Sitka Art Invitational

This premier event is taking place this weekend and I am one of the lucky participating artists. I submitted three pieces of art, all loosely related to ecology and nature.

“Magnetic Attraction,” 18 x 18 inches, plaster, oil and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.


“The Smell of Salt Lingered in the Air,” 20 x 20 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.


“A Seasonal Echo,” 12 x 42 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.


Friday night was the opening reception, Party With the Artists. Every inch of the exhibition hall was packed with artists, art lovers, and collectors. There were delicious appetizers, drinks, and live music, and of course, lots of art filling the space.

I don’t know if any of my pieces have sold, I’ll find out later today, but fingers crossed that I won’t be bringing all three pieces back home.


What’s Your Story: Filming, Panel Discussion, and Workshop


Last week my Artist in Residence studio was abuzz with activity. On Thursday, our local television studio interviewed Kathy and Sandra about the one year anniversary of the Art Annex and then interviewed me as the current Artist in Residence.

On Friday night, the Salem Art Association hosted a panel discussion titled, Caring For Personal Objects Through Archiving and Art. The panel consisted of archivists, historians, curators — and then me, who unabashedly uses photos and ephemera in mixed media art pieces. It was a lively and informative discussion. My friend Stephanie wrote me a beautiful note as I prepared for the discussion:

I love your alternative history exploration. This speaks to me so loudly. Not everyone was important, some lived quiet lives, with no heirs, lives boxed up, taken to the curbside and scattered to the wind. Taking the broken fragments, detritus, and ephemera is such an act of love and respect ….conserving with a twist, the odd elements of the human condition never ceases to amaze me.

On Saturday, I arrived at the Art Annex early to set up for my one day workshop. I spent the day with ten artists, sharing my process for creating mixed media photo collages. Some women brought their own family photos, others used my stash of strangers. The day was fast-paced and filled to the brim with laughter, painted fingers, and debris strewn about.


Some amazing art was created and everyone created multiple mixed media pieces; I’m sharing one piece from each of the ten artists who participated in the class.


What’s your story? Real or imagined?




What’s Your Story: Artist in Residence Begins

Back in August of 2016, I was offered an Artist in Residence position at the Salem Art Association’s new Art Annex. Today I moved into my studio space, which I will call home for the next month.Here’s a description of what I’ll be doing:

Artist in Residence/Dayna Collins

October 25-November 24

Dayna Collins is a collector, energized by hunting for worn out and discarded objects, especially the bits and pieces that aren’t perfect. She hyperventilates when she discovers a box of ephemera or an old photo album that someone is throwing away. During her residency, Dayna will bring her vast collection of old letters, photographs, ticket stubs, bits of vintage lace, envelopes, stamps, string, travel brochures, maps, recipes, report cards, random notes – the detritus of a person’s life – and create vignettes that tell a story. Using paper, paint, cardboard, book covers, and plaster, she will give new life to these cast off, expendable objects, exploring storytelling in unexpected ways, beginning with a black and white photograph of a stranger.

Moved into my temporary studio space today at Salem Art Association’s Art Annex.

Dropped my stuff, then figured out where everything should go.


I brought so much stuff!


Utilizing every space, nook, and cranny.


Stacks, piles, and rows.

NOTE: I’ll be in the studio most weekdays and the public is invited to stop by and see what I’m working on. I will be posting on my personal Facebook page the days and times I will be in the Art Annex Studio. I’ll have these posts set to public, so if you’re thinking about visiting, please take a look to see if I’ll be there: Dayna Davidson Collins


In addition to the residency, there are several upcoming events.

Exhibit Reception

Saturday, November 18/4-6 pm/FREE

Symbols are personal. Oftentimes they’re stories that incorporate one’s religious, cultural and familial imagery. These things often prod memories and ideas, bringing to the surface the roots of our ancestry, and other events, times, or places in our lives. This exhibition focuses on artistic interpretations of symbols that are pertinent to family history, holidays or spiritual rituals, heritage and culture.

