Daily Art Practice: Visual Painting Journal – Recent Pages

August 27, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

Time for an update of my year long project of painting in a visual journal every day. Here’s a selection of pages from late summer through early fall. Favorites:

August 11, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

August 12, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

August 31, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 1, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 4, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 5, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 14, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 16, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 18, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 19, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 21, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 22, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 25, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 27, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 28, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 29, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

September 30, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

October 2, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

October 5, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

Themes continue to emerge: Play, experimentation, circles, layers, mark-making, revealing, excavation, color, lines . . . . and I’m in the final three months of my project.

Alien Cement Boat: FINALLY!

Years ago I clipped an article out of the Freshwater News, a local Portland boating newspaper, about an alien cement boat that had washed ashore on Sauvie Island, just a short drive west of Portland. I was immediately hooked, but tucked the article away for some day.

That day came on Friday when Howard and I decided to go for a hike and locate the alien craft. For those who are fans of Atlas Obscura (it is what we use as our guide when we travel), you can find the UFO boat listed under Unusual Things to Do in Portland, No. 24. We did some additional research about where the boat was located, and surprisingly, it wasn’t difficult to find at all.

In a nutshell, head to Sauvie Island, take Reeder Road to Collin’s Beach (clothes optional, so if you go in the summer, don’t be surprised if you don’t see clothed people), and park at entrance 3 (entrances are marked). There is plenty of parking, but you will need a $10 day pass to park. Head toward the river and turn right.


We had only walked a short distance, when Howard said, “I see it.” I hyperventilated and ran toward it, overcome with emotion and pure joy.

You get the idea.

The tri-hull concrete boat is made of ferro cement and created by Richard Ensign (an engineer in Hubbard, Oregon) in the early 1970s. The craft could hold 12 people and had a homemade wood stove on board, along with a generator to provide power. The maiden voyage took place in 1973. The last time the boat was registered with the Oregon Marine Board was 1978. When the 1996 floods occurred, the boat slipped out of its moorage and ended up on a beach at Sauvie Island, hidden by trees. This sign sharing some of the history is posted by a tree next to the orb.

It’s possible to go into the boat, but it isn’t easy and I wasn’t able to maneuver one of the three ways of entry: A hanging rope with knots, a couple of unstable logs leaned up against the back, or just flat out climbing up onto the vessel by holding and twisting; Howard chose option 3. (If you really want to enter, bring a tall ladder! I wish I had.)

I handed my camera to Howard and he took the inside photos.

Howard had such fun scrambling around inside and out, I was definitely jealous.

We didn’t rush our visit and no one was around, so we had it to ourselves (although I doubt there is a huge rush at any time!).

It was finally time to go. I gave her a final hug . . . .

. . . and decided to share my discovery with my friends so they could experience the thrill of seeing such an unusual object in the wild!


PS A guy arrived at the beach just as we were leaving. He was wearing a pretty sweet pair of sparkly see through red shorts, and it looked like he was preparing to go for a swim. We said hello and headed out for our hike to the Warrior Head Lighthouse.


13th Annual Day of the Dead at Guardino Gallery


Day of the Dead, year 13, opens Thursday, September 26, 2019, at Guardino Gallery in NE Portland. Not only is this a fabulous group show featuring over 50 artists, it is the place to be for the celebration, costumes, face painting, music, food, and inventive art. I’ve participated for many years, frequently getting into the spirit by dressing up.

Stephanie and Dayna

Mr. and Mrs. Collins

My art for the show has always been assemblages and found object art. This year, I created four pieces, all nestled into vintage wood boxes. Three of my pieces are tall and narrow boxes, each with a single chair, a word, and a minimum of objects. In creating these simple pieces, I was thinking about those I have lost and the desire to sit with them for one last conversation.

lost      listen      linger

The other piece I created for this show is a variation on a design I created in 2017 for a community read project and then for the 2017 Day of the Dead show; this time around, rather than hanging found objects of remembrance on a branch or a piece of wood, I nestled the items in a box, attaching each piece of string with a vintage and aged thumb tack.

