On March 23, I created a handmade journal, which I titled The Great Pause, referring, of course, to the Corona virus pandemic. Since that time, I have continued to work on the pages, gluing in more fodder, pieces of old books, and lots of scraps from my collage bins. Besides continual alterations and additions, I have been writing on the pages, in no particular order, just finding the best space to write down thoughts, quotes, poems, rants, and even daily activities during such a strange period in my life. I decided it was time to share some of the pages, calling this post Part 2. I could offer a caution that some will be offended, but it’s my journal and my feelings, so I’ll not write about why I included what I included, but just share photos of some of my pages as they continue to morph and emerge.
My latest obsession has been exploring using little bits of book linen tabs, collected from when I rip books apart. I have quite a stockpile of these colorful little remnants.
I’ve been fascinated with the small size, the jewel-toned colors, and the raggedy edges since I began ripping books apart. In 2019 when I had my Salvage Collage show at Guardino Gallery, I first experimented with using the colorful little bits:
This was one of my favorite pieces from the show and when it sold, the design idea flew out the door along with the art. Until recently, when those little linen tabs started to make themselves known to me once again. Over the past week I’ve been playing and experimenting with them every time I walked into my studio; I started thinking of the little linen remnants as stitches used to hold pieces of paper together.
And then I added some stitches in my Great Pause Covid 19 journal.
Of course, I couldn’t resist making a series of stitched collages on book boards.
Time to go rifle through my bin of scraps.
In mid March, all hell started to break loose as the Corona Virus began to consume our lives in one way or another. On Monday, March 23, Governor Brown mandated a statewide stay at home order. March 23 was the day I decided to create a journal where I could record not only what was taking place around the world and in Oregon, but also for me tucked safely inside my home. What was my new life going to look like in the upcoming weeks, or perhaps months.
The first thing I did was to make a journal using an old book and then gathering lots of paper fodder. I used book pages, music, scraps from torn apart books, and pieces of random papers, post cards, and handbills from my collage stash.
Once my papers were gathered, I bound the book using waxed linen thread and began embellishing the pages with scraps and raggedy book bits. Every day I would go through my journal and add interesting pieces to several pages, put wax paper between the pages, weigh it down overnight, and then come back the next day and do it all over again to different pages. I did this process of turning the pages and adding more day after day for three weeks.
Finally, on Monday, April 13, I declared that my journal was ready, the pages prepared.
At the same time, throughout the past three weeks, I have been writing notes to myself and making lists about the pandemic: sleeping in, routines, gift of time, rhythm of the day, tooth pain, sporty sneakers, oral surgery, helpless, daily walks, fake news, megalomaniac, self care, roller coaster . . . . .
I have printed things I have read: a poignant poem, a particularly good article on adjusting to how to live during this strange time, the timeline of how our president has fumbled and mismanaged the entire pandemic since the beginning. All things I feel inspired to record, share on my pages, or use as jumping off points for processing the range of emotions I have been feeling.
For now, I’m sharing a sampling of my pages before I make any entries, do any writing, make any lists, record poems and timelines, letting the beauty of the collages and materials speak for themselves.
Did I mention when I made the first journal that I made two more at the same time!?! What was I thinking?
Before all hell broke loose, I registered for Nicolas Wilton’s popular 12-week ART2LIFE Creative Visionary Program. If you aren’t familiar with it, here’s how Nicolas explains it:
The program is designed for beginner to advanced artists who are interested in significantly shifting and improving their art. This program will guide you into a better understanding of your own unique creative expression. Over the 12 weeks, we will be taking a deep dive into all the 6 Art2Life Principles – Design, Value, Color, Texture, Risk and Soul.
Gaining a thorough understanding of the nuances and interconnectedness of these fundamental principles will allow you to have tremendous creative freedom in any kind of art-making you desire to pursue. Whether you paint realistically or abstractly, draw, paint, collage or any combination of the three, this intensive program will give you all the tools you need. The program is principle-based and its primary purpose is to clarify and strengthen your own authentic creative expression.
The program and the Art2life team of coaches provides you with an amazing community of supportive artists, concise ways to create a more sustainable, joyful art practice and most importantly, the fundamental art-making principles to finally bring your Art to life.
The program is intensive and to do it even nominally, requires several hours a week, and that is without doing any painting. Then, all hell broke loose when Covid-19 began gaining ground and I found myself with extra time to jump all in to the ART2LIFE Creative Visionary Program. However, this post isn’t about the program, but about how Nicholas has all of his paints in squeeze bottles, often the type that restaurants use for ketchup and mustard. One of the benefits of using the squeeze bottles is the consistency of the paint, not too thin (fluid paints don’t work for this program) and not too thick (like tube paints). Nicolas has his own line of paint that are the perfect consistency, but Nicholas is generous with information and he has shared how to get paint to the right consistency.
