Born in Washington D.C., Bergen spent some of her early childhood living on a farm with grandparents in Oklahoma after her mother took ill. Her grandmother, a woman of few words, painted images of their rural surroundings. She put a paintbrush into Bergen’s hand, and Bergen never let go. Bergen eventually moved to Southern California, mainly Santa Monica, where she lived for many years. In the 1970s, she lived in England and Spain, a nearly three-year experience that further fueled her love of art and adventure. She continued her explorations in the 1980s by traveling to Nepal many times, hiking, painting and visiting Tibetan monasteries. She also traveled to Africa, hiking and painting Mt. Kilimanjaro, bicycled over New Zealand, and ducked bullets in Sri Lanka. These adventures expanded her love of landscape as did traveling and painting in Paris, Zurich, Germany, Basque country, Portugal, Norway and Japan. She moved to the Northwest in 1994, where she resides today on Whidbey Island.
Bergen studied art in the late 1970s with Martin Facey, an exceptional artist & teacher at Santa Monica College and UCLA. It was through Martin that she met his mentor, Richard Diebenkorn, and was inspired to pursue her art. She also feels fortunate to have studied and exhibited with Japanese master calligrapher Yoshiyasu Fujii and Meito Shodo Kai in the art of sumi-e (ink painting) and shodo (Japanese calligraphy). Bergen has also worked in the mediums of oil and encaustic wax. Currently, acrylic, monoprints and fiber art have her attention. Influences and inspirations include painters Franz Klein, Mark Rothko, Dennis Snyder, and of course Richard Diebenkorn and Martin Facey, as well as Turner’s landscapes, and the poetry of Rilke which are sprinkled through her work.