About the Artist

Artist’s Statement

A common theme.

The concepts behind my work are based on puns, but there is a deeper theme. Each dog is living out what it was created to do. The dogs look joyful or serene as they are engaged at doing what comes most naturally to them. As you view my “pantings” I hope you will not only enjoy the humor, but that you will be encouraged to live out what you were created to do – And in doing so find joy!

How it all Started...

A girl and her dog.

I was born with an innate appreciation and love for all creatures great and small. If I could have had the pet of my dreams I would have chosen a giraffe, a chimpanzee or a dolphin. My parents however, allowed me to have a goldfish and a guinea pig – and after three years of pleading, the realistic "pet of my dreams" – a dog. I was allowed to pick a small breed puppy from the Humane Society. My parents were told it would remain small as it was "90% Cocker Spaniel"... My little furry friend, however, just kept growing and I was in love! It wasn't long before "Sparky" became the subject of some early artistic inspiration -->

I was also born an artist. My parents fostered this love of mine by supplying me with numerous art supplies and supporting many art projects that I would start and never finish... Throughout school art was my favorite subject and I chose art classes over math when I could. Upon entering University level I was of course encouraged toward a more "sensible" degree and I graduated with a B.S. in K-8 Education with an Anthropology endorsement. Life quickly got busy and my passion for art was pushed to the side.

The Original Mountain Dog

The beginning of Panting Portraits.

"Mountain Sparky" by Laura Bergsma - age 8... or 10 maybe?

The Medium

An eco-friendly way of painting.

Some years ago Julia Cameron's book "The Artist's Way" was recommended to me – With the help of her book I started to rediscover my dreams, visions, and the need to express myself through an art medium.

As I started looking for the right medium, my husband introduced me to a computer based art program called "Painter." I found it fascinating and wonderful! Painter freed me up to really experiment and enjoy the creative process without wasting art supplies, messing up canvases, having to throw away failed drawings, having to clean up brushes, etc. I know that probably sounds like a tragedy to most artists – to give up the joy of wandering through an art store eyeing new supplies, finding new colors – to have paint and chalk smeared across your face and arms – but the possibilities that Painter allowed me to explore had me hooked!

My husband Matthew was (and is still) my biggest fan, encourager and supporter – So he started me out with some video tutorials, and a very small Wacom tablet connected to a laptop. I repeat, it was very small, but I knew no difference… yet! My first work of digital art was based on a rough pencil sketch I had done – Scottish Terrier was born!

Impressed at my progress, he kept surprising me with upgrades – a new book on Painter and a larger tablet. Soon after he set me up to work on two large screens. After countless hours of work my skills continued to increase. Next he introduced me to a special artist's screen called the "Cintiq." I was drooling, and decided it was my goal to earn one!

Laura Painting

I spent about 3 months doing odd jobs and saving every penny I could. I did some gardening and landscape design, I put in some hours at my father-in-law's business, and confession be told... dear mother-in-law I didn't use your kind monetary gift for a pedicure, it went right into my Cintiq fund – so thanks for your unknowing contribution! With a lot of hard work, time, patience, frustration, joy, and dancing to Pandora (I don't sit much when I draw), my art portfolio started to grow.

My Inspiration

Thanks to my support.

Much thanks and love go out to my husband Matthew. He has spent countless hours designing my website, logo, proofing all my prints and pondering funny concepts with me. Much gratitude to all who have loved me. Family and friends, Aunties & Uncles, each one of you have played a role in shaping me to be the person I am. I am so thankful for all the fun memories and times we have shared.

Thanks to my brother-in-law and his wife, Joel and Kiana Bergsma, and to our friend Aaron Luke. These were the first people who erupted in wild howls of laughter when I sheepishly showed them my first pieces. Their great reception to my art has been a real encouragement. Kiana even claims she is going to hang one of each painting on a single wall in their house. I can't wait to see the color scheme of that room!

Laura Bergsma currently resides with her husband Matthew Bergsma in beautiful Bellingham, Wa. When they aren't working their tails off (yes, pun intended), Matthew loves photography and Laura adores gardening. Together they love backpacking, roller blading and a rousing game of pickleball. During their 16 years together, Laura cannot claim a single pickle-ball victory to the Master of Pickleball, Matthew.