Dayna J Collins

Art in the Annex – “I’m Nuts For Art!”



I was invited to join two other artist friends, Deanna White and Cynthia Herron, to teach a children’s art class at the Salem Art Association. The class was the brainchild of Deanna, who writes:

Both my children still have fond memories of the many art classes they attended at the Bush Barn Annex so many years ago. I have been a Gallery Guide for 13 years and have seen the Gallery Guides support many art educational opportunities and so would like to revisit this tradition again.

Deanna put together a proposal, invited Cynthia and I to participate, and presented it to the Bush Barn Gallery Guides, who approved the proposal and funded the class. The class was limited to 15 students, grades 3-5, and it cost each student only $10 for an afternoon of art.

Dayna, Deanna, and Cynthia

Dayna, Deanna, and Cynthia

The day was divided into three segments:

Station 1: Book of Your Own with Deanna White


Station 2: Coloring Outside the Lines with Cynthia Herron


Station 3: Fantastical Creatures with Dayna Collins

For my station, we played with bendable muslin dolls and I set up a big table with fibers, jewels, feathers, boas, leather strips, buttons, ribbons, googly eyes, and lots of paint. Here’s my doll collection, which I brought for inspiration:


Some of the activity at my table during the three rotations (from clean and tidy to wildly and deliciously messy:






The kids had one hour at each station before rotating to the next table. Here’s the first group I had with their fabulous fantastical creations.


Overheard at my table during the afternoon:

I never knew it was going to be this fun.

I’m nuts for art.

I never get to paint!

It’s like we are scientists making our own creation.

No mom’s are here – we can paint all we want.

It was a great day for the kids and teachers (and for the several Gallery Guides who helped throughout the afternoon).


Of course, I couldn’t help myself. I made a doll to add to my collection. No name, but she’s sort of a warped demented ballerina.



Searching For Memory

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I’ve written this blog post in my head a dozen times over the past couple of days. I’ve titled it (“They Call Me Lefty”), re-titled it (“Brokenhearted”), and settled on something entirely different. I’ve started the post with the events of the past week, then decided to begin with my show at Guardino Gallery last March because that show was inspired by him. Now that I am actually writing this post, I’ve decided to begin somewhere else entirely.

Note: This is a bit more of a personal post than my usual art post, although art is included, it is about my dad’s battle with Alzheimer’s.

My mom and dad soon after moving into a retirement facility at the beginning of the year.

My mom and dad soon after moving into a retirement facility at the beginning of the year.

My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009, and as expected, he has slowly dissolved into the disease. It’s been a painful progression of lost and scrambled words, memory loss, and unfortunately, flares of anger. A couple of years ago when my dad was earlier in his disease, I made a small visual journal as a way to acknowledge the beginning of his long journey home.







Last March I had the privilege of a solo show at Guardino Gallery in Portland. The title, Beneath the Surface: Searching For Memory, was dedicated to my dad and chronicled his fading memory. The pieces were titled to reflect his mental decline. Here are a couple of photos of my dad looking at the old black and white family photos I had scattered in the window display and a few pieces of the art I created for the show.



Beneath the Surface

Creating Memories That Won't Be Remembered

Creating Memories That Won’t Be Remembered

What Came Before

What Came Before

Flashes of Clarity

Flashes of Clarity

We Laughed Together

We Laughed Together

Collecting Thoughts

Collecting Thoughts

Gathering Bits of Broken Mosaics

Gathering Bits of Broken Mosaics

Tracing the Map of Memory

Tracing the Map of Memory

Seeking Refuge

Seeking Refuge


Over the past six months my dad has significantly declined. He lost his driver’s license and my parents moved into a retirement community. I took my dad for drives during the summer and he always smiled and laughed during our country drives or stops for frozen yogurt.

