Thursday, November 29, 2012


Here is my rain painting from yesterday. My objective was to paint the big shapes and the "texture" of a heavy rain. I've been looking at a lot of paintings by Roos Schuring. (She sure captures the grays and wetness of where she lives!) I took this painting with me to share at today's art discussion meeting. To see what everyone else brought....go HERE.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Rain, oil on 7x9 gessoed panel

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

From the archives

I'm posting one of my old (favorite) acrylic paintings from a long time ago. I've always liked this painting. I have a real penchant (sometimes) for images that are graphic instead of realistic. How about you have two sides? The photo I took of the painting from today is too grainy. I'll retake it and put it up tomorrow.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, The Messager, acrylic on 12x16 canvas panel


The Letter to the Student of Painting by Charles Philip Brooks is so wonderful,  I wrote the whole thing out in longhand in my sketchbook.  Find the entire letter HERE

(page from my sketchbook)

Monday, November 26, 2012


"Silhouettes can be strong or subtle. The design is arrived at through the contrast of various relationships, but the degree of contrast is up to the artist, of course. Here-in lies the infinite possibilities". --- Sergei Bongart

Painting: Celeste Bergin,  Walkers, Oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Repeating myself

I painted this awhile back. I changed it.

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?"         ---Andy Warhol

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Nightfall, oil on 12x12 stretched canvas


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Marathon Painting......Friday!

Back to Studio 30 today-- Three sessions that begin in the morning and end at night! I couldn't love it more. To see what all the others did go HERE.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Nikki, oil on 16x20 canvas sheet

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Several years ago I found myself in a few themed shows. These were shows in a beautiful gallery that has since closed. The curator there loved to think up new themes and she had a knack for it. Many of my painting friends weren't fond of painting to other people's ideas, but for myself, the graphic designer in me had a good attitude about assignments.

This painting was probably something that I started on the subject of "Peace". All that remains of this idea is this photo... the painting was undoubtedly painted over. It's kind of good, imparts strength, understanding and equality....a very big idea.

I hope you have a great holiday.....I wish you all friendship and Peace!

(Photo): Idea for a painting, Celeste Bergin, Peace, acrylic on 10x10 canvas (since painted over)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


It was raining buckets today, and I haven't finished setting up my new still life I decided to paint something from memory. I guess I've painted enough lamps and people in silhouette to feel confident just painting willy-nilly until this image surfaced. It's a first pass, I may take it further or leave it. It's always interesting to look at things you've painted late at night the next day.
I had a cat in the scene, but the cuteness of it made me eradicate it. Sorry cat, let's just imagine you're there, somewhere, in the dark.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Late Night Reader, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Sunday, November 18, 2012


This snow scene is about 75% finished.  The small spots of snow make a good contrast against the big shapes. Will it find it's way into a frame? We'll see. 

In the afternoon Stephanie and I went to an open session ar Craig Srebnik's studio. He showed us his method of gluing canvas to boards and discussed some of our paintings with us. Craig says things that stick with you. "Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story." ('s often a good idea to change things from how they are.....for the sake of the painting). 

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Snowfall, oil on 8x8 canvas panel
(Bottom Photo) Marvin and Craig discuss gluing canvas to panels

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Marathon Painting...Friday!

I was at Studio 30 today from 9am to 10pm. I painted 2.5 paintings and had a great time!
This is fellow painter Za's niece who modeled for us in ethnic dress. To see all the paintings from today go HERE.

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Mia, oil on 16x20 canvas panel
edited to say....this looks a lot less yellow in reality, this photo makes her look like her liver has shut down! I'll fix the photo in the future.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday, Art-Art-Art

This morning I went to our art discussion breakfast meeting. We talked about all sorts of things...and we showed work that we've done recently. (To see the art we brought, go HERE). This afternoon I watched a program about the movie "The Life of Pi". It reminded me that I have painted a couple of tigers.  Tigers can be considered a kitschy subject...and though I signed this,  I later determined that it's not good enough for a frame. I kept it despite the throw away project. What moved it almost out of kitschy territory was the use of purple and blue, but almost only counts in horseshoes! (not sure what I'll do with the tiger, but it did escape the trash can).

The evening brought another art meeting of The Columbia River Art Group. A lot of the talk centered around framing. What did we decide? Traditional or contemporary frames can significantly change the overall attitude of the painting. 

That was my Thursday.......did you have an artful day?

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Tiger, oil on 9x12 canvas panel
(Bottom Photo) Michael and Nila discussing frames

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


This is Phase two of the Birch painting. Just a few finishing touches and I'll call it done. ("linking the darks"---thanks, Craig Srebnik!)
....................Did you have a good Wednesday?

Painitng: Celeste Bergin, Birch in the snow, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Here is "phase one" of a painting idea...a birch tree in snow. I'm doing an underpainting and linking the darks (And everytime I link darks I'm grateful to Craig Srebnik for reminding me during my workshops with him to do just that). I'll put this aside at this simple stage ....and work on it again tomorrow. (Square format..!)

 I stopped by Seven Virtues coffeehouse today. I tried to guess what the seven virtues are. I imagined things like patience, kindness and generosity. Then I used my iphone to look them up.  I sketched the traffic lights on 60th and Glisan through the window.
(Here are the virtues, in case you are curious too).

Do you ever page backwards through your sketch book? This is my favorite sketch of Maxine from my catsitting days. She got so she kind of liked me, but now when I see her she acts like she never met me before. Oh, are so inexplicable! 

My followers have reached 580! I have to thank Cathleen Rehfeld who said to me (a few years ago) "Celeste, you have to have a blog".  Since then, I've made many great contacts and friends through the blog (like you)!  Yes, I appreciate all of you!