For the past two weeks, I have been on a mad tear sorting all of my paints, throwing out old dried up ones, and then combining like colors into a mixing bowl, whipping, stirring, adding mediums and water, and then pouring my energized and reformulated paints into plastic condiment bottles. Most of the time I mixed like colors together, even if they were from different brands, but sometimes I just mixed up an assortment of colors, like several different greens, which after mixing I dubbed “Weirdo Green.”
It has consumed me, it’s been messy, but the end result is a beautiful cacophony of colors. No more excuses not to paint.
A side benefit in the clean up process, is that I started wiping excess paint onto a large canvas and I’ve ended up with a vibrant first layer.
I was the featured artist at our recent quarterly Open Studios at the Mill, held on February 13. My show focused on a series of revamped and new Salvage Collages as well as some acrylic paintings done on book board covers, utilizing my materials in a new way. I worked on pieces feverishly right up until it was time to get the show hung.
Artist Statement about my Salvage Collages:
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.
My husband hung my show in two stages, and it turns out he has quite a knack for curating and hanging.
The end result was quite nice.
Some of the pieces in the show:
And some of the paintings on book boards:
Many thanks to those who stopped in to say hello, and to Luis Noriega for attending our Open Studios and interviewing some of our artists for his podcast: Down the Rabbit Hole DTRH Podcast
Head’s Up: Next opportunity to see my Salvage Collages will be at a Pop – Up in July in Astoria, Oregon!
I did it! During 2019 I set a goal of painting in my visual journal every day. I sometimes fell behind if I was out of town, other times I took my paints and journal along with me and kept up. I fell waaaayyy behind in mid December and it took me until mid February to get completely caught up, but family medical emergencies are never convenient.
I filled 6-1/2 visual journals (I wrote about my process and the type of journals I used here) and created 366 pages of paintings (I accidentally painted two pages for the same day). Throughout the year I did blog posts sharing about my project and posting photos of my favorite pages; now I want to share some final photos of favorite pages created since my last post in early November.
It was a great year. Some of my takeaways:
- I challenged myself to get into my studio every day.
- I experimented with new ideas.
- I pushed myself to use different colors and compositions.
- I explored using a bigger vocabulary of marks and lines.
- I challenged myself to be bold and at times audacious.
- I had fun, which helped me paint loose.
And now I’m doing something different for 2020. . . . . . .
I’m pleased to share that I currently have an exhibition of my Salvage Collages at Willamette University’s Hatfield Library. My show, Salvage Collage: A Sort of Magic, is on view through January 20, 2020. It is always a thrill to show at the library, where I used to work 20 years ago.
Leading up to my exhibition, I was feverishly creating new work and revamping some old pieces to give them new life.
On the day of hanging, I used book carts to get my boxes and suitcases to the second floor of the Hatfield Library.
Then I spread everything out and began the process of stacking books in the cases and auditioning where to put the assorted Salvage Collages.
After a couple of hours, my work was complete.
The public is welcome to visit the library (and my exhibit) during library hours.The best place to park is on State Street, where there is metered parking (Willamette is located right across the street from the State Capitol). While you are at the library, check out the Pacific Northwest Artists Archives, which is right next to the two cases where my exhibition is. There is also some great art on the first and second floors by regional artists.
I will soon complete journal #6 in my quest to do a daily painting in my visual journal throughout 2019. We’ve been revamping a house in Astoria on the Oregon coast, so I’m about
a week behind two weeks behind in my daily paintings, and I plan to get caught up after Thanksgiving. Yesterday I cataloged the pages I have completed since early October, so I thought I would share some of my favorites.
It has been a long time since I painted with oil and cold wax. I’ve kept up with my daily acrylic painting in my visual journal and I have been steadfast in working on my Salvage Collages, but my oil paints and cold wax medium sat quietly on the shelves, waiting for my return. Deadlines are great motivators.
Guardino Gallery is hosting their 19th annual Little Things show and work is due this month. Earlier, I completed seven small abstract paintings, but I had hoped to have at least 12 for the show. Everything in the Little Things show needs to be 7×7 inches or smaller, so my pieces are all 5×5 inches, a fun size to paint and a size that keeps the price affordable.
Sunday turned out to be a quiet day and I had the house to myself, so I headed to my painting studio, quickly painted in my daily visual journal, then pulled out my gallon of cold wax and began choosing oil paint colors I wanted to work with. I lined up nine 5×5 boards; six of them had the beginnings of paintings and three I had deemed completed. All nine got a makeover. It felt great to work primarily in a limited palette of warm colors: pinks, magentas, reds, oranges . . . . with dabs, lines, and swaths of other colors to add contrast and variety.
These were three of the initial seven that made the cut:
Little Things 19 opens Friday, November 29, 6-9 pm, at Guardino Gallery in Portland on NE 30th and Alberta.
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:
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.