Possessed of great humility, insight and flat out exuberance, artist Mia Bergeron was a joy to chat with. Based in in Chattanooga she paints mostly portraits that capture light, intimacy and vulnerability in a style that is breathy-dynamic and has the focused looseness that only a master painter can pull off.
In 2010 she was named one of the top 21 Artists, Under 31 Years of age, To Be Collected, and in 2015 she was named as one of the 10 Best Contemporary Portrait Artists working today.
We talk about weddings, fog, Barney, pop music, and art, lots of art and painting . . .
Here are the main points of what we talk about:
- Studying at the Charles Cecil Studio,
- Origins of paintings,
- Idea collection,
- Working from life and photos,
- Color palette,
- Favorite equipment,
- Artistic influences,
- Methods of working,
- Common student mistakes,
- Plein air painting,
- Self portraits,
- Art reflecting life,
- Social change,
- Underlying themes,
- Most moving painting to make,
- Big art dreams,
- Artistic challenges,
- Following your own North Star,
To find out more about Mia and her work
Most moving painting to make . . .
Here is the letter Mia wrote to herself in her blog.
“When coming back to painting (and life) after being away
(or what to read when anxious, overwhelmed, or just plain having a time of it.)”
“Make your space feel neat and safe.
Take time to do this.
Then, give yourself ample time to paint / do your task.
Remember that worrying about future painting / plans feels much worse than actually just sitting down and painting / doing the steps.
Play music and podcasts that are grounding and make you feel focused.
Try to wake up early – remember morning is quiet and new.
Put in a full work week, then make sure to not work when you need to.
List people each day you need to email, classes you need to plan, tasks to do, then do them and be done.
When painting, put out lots of paint (don’t be cheap or fearful of this) and premix as many big puddles of color as you can for the painting you will be working on.
Take fish oil daily – it helps you concentrate.
Try to still yourself.
Eat a lot of vegetables and proteins.
When painting, remember that when you smooth a passage, it is hard to make it broken / choppy / painterly afterwards, so better to leave smoothing until the end when you have full choice where/how much / how.
Do a few kind deeds every day.
Watch for overwhelmed feelings / anxiety / stress / fantasy when you are tired. Know that those are normal, and be kind and forgiving with yourself, but also know they can very dishonestly take over.
Plan actions, not thoughts, to pull yourself out of any funks.
Don’t make big decisions on days you are overly tired / stressed.
There is not enough time to rush.
Remember you have a great life.
Make a gratitude list.
Care for and love your paintings – they will be someone’s sacred thing, they are your sacred act.
Send a kind text to a friend asking how they are doing when you are being overly self-focused.
Don’t listen to radio pop songs.
Try to feel your own feet.
If your phone is too much for you some days, TURN IT OFF! You are NOT on-call.
Plan a walk or lunch outside.
Try centering every morning.
In the end, procrastination is the source of a lot of your anxiety.”
Referenced in the podcast . .
RGM Pallet knife No 80
There were quite a few available on Amazon when I checked.
Soundtrack from The Last Temptation of Christ by Peter Gabriel
Sarah Thornton’s books – Seven Days in the Art World and 33 Artists in 3 Acts.
Thanks for listening!
Theme music by The Argyle Pimps. Thanks lads.