At a recent art retreat with the Salem Art Group on the Oregon Coast, Bonnie brought everyone a small handmade blank journal to fill as we chose. I think this is the fourth (or fifth?) journal Bonnie has provided as we have retreated together over the years. I filled the pages of this little journal with scraps from deconstructed books. (I brought tons of material to work on collages mounted onto worn and well used book boards, so I had plenty of random and leftover fodder to create a tiny journal of Salvage Collages.)
A random selection of my pages.
I plan to use these pages as inspiration for future Salvage Collages mounted on discarded book boards.
The Salem Art Group now has ten members, the most we have ever had, but when just the right people appeared, we couldn’t say no. Twice a year our group retreats: in the spring we head to the Oregon coast, and in the summer, we head east to a cabin on the Metolius River. With ten members, we have to get a bit more creative with sleeping arrangements, but somehow we manage. A couple of weeks ago we found our way to Culver City, just south of Lincoln City, and on the Siletz Bay.
We all set up stations and worked on whatever we wanted.
Afternoon walks often occur, either in groups or on solo adventures.
We each bring our own breakfast and lunch, but every night we go out for a nice dinner. The first night we veered a little off of our formula and had dinner at a bowling alley, but it was a cool place with an unusually tasty menu. Of course, we reserved two lanes and bowled. No one had bowled for years, including myself, but somehow I managed to bowl an impressive 158!
During our days, I worked on a series of Salvage Collages on book boards, using pieces and parts of deconstructed vintage discarded books to create the collages.
We’re already counting down the days for our next retreat.
I last posted pages from my Visual Journal on January 25, 2019, and unbelievably, I have continued with my daily practice of painting every day, focusing on color, composition, and making random marks. I have found several benefits from this daily practice. 1) It gets me into my studio. Even though I sometimes think I’ll just pop in to paint a page, I often linger and work on other projects. 2) Because these daily pages aren’t precious or for anything other than fun and practice, I work looser and with more freedom than when I’m painting for a show or a deadline. 3) My practice pages have become inspiration for my paintings in oil and cold wax.
Here’s a smattering of my pages from the past couple of months:
There is no doubt about it, creating my Salvage Collage mixed media pieces are time-consuming and messy work. First is the collecting of vintage books (worthy of a separate post), then the dismantling of the books (another separate post). When all of the collecting and ripping apart has been done, it is time to slog through the piles, looking for just the right scraps to create something new. All of the pieces I use in my collages are from discarded books that have been ripped apart and disassembled – from the linen covers, to the gluey spines, to the book boards themselves.
Eventually it is time to stop sorting and auditioning and actually glue the pieces into place.
Meanwhile, I’m off to the YMCA annual book sale because today is the final day and all books are $5 a box!
I decided to shake things up a bit when I hung my 2019 calendar, thinking I would paint a quick abstract each day in my visual journal. Who knows how long I will maintain this practice, but so far, so good, and today is January 25th.
I’ve learned a couple of things along the way. First, it is fun to paint quickly, loose, and free, for no reason other than the joy of painting. And second, as a result of painting quick, loose, and free, I have several ideas for bigger paintings!
No need to share every daily painting, but here’s a random selection.
My journal is 9×9 inches, mixed media paper, and spiral bound so it lays flat when it is open. I’ve been using Golden acrylics, a black Stabilo pencil, sharp pointy objects for scritching and scratching, Stabilo Woody 3 in 1 Stabilo pencils, a paintbrush, occasional stamps and stencils, a No.2 pencil, and a palette knife.
I am excited to announce that I will be having a Salvage Collage mixed media art exhibit at Guardino Gallery in August of 2019. I have already started working on a series of collages for the show, but somewhere along the way I became obsessed with grids. And circles. And circle grids. I have purchased circle punches ranging from teeny tiny to jumbo sized. All of my Salvage Collage pieces for this show are created from deconstructed, decaying, vintage, falling apart books. Here’s a peek at a recent piece I worked on in my studio last week. This one is being created using book scraps and the completed collage will be mounted onto a book cover. (You can see some circles have crept into this piece……)
My fascination with grids goes back a number of years, so when I started cutting out little blocks of color from discarded and deconstructed books, it wasn’t surprising that I started to create grids.
After cutting out a variety of squares, I started experimenting with adding shapes for more visual interest. Both of these pieces are still in the auditioning stage, but once I start gluing, I will fine tune the final composition.
It was a short leap from squares to circles and that is when my obsession kicked into high gear.
And so it goes. Ripping, tearing, punching, repeat. Periodic updates on my project can be found on my Instagram page: DaynaLovesArt.
The Little Things show at Guardino Gallery in Portland is my favorite group show of the year. I don’t know how many years I have participated, but this year will be the gallery’s 18th year. For the current show, there are over 58 participating artists and the only requirement is that all pieces are 7×7 inches and smaller. I created 12 abstract paintings on cradled panels, each is 6×6 inches.
Here are my pieces:
The show runs through December 30 and all pieces are take and go. If you’re looking for original art and creative gifts, this would be a perfect place to shop.
We’re back from our six-week plus trip and my blank pages are now plump with found fodder, scrounged materials, a few photos, and lots of writing describing our adventures.