Participating artists are Dayna Collins, Toni Gilbert, Sarah Dillon Gilmartin, Ann Kresge, Eric Loftin, Susan Napack, Nichole Rose, Jennifer Salzman and Vicky DeKrey Vasey.


Panel Discussion

Friday, October 27/5-7 pm

Please join Ross Sutherland (Bush House Museum), Toni Gilbert (author), Dayna Collins (artist), Kylie Pine (Willamette Heritage Center) and Amber D’Ambrosio (University Archive, Willamette University)  in a conversation about our personal objects, ranging from how to properly care for them using professional methods, examples of how larger organizations approach personal objects,  how we can use some of these methods for our own personal objects and family histories, and how we can utilize our personal and family imagery through art.



Workshop (class is full)

What’s Your Story, Real or Imagined: Telling Stories Through Old Photos

Saturday, October 28/9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Ancestors. We all have them, but do we know their stories. In this class, we’ll build a story based on a black and white photo — real relatives or “adopted” ones. We will create aged backgrounds using paint and stains, then build a collaged vignette using old letters, ephemera, envelopes, lace, tape, trim, string, and a variety of lightweight found objects. Working in a grid, everyone will create a patchwork quilt of stories, which we’ll put together in honor of those who came before us.


In addition to all of this excitement, I’ll be interviewed on Thursday for a local television station and then on Friday, November 10th, I’ll be on Joel Zak’s KMUZ radio show, Talking About Art, sharing about my project and Artist in Residence. More about all of this later.

The view out my window: Bush’s Pasture Park.

Beach Retreat

Twice a year my Salem Art Group goes on an art retreat, one in the mountains along the Metolius River and the other at the Oregon Coast. For October, we were off to Cutler City to stay at a friend’s beach house, which is perched on a small hill with a view of the Siletz Bay. I rode with Tory, and if you’ve followed by blog for any length of time, the photo of my stuff lined up on my patio is familiar.

Six of our eight art group members were able to make our beach retreat.

Starting at the left and around the horn: Katy, Tory, Bonnie, Dayna, Susan, Nancy

In a nutshell, we spent three full days making art. Of course, there were walks, lattes, chatting, a movie on the life of Eva Hesse, reading, laughing, and a bit of sleeping.


New oil and cold wax work by Dayna J. Collins

New oil and cold wax work by Dayna J. Collins

New oil and cold wax work by Dayna J. Collins

In our spare time, we all made a little journal.

Visual Journal by Dayna J. Collins. Created using posters torn off of European walls and layered with family photos.

And then it was time to load up and head home.


Day of the Dead: A Favorite Show

“Everything Accounted For,” by Dayna J. Collins, created December, 2016.

Guardino Gallery is presenting the 11th Annual Day of the Dead Show September 28-October 22nd. I have participated in this invitational group show for more years than I remember and it is one of my favorites. I always create found object art and this year I’m excited to share three special pieces. The inspiration is the assemblage piece I created last December for an invitational show at the Salem Public Library. Everything Accounted For  was created as a response to the book titled Spare Parts, about four Hispanic high school students who entered an underwater robot competition and created their robot using spare parts. After reading the book and thinking about all of my spare parts, I created my piece; it is now hanging in our living room.

For the 2017 Dead of the Dead show I decided to replicate my bigger piece and I created three smaller pieces modeled after my 2016 show piece.

“The Accumulation of Years,” by Dayna J. Collins.


“A Life’s History,” by Dayna J. Collins.


“A Maze of Memories,” by Dayna J. Collins.


When I created my DOTD pieces, I packed them full with a wild assortment of my favorite small bits.

I also created two other assemblage pieces for the Guardino Gallery show.

“The Emptiness of the House,” assemblage piece by Dayna J. Collins.


“Little Need of Conversation,” assemblage piece by Dayna J. Collins.


The opening reception for the show is Thursday, September 28th, 6-9 pm. And it ALWAYS a good party.