I love this show and I hope you’ll be able to attend the opening reception on Thursday, September 26, 6-9 pm, or visit the show, which will be up until October 27.

Salem Poetry Festival

I was invited by the Salem Poetry Festival to paint while two poets read a series of their poems during the Salem Poetry Festival. Last Thursday, I arrived early at the Ike Box in downtown Salem to set up my table. I chose to bring four 11 x 14 canvases and two table easels, with the plan to paint two pieces as each poet read their poetry for about 30 minutes each.

The idea was that my painting would be in response to the poems being read. To prepare for the evening of painting, I repurposed four canvases I had bought at SCRAP, painting over someone’s previous painting to prepare it for my use; I painted two of the canvases black and two in hot pink and orange, giving me something to respond to other than a blank, white canvas.


Poet Carol Hottle kicked off the event and my first painting was in response to her reading a series of poems about a transformational experience she had, surviving a horrific auto accident.

My second painting was in response to a series of poems that reflected positive experiences, and I allowed myself to focus on the visual images Carol painted with her words.

When it was time for poet Mike Shuler to read, I listened as he read until I picked up on a poem about children joyfully playing along the banks of a river, and I couldn’t resist painting a bright abstracted landscape.

The second piece I painted was in response to Mike sharing how much he loves hiking in the Cascade Head area, a place that is near and dear to me because it is where Sitka Center For Art and Ecology is located (and where I taught two painting classes this summer).

The whole experience was positive and fun and once I started painting, I tuned out the room full of people and just focused on the flow of words and the flow of paint.  At the conclusion of the evening, I invited both poets to choose a painting to take with them.

Salem Poetry Festival
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Carol, Dayna, and Mike


Abstracted Play in Oil and Cold Wax: August 2019

What a wild week. Twelve women artists came together to take my Abstracted Play in Oil and Cold Wax workshop at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. Some had taken my class previously, a few had learned from other instructors, and quite a few had never worked with oil paint or cold wax, and one was new to painting. There was some gnashing of teeth, lots of laughter, a little whining, a smidgeon of frustration, and in the end, happiness with their success and the beauty of their pieces.

I did demos every morning and afternoon . . .

The women then worked on their own pieces, working in multiples so they had lots of pieces to work on at various stages of the process.

One thing I loved seeing was the camaraderie of how the women supported each other and worked together.

I gave my Artist Talk on Saturday after lunch (they all showed up for my talk, although this photo makes it look like no one did!).

On our last day, we worked in the morning and then in the afternoon cleaned up our supplies, spread out our body of work, and did a walkabout, sharing the highlights of the week.

Here is an assortment of the work created during the week, in no particular order, some on boards, some on Arches Oil Paper, some large and some small:

It was a really fun week.

PS This was the second time I got to teach at Sitka this summer. In June, there was an opening and I was able to slip in a bonus version of this workshop, which I blogged about earlier.

Daily Painting Journal: How I Do It

Several people have asked me if I plan to offer a class on how I keep a daily painting journal. Whenever I’ve been asked, I’ve thought, I just paint something every day in a book. But there is more to it than that, so rather than a class, I thought I would share using my blog as the means to convey the details of what I do and the benefits of why I do it.

I’ll start with why I decided to keep a daily painting journal. The simple answer is I wanted to have a prompt or motivation to get me into my studio. I figured if I set an intention to do a small daily painting, I might just linger and do something else and build upon the time I spend in my studio. Many times that has happened, but other times, I do my painting and that is it for the day; but it is something.

Another reason I decided to start a practice of creating a small painting in a journal is that it allows me to experiment and play with ideas. By creating in a small journal, the painting isn’t precious, it isn’t for anyone but me, and it allows me a certain amount of freedom that painting on a large canvas or painting for a show doesn’t allow me.

What I learned along the way:


  • It’s fun. Sometimes I don’t want to stop and I allow myself to put leftover paint from my current page onto the next day’s page so I have something to respond to the next day.


