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Janne Bergstol

acrylic, chalk, ink on paper
28″ x 18″


Casey Roonan, Comics Artist & Cartoonist

Casey Roonan
Cartoonist & Comics Artist

Artist Statement
“I have always been fascinated by the human face. There’s something about the lines, the softness and the sensitivity that I just feel the need to express in my drawings and paintings. This acrylic painting on paper combines this fascination with my love for texture. Several layers, many of which consist of different colors, together with coarse and quick brush strokes, give the painting its texture and depth. The motive is a result of an intuitive approach, building up the layers like molding a piece of clay. To me this painting is an expression of vulnerability through the veil of texture.”

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Video Transcript

“I love how moody this piece is. The texture you get from your brushstrokes and the energy of the mark making, it’s really excellent.

And what I’m thinking would really benefit this piece now, is if you worked at a much grander scale, because right now the composition feels really tight. The face bleeds almost to the edge of the paper, and I think instead, you should really want to show as much of that rich black background as possible. Currently we see some of the white of the paper, which I think is kind of a mistake. It makes the piece feel unresolved.

Also you can think more about the way you’re using color in the piece. Clearly you’re using a very limited color palette, of just very small moments of red and yellow and blue. But I think you could put more intention behind that.

Because right now, I think the color is most successful in areas where it’s used sort of as a highlight, such as the crimson in the lips and the blue just underneath the nose; (because) that creates a nice contrast next to the side of the face cast completely in shadow.”

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5 responses on "Janne Bergstol"

  1. This piece is terrific – I love how it manages to be dark in mood and palette without becoming cliche or devoid of color. You’re using the medium and the colors really well! The most exciting part of the piece for me is how the texture of the applied gesso beneath the paint (or first layer of paint…hard to tell!) creates a new level of the work: how it creates shapes that then work with the lines, the “cracks” in the face. You should try out some Acrylic Gloss Medium (liquid form, not the paste!): mix it with the acrylic and you can find yourself even adding more additional layers of color beyond the surface!

  2. I might have to disagree in part with Casey in the way you use color. I’m really quite in love with all of the neutrals and off whites you’ve come up with, they are so delicate and beautiful. It makes for a pensive and ghostly portrait. I think I’m looking for more intentionality in your mark making. Your mark making is energetic and you like to show how your hand moves across the page, but these marks don’t necessarily contribute to carving out the face or adding to the background. I’m not sure what the vertical motions on the neck contribute to the form of the neck. These marks are more obvious because they do happen to be in color, but compare those forceful marks to the bold white mark you used to define the cheekbone. The boldness, motion, and color are working in harmony in a way that tells us that light is hitting that hard plane of the face.

  3. I think that the hectic brush strokes and texture adds so much to this piece, especially since the chaos carries right into the face. The emotion in the face is so exaggerated by the brushstrokes, and I think it works wonderfully!

    • I agree! What I think is interesting about the mark-making in this piece is that the facial expression is actually pretty muted, but the emotion reads really strongly because of those brushstrokes. Very expressive work.

  4. I’m so impressed by your use of texture and exciting brush strokes. You’re also doing a wonderful job of combining warm and cool colors to show shadows and even establish a mood.

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