Saturday, August 20, 2016

Porcupine & Armadillo Revisions

I love Porcupine and Armadillo but they sure have been through a lot of visual revisions. This is the current final style above. :)

I had fun doing the lettering and I'm trying to decide if it's too distracting. Any opinions?
Here are some earlier versions below:

Dancing on the pink wood floor before they decided to move outside and dance in the snow.

I usually work at our small dining table and my daughter often does her own artwork next to me.

Here is an early incarnation of the friends as a linocut. It looked a little stiff and heavy, that's why I switched to the looser approach with pen, paint, and stamps.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

My Art Soundtrack

What a Wonderful World performed by Louis Armstrong
Written by George Davis Weiss, George Douglas, and Bob Thiele

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you.

I hear babies cry, and I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world. 
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.

In a recent episode of the Creative Pep Talk about Finding Your Unique Artistic Voice, Andy J Miller mentioned briefly that you can make a music soundtrack that sounds like what your art looks like. I tried it for fun and realized it's actually tricky to do! It was easy to make a soundtrack of my favorite music, or inspiring music to listen to while making art, but it's harder to pinpoint what my art would sound like if you could hear it instead of just seeing it. What a Wonderful World seemed to fit just right. Below are bits of other songs that made the short list for my art soundtrack. Try it for your own artwork and let me know what's on your list!

All I Want Is You by Barry Louis Polisar from the movie Juno

If I was a flower growing wild and free
All I'd want is to be your sweet honey bee.
And If I was a tree growing tall and green
All I'd want is you to shade me and be my leaves.

Blackbird by the Beatles

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

written by guitarist Warren Haynes with vocals by Gregg Allman

When you can't find the light,
That got you through the cloudy days,
When the stars ain't shinin' bright,
You feel like you've lost you're way,
When those candle lights of home,
Burn so very far away,
Well you got to let your soul shine,
Just like my daddy used to say.

He used to say soulshine,
It's better than sunshine,
It's better than moonshine,
Damn sure better than rain. 
Hey now people don't mind,
We all get this way sometime,
Got to let your soul shine, shine till the break of day.

You are My Sunshine

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine
You make me happy 
When skies are gray.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high, 
like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are!

The Rainbow Connection performed by Kermit (Jim Henson)
written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side
Rainbows are visions
But only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide

So we've been told and some choose to believe it
I know they're wrong, wait and see
Some day we'll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me

Who said that every wish
Would be heard or answered 
When wished on a morning star
Somebody thought of that 
And someone believed it
And look what it's done so far

What's so amazing 
That keeps us stargazing
And what do we think we might see
Someday we'll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Evolution of a Dragon

This super neat dragon lives in my town and comes out for parades and other fun community gatherings. He even breathes fire! My daughter, Tessa has always been a little afraid of him, but on this evening he was parked and not breathing fire, so she was willing to approach him.

The photos I took of her with the dragon really were fairytale-like. Not long after their meeting I did this painting in my sketchbook.

After that when I was trying to think of something for our RMC SCBWI image contest, I knew I wanted to work on the dragon and Tessa again.

I had SCBWI on my mind so I wanted the image to emphasize books or reading. Tessa is learning her letters right now and because of that I'm realizing how overwhelming it can be trying to learn 26 letters! And how they all sound! And words that start with those letters! And some of them look a lot alike! And there are UPPER CASE AND LOWER CASE LETTERS! 

But my daughter loves books, and she's learning lots of letters and general ideas about how reading works just from casual conversation while reading. I know she's going to love reading because she loves books so much. This thinking made me realize how learning letters and numbers and reading can be scary just like a dragon. But once you learn how it works and cozy up and make friends with letters, they can be your best friends and even be a little magical, just like an Alphabet Dragon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ReTree 2016

This spring I got to design the art for the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council's ReTree t-shirts and poster. I just saw the t-shirts today and they turned out great!

Last fall, my husband, daughter and I participated in the ReTree 2015 and we planted baby trees along the Yampa River. We had a great time! A photo of Tessa and I even wound up on this request for sponsors.

When I realized they were looking for art for the shirts this year I volunteered. Now we are signed up for the next tree planting that will happen in October.