  • It isn’t precious when it’s in a journal. It seems my inner critic is quieted by painting on the page of a journal. I approach it as just practice or at best playtime, so the censors are muted.


  • I was inspired along the way. I often use my daily journal pages as inspiration for bigger paintings, either in acrylic or in oil and cold wax. The pages allow me to play with colors and compositions so when it is time to show up in the studio and create bigger pieces with a deadline or for some other purpose, I have lots of ideas to choose from and use as a spring board, even if the finished piece looks nothing like my journal page.

My process:

  • It is important to have a dedicated space for doing my daily paintings. I have a table set up in my studio with acrylic paints, paintbrushes, palette knives, a brayer, water, paper towels, and mark-making implements such as pencils, acrylic paint pens, and oil pastels.

  • I use a 9×9 inch Super Deluxe Mixed Media journal by Bee Paper Aquabee (manufactured in Beaverton, Oregon). The journal has 60 sheets and the pages are 93 lb. weight; the journals retail for $21.25 (and at the time of this blog post, they are on sale at Dick Blick for $10.04).

  • I cover each journal with handmade paper, using sandpaper to rough up the cover’s surface, then adhering the paper with matte medium.

  • When I started this project at the beginning of the year, I painted an entry on each side of the page, but after a few days I wondered if I might want to do something with the individual paintings, i.e., pull them out and hang them for a show, or pull them out and mount them to a panel. If I had paintings on each side, I wouldn’t be able to do either of those things, so I quickly abandoned double-sided painting and now use one page for each daily painting. I go through journals more quickly, but I have options if I choose to do something with all or some of the paintings in the future.


  • I use acrylic paint on the pages. A few times I’ve incorporated collage, but so far the focus has primarily been on creating abstract paintings. For making marks, I use No. 2 and Stabilo pencils, Woody chunky crayons, acrylic pens, and oil pastels.


  • In my first four journals, my paintings are in the middle of the page, going out toward the edges, but not to the edges. When I started my fifth journal on August 11 (Day #223), I was ready to mix it up and started painting all the way to the edge on all four sides.

  • I let the paintings dry thoroughly, but for the first few days after I have painted a page, I insert a piece of wax paper to prevent the pages from sticking together.

  • I number and date each page, and then photograph each painting, which I store on my computer by the “day” number.


  • I regularly post photos of my daily paintings on Instagram and on my Facebook art page; I share selected photos on Pinterest, and on occasion, I do a blog post highlighting some of my favorite pages. Here are links to previous posts:

January 25, 2019

March 27, 2019

May 28, 2019

August 2, 2019

I recommend giving a daily painting journal a try, using my methods or coming up with something that works for you. The benefits are more than worth the effort and I love watching my journals stack up.

Daily Art Practice: Visual Painting Journal – Mid Summer Paintings

200th Painting!
July 19, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

Daily painting is still happening in my studio (and sometimes when I’m on the road and not at home). One time I forgot to take my painting journal with me, so I painted on little pieces of watercolor paper I had available and then taped the pieces into my journal, a couple of make do entries (you’ll see them below). Here are some selected pages since my last post on May 28.

May 30, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

June 5, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

June 7, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

June 12, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

June 13, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

June 14, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

June 22, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

June 23, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

July 8, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

July 13, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

July 15, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

July 20, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

July 21, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

July 23, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

July 26, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

July 27, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

July 28, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

July 29, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

July 31, 2019
Dayna J. Collins


Salvage Collage: A Sort of Magic – Opening Reception

The opening reception for my show (with ceramic artist Michelle Gallagher) at Guardino Gallery, was on Thursday, July 25. It was a warm evening and lots of people were out enjoying art and the festivities of Last Thursday on Alberta.

The official photos:

Michelle Gallagher, Donna Guardino, and me

The unofficial photos:


Alea and me

Howard chats with Stacey and Fred

Greg Carrigan catching up with friends

Howard and Donna watch the festivities of Last Thursday on Alberta

With my daughter Amy

Stan and Bobbie

Grandson Major ponders the art

Howard and Steph

Thank you to everyone who came out for the opening and for those who have been visiting since the show opened.