Dad in car on a drive


A week ago, everything changed. My dad’s outbursts of rage escalated to the point that my mom became fearful. An event occurred that required that my family intervene. We had a family meeting with my mom and told her it was time we put dad in a memory care unit – it was the only way we could guarantee her safety. She agreed  and made arrangements at the retirement community where they lived. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t have a bed in the memory care available for about 30 days. The retirement facility put an emergency alarm bracelet on my mom and said they could do some respite care with my dad – a few hours at a time in the memory care unit. She made arrangements on Friday to give it a try. That’s when it all fell apart. 9-1-1 was called, the police came, an ambulance arrived and my dad was taken to the emergency room. While there, my dad decided he had waited long enough. He unhooked his monitors, got up, put on his shoes, and started to leave. It took four security guards, two nurses, and a tech to put him back in the bed, this time with restraints. During this time, the hospital’s social services located a bed for my dad in a memory care unit across the river where my dad could stay until a bed opens up where my mom lives. On Friday night I rode in the medical transport with my dad as he was taken to memory care. He was silent the whole way. He was reluctant to go in, but he finally did. He pleaded in garbled and disconnected words to go home. I had to say good-bye and leave him. My heart broke. I hate this disease.



Art Under the Trees



I’ve just returned from spending four days with my Salem Art Group at a cabin in the woods along the Metolius River. We left on Thursday morning — I took a small suitcase with clothes, a big suitcase with art supplies, my espresso machine, some food, my art journal, and a half case of kombucha.


Arrived. A sweet cabin located on US Forest Service land.


The view from my corner bedroom.



Everyone worked on their own projects. Tory won the award for most versatile, especially when she whipped out her harmonica and started playing a blues tune.







The rest of the gang: Nancy, Katy (it was her cabin), and Kathy in the photos below (and Joanna, who was inside the cabin with her sewing machine). A lot of oil and cold wax was being spread . . . . and even a little gelli plate action.







We had a visit from a Forest Service Ranger who was looking for a water line using a water witching technique with two pieces of a wire coat hanger. Of course, we had to give it a try.




I worked on several projects: oil and cold wax on 8×8 and 6×6 cradled wood boards and I also did some acrylics on watercolor paper for making cards. (I finished the cards, but not the boards.)









It wasn’t all art all the time. On Saturday, we walked to the headwaters of the Metolius River and then to Jack Creek.




Just what I needed. Several days of making art, laughing, eating healthy, going on daily walks, and getting plenty of sleep.


Fire in the Belly


I’m home from a five-day intensive workshop with Robert Burridge. The workshop, Abstract Acrylic Painting and Collage, was held in Bend and as Bob so aptly said: We will be covering five years of art school in five days. We sort of did, at least the Cliff’s Notes version.


Over the course of the five days, I took 22 pages of notes and Bob gave us multiple handouts. During the first two days of class when Bob was delivering oodles and oodles of general information, I felt conflicted with wanting to get going with painting.  We painted a bit on the first day, but I figured we would be painting more on the second day. Well, we did paint more, but still not all that much. I was torn between wanting to sit at the feet of Bob and absorb all that he was so generously sharing about his 22 years of daily painting, and wanting to get my hands dirty. I finally came to the conclusion that what Bob was giving us was invaluable information and I would have plenty of time to paint when I got home. Of course, we did paint during the week and more as the week went on, but the information I collected is priceless. I’ve already gone over my notes twice, circling, marking them up, and making notes for artists to investigate, books to read, and  changes I want to make in my studio. Did I mention that Bob is funny? Hilarious. I was continually writing down Bobisms –pithy little sayings. No topic was off limits, making it an entertaining and rich week. For sure you’ll want to check out his website: Robert Burridge Studio


I won’t share the details of what we learned because that’s Bob’s information to share. But I will skim the surface with a listing of some of the many topics he covered just to give you an idea of the magnitude of this class. The following list is in order and then again, in no particular order, because sometimes he circled back.