The YVSC also wanted to try some posters this year. I took the same linocut and printed it in white on a black piece of paper and painted it. I'll share the finished poster when I see it!

Happy tree planting!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Porcupine & Armadillo

I've started a new series of drawings about two good friends, Porcupine and Armadillo. These will be turned into linocuts as soon as I finish drawing the last 3 images. I  can't wait to see them come to life!

Sunday, May 29, 2016


If you have a young person handy and you like to draw, collaborating is sooooo much fun! Here are two sketchbooks that Tessa and I have already done. And a favorite page from one of the books:

I was frustrated earlier this week because I'd been doing a lot of updating my website, Pinterest, and things like that and not creating art. So as a way to jump back into art, I had my daughter draw a picture in my sketchbook.

As you can see she's really into drawing circles right now. They looked like tires to me- but what is that big one up high? A boulder?

So I made this drawing. I never would have come up with this without her circles on the page. Having someone else start a drawing is a way to let your problem-solving skills take you somewhere a little different.

And here it is painted. Now I feel fired up and ready to dive into the next project that's on my list! Making pictures is so much fun!

Here are a couple of other artist teams doing wonderful work:

Mica Angela Hendricks and her daughter

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Woodland Animals are Done!

This has been a really fun project. Originally my friend asked if I'd make a set of animals for her new baby's room. I admit, she had a little input in the beginning, but I quickly took over completely because I was having such a good time!

They also look nice without color. I challenged myself to have a good mix of black and white with lots of texture and pattern. At the same time, I wanted to keep the images simple since they were for a baby. I sure hope baby Skylar likes his new artwork!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Introducing Myself

I listen to a lot of podcasts while I'm doing artwork. There's a pretty new one called Stories Unbound about creating children's picture books and it has some great interviews. The most recent one is an interview with the fantastic Jake Parker and I definitely recommend it. 

One of the things Jake suggested is that you can reintroduce yourself online- share your goals and dreams and your background. I really liked that idea! With social media we all see each other more often including the projects we are working on daily, but we don't often see the big picture or direction of someone's life. So here's my attempt at introducing myself. :)

Hi there! I'm Jill Bergman. I'd like to share a few of my favorite things so you have an idea my inspirations.

I love mountains, flowers, sunshine, stars, trees, rivers, and going on walks.

I love my family, my friends, and my house. 

I love art, printmaking, books, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, and the Steamboat Springs library

I love the art of:

I'm a printmaker and artist who especially loves writing, books, and type. I'm always finding ways to combine these forms of expression. You can read some posts I wrote about my path to becoming an artist in the My Creative Life links to the left or here: music, art, books, and motherhood

My usual way of working is by carving a single color linocut and then painting it with watercolor. A few months ago I finished a daily sketchbook project called 100 Trees. One of my goals for that project was to combine printmaking with other media and develop my own mixed media style. You can see the cards I made that grew out of that work here.

For many years I've wanted to illustrate children's picture books. I've created many picture book dummies and learned an incredible amount about illustrating, writing, children, and the publishing world. I'm part way through redrawing one of those dummies, Our Home. I got stalled out working on it because lots of commissions and opportunities came my way all at once. But I'll be back to finishing it very soon!

These are my goals:
To become a published picture book author and illustrator.
To have a greeting card line in stores nationally.

Beyond that, I would also love to do more:
Commissions, posters, t-shirts, and teaching.

These days I'm feeling pretty confident. Because I'm a self-taught artist and didn't start until my 20's, I think I had to put in some years working on my skills just like someone else would have done in school. For a long time my ideas and creativity outpaced my drawing skills and that was frustrating. I'm very good at carving linocut blocks, but a final print is only as good as the basic drawing. Now I think all of the different parts that make good art are coming together in me at the same time: ideas, design sense, drawing, technical skill, texture, pattern, color, storytelling, and fun! Because for me the most important ingredient is fun.

Thanks for reading about me! If you decide to "reintroduce" yourself please share the link to your story or just share your goals in the comments below!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Woodland Animals

 I've been working on a series of animals for a child's room. They are so much fun to make! There will be 8 total and I've made 5 so far. Each one will also be painted with watercolor. I don't want to show them completely yet, but here are some sneak peeks!