About the Artist

Ms. Bergstrom was raised in a desert community south of Palm Springs, California and has primarily focused on painting palm trees since 1974. She became well known nationally in watercolor societies because her paintings received awards in more than half of the many national competitions in which they were exhibited.

The last few years she has only painted large oils on linen. Since then, she has rarely entered competitions because of the very large size of most of the paintings.

She is an avid gardener, growing about 170 palm species and more than 400 palm trees. She is also the secretary of the Northern California Palm Society.

Edith Bergstrom: Showcasing the whole world (of palms) in her back yard
by Linda Hubbard Gulker, InMenlo

Her paintings may be seen at A Gallery Fine Art, 73-956 El Paseo Drive, Palm Desert, California. (1-760-346-8885)

Edith Bergstrom
Edith Bergstrom


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Artistic Background

An applied art major at Pomona College Edith spent the second semester of her Junior year in Madrid studying the great masters at the Prado and taking life drawing classes. The following summer she visited the major Museums in France, Italy, Holland and England. She was influenced most by Velasquez, Hals, Manet, Monet, and Cezanne. Later at Stanford University, Richard Diebenkorn and Dr. Lorenz Eitner influenced her while she was completing her graduate degree in art.

At Stanford she had weekly meetings with Mr. Diebenkorn and was painting oils which combined abstraction with realism, similar to Mr. Diebenkorn's work at that time. But after graduation she had an epiphany experience with a palm tree in the intense hot sun of the desert community where she grew up. The geometric abstract volumes and shapes fascinated her. The close-up images she photographed of palm trunks were realistic and yet completely abstract. This was the turning point and she reversed course, painting instead of abstract realism, realistic abstraction. She began to paint this way in watercolor and later had her first museum show at the Palm Springs Museum of Art.

Currently she is painting large oils on linen. The palms she paints she considers "portraits". They are as personal to her as Manet's portrait of Antonin Proust. She combines Manet's intense power of observation with a special interest in color combinations similar to the Impressionists and post-impressionist paintings of Gauguin. Her work also embodies a solid structural basis and balance reminiscent of Degas.

In the small book Manet wrote and self-published he said of himself, "Misere Manet has recognized talent for what it is and claims neither to revolutionize painting nor to have created a new one." He has simply tried to be himself. Many late nineteenth and twentieth century artists did seek to continually break new visual ground. Edith has simply tried to be herself. As Manet, she found her own visual language in dynamic images of a subject most people simply take for granted. People tell her that after seeing one of her shows they will never look at a palm the same way again. She indeed has created a fresh vision of reality. She believes this is the artist's role - to extend the perception and nature of life from each artist's unique experience and viewpoint. Each artist illumines a tiny facet of a greater order. Art should be a dynamic dialogue with every other facet of a grand whole.

Her paintings may be seen at A Gallery Fine Art, 73-956 El Paseo Drive, Palm Desert, California. (1-760-346-8885)

About Palm Trees

There are more than 3,000 palm species worldwide.  They grow from the cold high Andes Mountains to the blistering low deserts and in steamy rain forests.  The foliage, trunks and fruit are even more varied than the locations in which these trees thrive. I was attracted initially by the orderly bold and graceful shapes, but as I looked deeper and learned the histories and relationships of the trees with the peoples and animals that have been depending on them for thousands of years, a new admiration grew. Palms inculcate qualities not only of beauty, usefulness, strength, toughness, tenacity, patience and vigor, but a distinct, disciplined, orderly growth pattern. Visit the “Orientation” section of my Garden Web Site to see examples of various tree types.  http://palmgardensbergstrom.com

Personal Philosophy

A palm tree, a good painting and the quality of one’s life have a lot in common. They are both ordered thought and meaningful relationships. In painting I am balancing line, shape, color, value, rhythm, texture, etc.  In one’s life, relationships must be ordered and made to work together. Each individual is an artist who paints his life by the choices he or she makes, and the thoughts he/she accepts or rejects as true in their experience.  These choices determine the quality and the harmony or discord in each unique life “picture”.

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