Art on the Boulevard.

Come look for my tent August 6 from 5-9 and August 7th from 10 am to 4 pm. Live music and food with beer gardens also part of the festivities. Save the will be fun, I promise (and paintings are available with festival pricing)!

Art On the Boulevard, 210 West Evergreen Boulevard, Vancouver, WA 98660-3451, (360) 750-4499 (MAP)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I had very little time to paint one tree at Laurelhurst today. It was a beautiful day--even though I didn't manage to do a 2nd painting. This is a Potpourri post, so I am leaving you with a cows cows cows by Cyriak.

Oil Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Laurelhurst Red Tree, 2010, Oil on hardboard, 5x7

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Overlooking the Blue Heron Paper Mill in Oregon City

After our PPASP breakfast meeting today Carrie & I met up with some painting friends in Oregon City. There were beautiful shapes everywhere below us. I sketched a few drums, vats, smoke stacks and other important looking thingamajigs . My aim was to ultimately paint something of the Blue Heron Paper Mill, but I started a painting of a house next to our location instead. My colors/values are off, but there were things I liked about the painting anyway. I'll go back to that same spot soon--I was interested in the Paper Company and how steam belched into the sky. Doesn't a smoke stack make you think of all the great WPA art?

(Top) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Oregon City House, 2010, Oil on stretched canvas 10 x 10 inches.
(Bottom) Sketches: Celeste Bergin, Blue Heron Paper Mill, 2010, Ink & pencil on 9 x 6 paper

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Canvas, "Art Bar & Bistro" costumed model session

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Contemplative, 2010, Oil on stretched canvas 9 x 12 inches.
Painting: Celeste Bergin, Standing at the drum, 2010, Oil on canvas panel 12 x 16 inches.
For results by the others in attendance today at The Canvas go HERE.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


A while back I visited the Seattle Art Museum with friends. I studied a landscape that had been turned on it's side.. a graphic face was painted over the scene. The card next to the painting indicated that this particular artist would buy paintings from stores like Goodwill and then "find" another scene in it to highlight. The artist left much of the original painting intact but painted his own addition on top. (I wish I'd made it a point to remember the artist's name!).

I used a wood panel for a palette recently for acrylics. Tonight I "saw" a face in the old dried up paint and I painted it on top of the palette...(thinking of that Seattle Art Museum painting for inspiration).

Celeste Bergin, What appears, 2010, Oil over acrylic palette,l 8 x 10 inches

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hillsboro Plein Air Event 2010

Today I participated in Hillsboro Plein Air 2010. I had a great time. Carrie and I went together (and that made it all the more fun). I saw many of my painting friends. The results from the day can be found HERE.

(Top) Painting: Celeste Bergin, At the Easel, 2010, Oil on canvas panel 8 x 8 inches (Winner: Third Place Figurative category)
(Middle) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Kay, 2010, Oil on canvas panel 20 x 16 inches.
(Bottom) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Hillsboro Alley, 2010, Oil on canvas panel 8 x 6 inches.

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Uncertain Times" Opening Reception at the Pittock Mansion

Reception for Uncertain Times - Contemporary Art Views on the Fate of the Newspaper
My Painting "Yesterday's News" won third prize. Thank you to all who came out to celebrate with us.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Artist's Reception, Pittock Mansion Friday, July 16, 2010

Click to Enlarge

OPENING RECEPTION: Uncertain Times - Contemporary Art Views on the Fate of the Newspaper
Jul 16, 2010

Pittock Mansion, 3229 NW Pittock Drive (just two miles west of downtown off West Burnside) MAP
Friday, July 16, 2010, 6 – 8pm

Event Description: Be among the first to see this juried contemporary art exhibit of paintings, photographs, drawings, and sculpture exploring the uncertain future of the printed newspaper. Enjoy blues, beer, wine, and light refreshments as you mingle with the artists. Free on Reception night, regular entry fee thereafter. The show runs until November 14, 2010.

(I have three pieces in the show)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stroke for exercise in applying paint

A while back Michael Orwick told me that he painted a painting while watching Elio Camacho paint (in real time). Michael painted the same composition with similar colors, attempting to match what Elio did "stroke for stroke." It's an idea that intrigued me.. an exercise in brushwork and paint application. I got a chance to try it for myself today when I met up with Elio at Laurelhurst Park.

I set up next to Elio and tried to emulate everything he did as he did it (of course, I asked for permission first). It was a superb learning experience, one that I would love to repeat (possibly somewhere where there is not so much green!)

"Our" subject was a red tree and the pond. (Side note: the pond is so green because of excessive algae, but it is scheduled to be restored this year).
You can see from the photos that I assigned too much chroma to my version. This painting is way different from my style, but I got a great feel for applying extra paint. Why is it important for an artist to be generous with paint? Because viewers sense fear when they see a thinly painted painting. A bold thicker stroke reads confidently.

Elio's workshops always have an added bonus.. anyone interested in burning the candle at both ends can stay and paint till sunset or just sit back and watch. (He's not just generous with paint..he's generous with time). Elio is painting this weekend (as a non-competitive painter) in the Hillsboro Plein Air Event.
Find out more about it here.

Lesson Painting: Celeste Bergin, Laurelhurst Tree & Pond, 2010, Oil on canvas panel 11 x 14 inches.

Mark Larsen (in a GREEN shirt) painted at Laurelhurst too!