Risk-taking/working in series/learning to paint our own stuff/painting materials-traditional and irreverent/gessoes/paints/glues/varnishes/Citra-Solv/rubbing alcohol/paper/substrates/panels-mats-frames/copyright/color theory/developing concepts/structure-composition/warm-ups/texture/contrast/production/gray scales/value/drawing/figures/negative space painting/inspiration/artists & writers/landscape styles/naming and signing paintings/marketing/creating a body of work/galleries and festivals/themes/concepts/shape-size-color/pros & cons of making prints/commissions/photographing art work/inventory/resume-bios-artist statements/drip trees/pricing/shadows/travelling with art supplies.







We did paint and I’ll share photos from my week. In order and not in order. Bob gave us warm-up exercises and assignments during the first few days, then left us to do whatever we wanted while he circulated or worked on paintings himself. We could paint, we could watch him paint. It was all pretty great. One of my best painting classes ever – and I’ve had some great teachers.

We started with black and white then graduated to color.








I finished a few, and I’m still dabbling with several. Here’s a teeny tiny taste of the workI did during the week, some finished, some in process.







I was working on some new concepts and ideas and it was great fun to experiment.


And then it was time to go home.




Slightly Off Kilter: The Opening


My new show, Slightly Off Kilter, opened Friday night at Lunaria Gallery. I’m sharing the gallery show with Deborah Unger, who has carved figurative wood sculptures using paint and cloth to create quiet scenes, often with an underlying sense of unease.  My portion of the show includes vibrant, textural paintings using oil and cold wax to create layers of luminosity and interesting intersections of lines. (I also have a few new Funky Junkyard Birds for sale and the SOK Blocks I wrote about a couple weeks ago.)

Onward with the opening . . . .




The opening on Friday night was part of Silverton’s regular First Friday event and the gallery was filled with a steady stream of friends and art lovers.


















And from the street as the gallery was closing for the night.



Slightly Off Kilter: The Blocks

Blocks in Bucket and Stacked

Somewhere along the way in preparing for my upcoming show at Lunaria Gallery, Slightly Off Kilter, I had the idea to paint blocks in a style similar to a couple of the big pieces I was painting. And then I had the idea to paint little blocks, circles, and other wood tidbits, using the colors I was using in my paintings for the show. The result was a series of colorful blocks designed for adults to stack and display. I made ten sets (one will be on display showing how they blocks can be mixed and matched). Each set comes in a clear bucket with a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Here’s a little photo chronology of the evolution of the SOK Blocks.

IMG_1947 - Copy

IMG_1948 - Copy

IMG_1971 - Copy

IMG_1972 - Copy

Painted blocks in process - Copy

Block Pieces Together

SOK Blocks Stacked Outside - Copy

Blocks in Stack

Blocks in Bucket - Copy


The show, Slightly Off Kilter, opens Friday, August 2nd, with an artist reception from 7-9 pm; the show runs through September 2nd. Lunaria Gallery is located in downtown Silverton, Oregon.


Slightly Off Kilter: The Show



I’m one of the featured artists in a new show at Lunaria Gallery in Silverton, Oregon., opening Friday, August 2nd. The artist reception is part of Silverton’s First Friday event, and runs from 7-9 pm on August 2nd. The show, Slightly Off Kilter, features my art along with the art of Deborah Unger. Here’s a little blurb from each of us about the show:

Deborah Unger: Figurative wood sculptures using paint and cloth to create quiet scenes, often with an underlying sense of unease.

Dayna Collins: Vibrant, textural paintings using oil and cold wax to create layers of luminosity and interesting intersecections of lines.

In addition to Deborah’s wood sculptures and my oil and cold wax paintings, I’ll have a selection of Funky Junkyard Birds and something new: Slightly Off Kilter Blocks.

The show runs through September 2nd.

Junkin’ and Jivin’


I haven’t posted about a junking expedition in a long time and since I discovered three wonderful  vintage shops and I’m feeling generous, I’m going to share these little gems, all located east of Portland.