What’s Your Story Registration is Now Open

For the past year, I’ve been working on a special project titled What’s Your Story, Real or Imagined: Telling Stories Through Black and White Photos. You can read more about it here and here. My vision has led to a month long artist-in-residence this fall at the Salem Art Association’s ART ANNEX, a panel discussion in October (more on this later), and a one-day workshop (read on). I’m happy to announce that registration is now open for the workshop.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, October 28, from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. The cost is $75 plus a $25 materials fee. I’ll be supplying you with black and white photos of strangers and everything you need to create a series of collages. Of course, if you want to showcase family members or friends, you are welcome to bring your own black and white photographs as well as personal letters and ephemera. Here is a description of the class:

Ancestors. We all have them, but do we know their stories. In this class, we’ll build a story based on a black and white photo — real relatives or “adopted” ones. We will create aged backgrounds using paint and stains, then build a collaged vignette using old letters, ephemera, envelopes, lace, tape, trim, string, and a variety of lightweight found objects. Working in a grid, everyone will create a patchwork quilt of stories, which we’ll put together in honor of those who came before us.

All materials are provided including watercolor paper, photographs, ephemera, lightweight found objects, embellishments, and everything needed to create a series of collages.

However, students may bring any of the following if they wish to personalize their pieces:

Black and white photographs of family/friends; the smaller the photos the better

Anecdotes and stories if the person in the photos is known

Ephemera, i.e., letters, envelopes, tickets, tags, brochures, programs, etc., any kind of paper trail

Lightweight personal found objects, i.e., feathers, buttons, pieces of lace or fabric, vintage trims, postage stamps, etc., personal to the person being featured.

To register, simply go to the registration page of the Art Annex and scroll down to my workshop.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to gather and collect old photographs and the detritus of lives well lived. And a huge thank you to those friends who have gifted me with old family photo albums, bundles of letters, and so many wonderful found objects and ephemera, that I’ve been moved to tears.

We’ll be taking all of these wonderful treasures and assembling them into a series of collages that tell personal stories. Real or imagined.

The other exciting news is that in conjunction with my month-long artist in residence, a group show, Symbols, will be taking place in The Annex. I’ve included a link to the Call for Artists. Proposals are due September 1, so act quickly.


Opening Reception: Pathways and Passages

Dayna J. Collins on the left, Nancy Eng on the right.

The opening reception for Pathways and Passages was Friday night at the Borland Gallery. There was a nice steady stream of friends, who stopped by to see the show and say hello. The show is up through August 27th, so there is still plenty of time to visit. The Silverton Fine Arts Festival is the weekend of August 19th and 20th, and Nancy will be at the gallery on Saturday, August 19th, and I’ll be at the gallery on Sunday, August 20th.

Michael and Susan stopped by.

Nancy with Susan, Michael to the right, and Diane Trevett in the background.

Jim chats with Robin.

Lois, Howard, and Dave

On our drive home, there was a wonderful sunset.

Hanging the Show: Pathways and Passages


First thing Monday morning, I drove out to Silverton and met up with Nancy Eng to hang our new show, Pathways and Passages. Hanging days are like piecing together a giant jigsaw puzzle. We both brought a lot of art, too much to hang everything, so we auditioned the pieces we had, moved things around until we found a place for most everything, and put the remaining pieces in storage. When something sells, the purchaser can take it with them if they are from out of town, and we can replace the piece on the wall with something from inventory. Here’s how our morning went.

A blank canvas at Silverton Arts Association Borland Gallery.


Dayna spread out her art in advance of hanging.


Dayna hangs her pieces. All of her paintings are plaster, oil, and cold wax on wood substrates.


Tapes measures are a necessity.


Merging the art of Dayna J. Collins and Nancy Eng.


The art of Dayna J. Collins on the left and Nancy Eng on the right.


“Dangerous Waters 1, 2, 3,” plaster, oil, and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins.


Little oil and cold wax pieces by Dayna J. Collins.


New series by Dayna J. Collins. Plaster, oil, and cold wax.