(Top Photo) Underpainting, Celeste Bergin, Birch in the snow, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Monday!

I've been painting for the upcoming Holiday Treasures show at Columbia Art Gallery. This is one that I may put in. I just love the square format. It is painted over a predominately red field. The red beneath makes the green read as a rich green. 

Some recent photos:

Speaking of red, I was taken with these bar stools at Songbird, a new-ish neighborhood bar/restaurant. I wonder if they are comfortable ...? They look great in any case.

The other day I took this photo from the 9th floor of OHSU, No photoshopping, that is the late afternoon sun glinting off the Wells Fargo building.

This afternoon I had pie with Dave G at Shari's today to celebrate his birthday and Veteran's day. Thanks, Dave.......!

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

Saturday, November 10, 2012

People practice

It's remarkable how few strokes can adequately describe a person. It's also remarkable how a figure in a  painting demands attention. I remember an art teacher counseling us: "whenever you put a person into a painting...we'll all look there first".  That seems 100% true.....doesn't it?

Oil study, Celeste Bergin, Around the corner, oil on 8x8 gessoed paper 

Friday, November 9, 2012


The "Rain or Shine" paint out at the Monastery was today. I was the first one there and set up on the corner across the street. As I was setting up I invited two young artists to paint. (I hope the Moms can forgive the paint they got on their sleeves and in their hair!)  I changed locations when it started raining hard. I didn't have an umbrella and I had a hard time getting my wet paint to stick to the surface. To add to my troubles, my battery gave out in my camera (which is a disaster of epic proportions), but luckily the paparazzi showed up. Some of us went to lunch at Ya Halas and Susan Danielski with St. Andrews gave us a special tour of the chapel. A great day!

To see what the others did and a slideshow of the day....go HERE.

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, Bell Tower in the rain, oil on 6x6 canvas panel
(Bottom Photos) Young artists join in!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I went to the Bread and Ink art discussion meeting today. The painting above is one I took with me to show. To see what everyone brought.....go HERE.

In the afternoon I got to go to a 2nd meeting at Cathedral Park/Studio 30. As a bonus, while I was there,  I was invited to go check out Mark and Matt Fisher's property on the river (dubbed "Green Anchors"). The property has a batch of uber-unusal structures/work areas and it's recently been featured in an episode of Grimm.  Mark gave us a tour on Captain Bob, his 66 year old tugboat. (Captain Bob was scheduled to be scraped, but Mark rescued it and plans to refurbish it). Here's a slideshow (.....and the adorable dog is "Jones"):

(direct link to album click HERE.)

Painting: Celeste Bergin, Sundown, oil on 6x8 canvas panel

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Painting: Celeste Bergin, Creekside, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

God Bless these United States

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America. And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth. Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States ----President Barack Obama

Painting: Celeste Bergin, The Columbia River, oil on 9x10 canvas panel

Monday, November 5, 2012


Complementary colors at work! I just have to add a few details to call it complete. I used a palette knife in some areas...can you see where?

Painting-in-progress, Celeste Bergin, Snow field, oil on 8x8 canvas panel

Sunday, November 4, 2012


This painting is from quite awhile ago. It's a copy of an old master and I did not note the artist.  Maybe you can tell me. I remember I used only ultramarine blue, raw umber and white.

I like everything about this figure, how he is taking a step and how you can see just a bit of his face....I especially like that you can see his dog behind him. The figure is carrying a basket of food, or grain or something. .... I like the bold dark shapes.

Study, Celeste Bergin, Man carrying a basket, copy of a master painting, oil on 6x12 canvas panel

Saturday, November 3, 2012


..... Why not just keep everything you paint? I'll tell you why, it's an energy drain to have scads of mediocre paintings just taking up space.  It's been time consuming to sort through 100's of efforts, making decisions about what to deep-six and what to keep, but I'm pleased to report that I am 3/4's of the way through the project and I'll be finished tomorrow. (I've started this project several times and this time I am going to see it through). The painting above is one I'll keep. I painted it at Crystal Springs. There is a lot about it that makes no real sense, but something enigmatic about it demanded ........"keep". 

(Top Photo) Painting: Celeste Bergin, The pond through the trees (at Crystal Springs), oil on 8x8 canvas panel
(Bottom) Some of my endless stacks of practice paintings

Happy Weekend!

On the advice of my friend Michael Lindstrom, I've added some sparkles to this floral painting. (We can describe "Sparkles" as an indication of something lively, but not over-described in the background). Ah, ever did you get so smart!? :)

( see how it looked before, go HERE)

Painting, Celeste Bergin, From the Garden, oil on 8x10 canvas panel

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Here is what I've learned...if you paint a lot you'll improve! Here's what else I've learned...if you paint a lot you'll also wind up with stacks of bad paintings. I'm thinking the ratio might be something like 10 to 1. What's wrong with many paintings (especially those done on-site) is that they have middle values...middle values and more middle values. Ho-hum!  Look at your crap paintings and see if I'm not right! Something needs to dominate to make a good painting....and that's my public service announcement for the day.

More cat-sitting with little Maxine. She used to hide from me, but now I can tell she likes sitting with me while I do my daily sketch of her. My credo is that if there is no time for painting I'll do at least one sketch of something (anything) per day. Maxine is a good subject!

Yesterday was Halloween and the newest family top banana paid us a visit. We didn't have many trick or I ate 5 mini-snickers after dinner. (God help me!) was YOUR day?

(Top Photo) Paintings to be recycled/repurposed and thrown away to make room for new better paintings!
(Center) Maxine chillin while I sketch her pretty curves
(Bottom) Topher & Eloise