Saturday, June 12, 2010

Celeste Inspires

1963, Seen but Not Heard

I visit Celeste Bergin's blog often. She paints every day--landscapes, animals, cowboys, people, flowers--all beautiful. Several weeks ago, she posted a self-portrait that she'd covered with pthalo blue. I spent at least 30 minutes moving the cursor hand around her face. What fun. When the hand covered the mouth, I thought "Seen but Not Heard." I found a photo from 1963 and whipped out a portrait (in only eight days--fast for me). 1963 was a time of black eyeliner, high heels, and high hair. For some women, finding one's voice took a while (I would not go back). I always feel old photos are of some acquaintance--not of me. The blue tint and cursor drawing were added in Corel.

This is the painting, which was troublesome--I originally gave myself a longer neck, large pupils (like after a visit to the ophthalmologist), a too-long chin and a too-short upper lip. I judge this as okay and I might just cover it with pthalo blue--acrylic, 14x11. It has no title yet--maybe "Only my Hair was High."

The photo was taken when I was not quite 21 and living in D.C. The photographer had been trained by the Navy in aerial photography, then assigned to submarine duty. We were co-workers; I married him. He was an offset photographer at the Commerce Department, and retired in 1992 as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce. (Where is my left shoulder?)

I am surprised by the resemblance in this photo to earlier blogs: "Woman in a Rain Bonnet" (April 26) and "A Leftover Chicken" (Feb. 24).

An update on the local ospreys. They are alive and well, and keeping an eye on the ball.


  1. Hallie- Where to begin? One of the things I always look forward to is your take on life- how you see things is simply fascinating. I think your self portrait is stunning and I enjoyed hearing about your past. I'm interested to know what your final title will be- but the temporary one is fabulous!
    You inspire me every day. I may have more to add later- this is what came upon first viewing.
    I'm glad the Osprey are alive and well.

  2. Thanks, Pam. I've never quite gotten the point of a straight portrait; the cursor hand gave me a reason. Of course, I couldn't find one that I could print out (they are tiny-- and hard to draw in Corel). I like the kid's eye view of the world--everything's a toy.

  3. hwf! Wow! Great self portrait (you got a wonderful resemblance!) I like both versions, the "straight" one and the blue one (with cursor). You can always be counted upon to painting something so interesting. Now, you inspire me--because I would like to go back to a youthful me and put me into paint. I feel the same way --about looking at an old photo and thinking..I know her, "sorta". lol.
    Love the portraits. Outstanding! and thanks so much for the shout out. (hope that doesn't make me sound like Sarah Palin) haha

  4. Don't cover it in blue!!! It's beautiful the way it is. Very nice! Love the backstory too.

  5. Forget the shoulder... I want to know where your clothes are young lady!

    I think you captured the essence of the young you quite well. I can see the bemused sense of humor that is one of my favorite things about you dancing around in your eyes. You have taken on this challenge and kicked its butt.

    I wonder if the osprey's eggs will hatch quicker with the incubator lights? I'm glad to hear their still doing well.


  6. When I first saw your painting I was reminded of Warhol and his iconoclastic comments through art. You have a wonderful way of poking fun at the serious. That, coupled with your technical skills produces a unique and meaningful work of art. That's what it's all about. I'm glad the osprey are doing well!

  7. Thanks Celeste. I had to go all the way back to Mad Men time. I had trouble with lights and darks--Dave just reminded me that he used something called "butterfly lighting." I look forward to seeing your portrait. I don't think we'll confuse you with Sarah Palin--you've never mentioned seeing Alaska from Portland.

    Thanks Dan. I always smile when you talk about your age.

    Don--thanks. My bosses asked exactly the same question--we had dresses called "strapless." I did notice that mischief in the eyes (and I was actually trying for sexy). Oh, well.

    Kathy. I thought of Warhol when I posted this last night--the way he used a series of portraits; I could only come up with one thing that represented the early 60's--the cat-eye glasses. The pointed bra was another (and I used that in a sculpture). Thank you.

  8. Delightful exercise...I love the Corel version along with its back story... your views are so refreshing and so fabulously quirky.
    I'm a fan ;-)

    Yay for they Osprey.

  9. Thank you Merci. When I was labeled quirky at a sculpture show in the early 90's, I wasn't sure I liked it. Now, it seems to fit. I think I come from a long line of quirks--we shift ever so slightly and get a different view. Humor is usually just a shade away from sad; can't have one without the other.

  10. I was a bit surprised by this portrait. When I first loaded the page, I thought for a moment that the cursor was my cursor and I tried to move it out of the way. Not that my cursor ever looks likes that! I really like both versions, but I think I'd move the cursor on the blue one down, just a bit (you did say it was digital right?) because it looks more like it's pointing up at her nostril. I really like the idea of unconventional portraits!

  11. Hi Raena. Even I keep thinking I can move that cursor. Since this was the third cursor hand I drew (not easy to draw with the mouse) I left it. It should probably be redrawn and made larger. I'm still playing with the idea of doing it to the actual portrait--and whether it should be a cursor or a white-gloved hand--and whether it should be my hand or someone else's.

  12. Thank you, Vickiekurt. Humor was a part of growing up in southern Virginia.