Salvage Collage: A Sort of Magic

My show is hung. After working on a variety of pieces over the past year and a half, I can take a deep breath and revel in the accomplishment of creating a body of work and getting to share it at Guardino Gallery. All of the pieces I have been working on for this show have been created out of old books. My Artist Statement pretty much says it all:

Dayna Collins has always loved old books. She hyperventilates at the sight of books which are stained, defaced, torn or marked up. She rips battered books apart, reclaiming their faded fragments, and creates collages using only materials she has excavated.  Dayna’s mixed media pieces reflect the passage of time, repurposing the scraps that are worn and weathered, transforming the aged and tattered pieces into something unexpected and beautiful, celebrating their fragile decay.

Here’s the tiniest glimpse of what has been going on over the past 18 months:

Then it became time to begin putting the pieces together into some sort of format for presentation. I ended up using six different formats.

Salvage Collages on vintage blocks.

Book boards floating in a custom black frame.

“A Lulling Possibility of Happiness,” salvage collage on book board.

“A Shattered Sense of Normality,” matted and framed in white.

“Secrets Spill Out,” salvage collage on vintage piece of wood.

“Hope Carson,” salvage collage on watercolor paper, mounted on cradled panel.

Then there was the Herculean task of titling, mounting, photographing, inventorying, and packing. There were a few hiccups with the floating and the mounting, but after a few tears, I nutted up and found a solution.

Prepping for the “floating” of the book board collages.

My photography studio.

It was fun to work in so many styles, using the same materials to create entirely different looks. Unfortunately, it was a challenge for Donna and Gail to hang such disparate styles of work. But they did a magnificent job and created combinations I never would have imagined.

One of my favorite things about having a show at Guardino (this is my fourth one!), is designing the window. As soon as I got notice that I would have a show in July, I started plotting and planning for the window.

It turned out just as I had hoped.

Photo courtesy of ceramic artist Michelle Gallagher.

The show opens on Thursday, July 25, from 6-9 pm. I’m sharing the Feature Gallery with my friend and fellow artist, Michelle Gallagher, who has created a delightful series of ceramic corvids. Their dark beauty compliment my pieces perfectly and we were excited to share this show. Michelle took some great photos, so here is a peek at our show. . . . hopefully this will entice you out tomorrow night for a summer evening of merriment and refreshments (and to experience Last Thursday on Alberta).

Photo courtesy of ceramic artist Michelle Gallagher.

Photo courtesy of ceramic artist Michelle Gallagher.

Photo courtesy of ceramic Michelle Gallagher.

PS Last weekend our local YMCA had their final book sale in their old building. Of course, I was there first thing on Friday morning, restocking my art supplies . . . .

Stash of raw materials.


Abstracted Play in Oil and Cold Wax: June 2019

I’m a tad tardy in sharing about my June class at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, but it has been fun looking through all of the photos a month later. This class was special because Sitka had a last minute workshop cancellation and I was asked to teach an additional session of my Abstracted Play in Oil and Cold Wax (my August class filled quickly and had a long waiting list).

Sitka is located on the Oregon Coast at Cascade Head (between Lincoln City and Neskowin). I got to stay in Gray House, a cabin located just a short walk up from Boyden Studio, where my class was held.

Gray House

I love the process of preparing to teach – walking the grounds, the lesson planning, and getting the studio set up.

Boyden Studio

Once class got started, it was a whirlwind of activity. I started each morning with a warm up exercise, and then moved into teaching techniques. Students were given lots of time to practice and play – and they all jumped in with a fearless enthusiasm.


This routine was repeated for four days and it was a blur of heightened energy, creativity, and beautiful results.


On the fourth day, we worked in the morning, and then cleaned up in preparation for our sharing and wrap up.


During our class, I did warm ups along with students and also illustrated how working in a visual journal can be great inspiration for creating paintings.

I’m already excited for my next class, August 22-25.

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