I posted on my personal (and public) Facebook page throughout our trip (Dayna Davidson Collins), so I’m not sharing about any of the trip. What I am sharing are some of the pages from my travel visual journal. In my last blog post, I shared that all of my pages (104 of them) had been pre-gessoed and painted, so all I took in the way of art supplies was a pair of scissors, a jar of matte gel medium, a paintbrush, a brayer, wax paper, and three gel pens – black, white, and red; all my supplies fit in a zip lock baggie.
The daily routine went something like this:
We set out for a day of exploring, hoping to easily find the Tourist Information office so I could gather brochures. Sometimes we weren’t near a TI, so the hunt was on for paper fodder. Art museums were good for brochures, and often their tickets were large and had beautiful art images on them, but there didn’t seem to be as much paper materials as there has been in the past. In a pinch, I bought a bookmark or a couple of post cards so I had images to incorporate onto my pages. Or I picked up bits and pieces of trash or pulled down chunks of posters.
At the end of the day and after dinner, I sat at my makeshift desk or on the bed and cut up images and words to use on my pages. I would make a list of everything we did and saw and began gluing things onto the pages; each day had a two-page spread. I glued, brayered, cleaned up the gluey edges, placed a piece of wax paper over the pages, and weighted them down with whatever was heavy and handy.
In the morning while sipping my cappuccino (which my sweet husband faithfully fetched), I removed the weights and wax paper, grabbed my gel pens, and referring to the list I made the previous day, wrote in and around the images I had glued, recounting what we had done and added details I thought were interesting.
Here are a few photos of me at various points of our trip, working on my pages.
The Pages. As I mentioned, my travel journal has 104 pages, so I’ll share a sampling of my two-page spreads, in no particular order.
When we got home, I had a few blank pages remaining, so I printed off some photos, inserted those on the last pages, then added my completed travel journal to a stack of pages from previous trips.
I created 104 journal pages.
We’re going to be gone for 48 days.
We will be staying in 14 cities.
We will be visiting 8 countries.
We leave on Friday.
Creating a journal for this trip has been a highlight and a labor of love. I started working on it about four months ago, tearing watercolor paper into 9-1/2 x 11 inch pieces, gessoing the front and backs, and then painting the pages in a variety of colors. By doing this Herculean task in advance, all I need to take on the trip in the way of art supplies is a pair of scissors, a jar of gel medium, a paintbrush, and Uniball pens in red, white, and black. Presto – instant art studio. At the end of each day I will glue in the ephemera I collected, and write little notes and summaries about what we did.
We try and take a big trip every two years. Last year would have been our year, but the stars didn’t align for us to be able to plan to get away in the fall. When January of this year rolled around, we started dreaming and scheming and settled on eastern (central) Europe. We worked with a travel agency to help with the planning, and that proved to be a great decision. They worked out all of the details to get us from one place to the next, and gave us limited choices of where we would stay. We’ll have an initiation city tour the first morning of every city where we stay, and then we’re on our own (We’re starting in Dubrovnik, Croatia and working our way north, east, west, and continually north, ending in Berlin). You know we’ve got some good stuff planned – on the beaten track, and definitely off the beaten path. Can you say Sniper Alley? Thank you Atlas Obscura.
We’re trying to pack light and compact, each of us taking one medium suitcase and a carry on backpack/messenger bag. For those who know us, packing light isn’t our thing. But probably one of the most important decisions, is what books to take. These are the two main ones I chose (thanks to Joni, who recommended The Art of Fielding).
Getting Out of the House
Howard is busily working late into the night thanks to a one day trial that was supposed to be over last Thursday, but turned into a 4-1/2 day trial and concludes tomorrow. His three days to get work wrapped up and ready for him to leave, dwindled down to just tonight and half of tomorrow. But some of it will
all get done.
Tomorrow is my hair day, a three-hour ordeal, plus several more errands . . . and maybe one final trip to our downtown bookstore. Today I met with my friend Jami, who will be house sitting for us and keeping company with our six-toed cat while we are away. So many details to attend to.
Friday morning we will be picked up by Sam and Stewart and escorted to Portland. We’ll treat them to lunch, and they will deposit us at the Portland Airport. And it begins.
NOTE: I won’t be blogging during our trip as I sometimes have in the past, it is just too time consuming. But I will be posting on my Facebook and Instagram pages, so if you’re interested, follow along.
Facebook: Dayna Davidson Collins
Here we are the day of our show opening, stopping by for a final sneak peek since we hadn’t yet seen our scrounged letters hanging above the word beauty. We loved it. We spent the day tromping all over Astoria, took a short rest, then returned at 5:00 to celebrate our opening for the rest of the evening.
Final formal photos of Stephanie and me.
Once the guests began to arrive, it was a riot of activity, laughter, fun, chatter, music, visiting, drinking, eating, and general merriment as people came and went, lingered, wandered, stopped back for another look and chat. Stephanie and I were blown away by how many of our friends drove from out of town: Seattle, Salem, Portland, and Albany.
After the last guest drifted away, a group of friends joined us for dinner across the street at Fulio’s and we lingered late into the evening, basking in the afterglow of a successful show and opening party.