And then before we knew it, the show was up and we were finished.

Artists: Dayna J. Collins and Nancy Eng.


The opening reception is Friday, August 4, from 6-9 pm. Borland Gallery is part of the Silverton Arts Association and is located on the banks of Silver Creek in historic Coolidge-McClaine Park in Silverton.

A New Show: Pathways & Passages

About a year ago, I was invited to have a show along with my artist friend Nancy Eng, at Borland Gallery in Silverton. The gallery is part of the Silverton Arts Association, a long time artist organization in the quaint community of Silverton, which is located about 20 minutes east of Salem. Nancy had the idea for the theme of our show, Pathways & Passages, which was easy to translate into abstract landscapes and non-representational work.

Last week I stopped by the gallery for one last look before we hang next week.

I finished my pieces last week, and this week I have been doing the tedious, but necessary, work of assigning inventory numbers, giving them all titles, signing and pricing them, taking photos, and then packaging everything for transport.

Here’s a preview of some of the pieces that will be in the show. They range in size from 6×6 inches up to 30×60 inches, with lots of pieces in between.

“History Racing Past,” plaster, oil, and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins.

“A Glimmer of Understanding Took Hold,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

“The Thrill of Discovery,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

“Memory Had Vanished,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

“A Moment of Stillness,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

“The Garden Seemed Enchanted,” plaster, oil, and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins.

“Along the Shore,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

“Symbiotic Relationship,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

“Looking Backward in Time,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

The opening reception is Friday, August 4th, from 6-9 pm. If you can’t make it then, a great weekend to visit would be the weekend of August 19 and 20, when the Silverton Fine Arts Festival is going on. The gallery will be open, and the festival will be taking place at the same location, nestled in the woods of the historic Coolidge-McClaine Park on the banks of Silver Creek.




Who doesn’t love little art? I sure do. The Art Studios at Mission Mill recently had the opportunity to host Mary Lou Zeek’s wonderful refurbished cigarette machine, which she transformed into a vending machine of small art blocks (the size of a pack of cigarettes). The machine, ART BLOX: Small Art for Everyone, used to be in Mary Lou’s wonderful downtown gallery space, but since the gallery closed, the machine makes appearances only on special occasions or by invitation. We invited and the machine was delivered last Thursday.

Alan Zeek delivers the ART BLOX machine.

Mary Lou showed me the quirks of the vintage machine.

Mary Lou and Dayna with the ART BLOX machine outside the studio of Max Marbles.

Last Thursday night was our quarterly Art After Dark and Open Studios. The upstairs studios were open, refreshments were served, and art was displayed throughout the space. But downstairs was the ART BLOX machine, which was hoppin’ throughout the evening, where we sold the small blocks of art for $10 each.

Dayna Collins sold ART BLOX tokens throughout the evening.


Lois Stark waves her hands at the machine in the hopes of getting the perfect block.


Roger Hull randomly pulled a lever and the machine dispensed an original piece of art by Bonnie Hull.


A happy guest received a Bonnie Hull original.


Choosing a lever to pull.


A happy guest.


This little girl hugged the machine because she said she “loves it.”


An original art block created by Nancy Eng.


Katy Vigland who created blocks for the machine, stops by to purchase blocks.


One of our younger art lovers.


James O’Shea photographs the process of purchasing an ART BLOX.


Cheryl Creel goes in for a second block.


Dennis Creel gets into the ART BLOX stance.


So many levers to choose from.


A sampling of the blocks we received:

Blocks by Mona Cook.


Blocks by Katy Vigland.


Blocks by Nancy Eng.


Blocks by Elizabeth Bauman.


Blocks by Tory Brokenshire.


Blocks by Susan Napack.


Blocks by Dayna Collins.

A big thank you to Mary Lou and Alan Zeek for the use of the machine and for the many artists who created and contributed blocks. The proceeds from the sale of the blocks, almonst $800 worth, will be going to an artist relief fund in Salem.

Lots and lots of blocks!


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