The Wade Creek House

This is actually a compound of buildings featuring antiques, collectibles, and vintage treasures. It is located at 664 NW Wade Street in Estacada. The owner, Dyan, knows my good friend Bobbie! Small world. Dyan just opened her store in June, so it is brand new and filled to the brim with good things.







Foxtrot Vintage

This is another relatively new shop and is located in downtown Gresham. Cute street, cute shop. The proprietor is Todd, who went to the same grade school as Howard (Harvey Scott, in case you are curious).





Vintage Station

Our final discovery was also in Gresham. This shop is run by Sonja, who used to be a vendor at Stars and currently has a booth at Monticello, two of my favorite antique malls in Portland.






Final Thoughts

It is definitely worth a drive east out of Portland. Beautiful scenery, nice shops. And yes, I did make a few purchases (including the pink chair in the first photo).

To Teach Or Not To Teach

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I love to teach. I love to make art. Sometimes I can’t seem to make the two jive. If I’m teaching, it seems to gobble up so much of my available art time: devising classes, making samples, then proposing them;  making lists of supplies for students to purchase, making lists of what I’ll provide and need to bring. Then there is the endless and constant promoting. I love providing a class packet with handouts, again time-consuming to create and assemble. When class time arrives, there are boxes of supplies to pack up and schlep to the site of the class, the reverse when the class is over, pack everything up, take it back to the studio and put it all away. Time. Such a valuable commodity.

Blog class 2

I took off all of 2012 from teaching. I didn’t teach a single class and I didn’t offer any sessions of The Artist’s Way. Instead, I focused on creating art. It paid off. I had a solo show in Silverton at Lunaria Gallery in August of last year, and as a result, was invited to join the gallery as a member. I also had a solo show at Portland’s Guardino Gallery in March of this year, a dream come true.

As 2013 approached, I started thinking about teaching again. I decided to offer a 12-session of The Artist’s Way and it filled immediately. I was approached by The Art Department in downtown Salem about teaching a couple of classes and I came up with two: Layers of Memory (a plaster and painting class) and Oil and Cold Wax: Abstracted Play. The plaster class sold out immediately with a waiting list; I offered it again a couple of months later and again it sold out (with another waiting list). The oil and cold wax didn’t sell out, but since teaching it, I received many e-mails from people asking me when I would be teaching it again. I was contacted by The Art Department about teaching classes again over the next couple of semesters. I paused. I needed to decide if teaching was where I wanted to put my focus. I always come away from my classes energized and full of satisfaction. It is gratifying to share techniques and nurture others on their creative journey. But something was causing me to hesitate.

Blog Dayna teaching

I chatted with my husband, a huge supporter of my art, whether  teaching or creating. His preference has always been for me to concentrate on making art, not teaching it, but if I chose to teach, he’d be right there schlepping boxes for me. His advice was to back away from teaching and focus on making art.

I made the decision not to teach any more classes this year. I’ll most likely offer a 12-week session of The Artist’s Way again at the beginning of 2014 as that is a different type of offering, less about teaching and more guiding, facilitating, and nurturing.

I sometimes have pangs of regret about my decision. When I see someone else teaching what I had proposed or what I have been teaching, it causes me to second guess my decision. That’s why I’m writing this blog post. I thought if I revisited my decision, then shared it publicly, it would remind me why I made the decision I did. Right now, I’m focusing on a show I have in August at Lunaria. I’ve made a proposal to a favorite venue in Portland about a possible show in the future. And I would love to have another show at Guardino sometime in the future. I’m always looking for new opportunities to share my work. But to create a body of work, to explore and grow and express myself through my art, it means devoting lots of time in the studio.

Blog stack of boards USE

Studio Vignettes


I’m working on a new series of paintings for an August show. which I’ll be sharing more about later. I’m also working on a large batch of new Funky Junkyard Birds, but they aren’t ready to make their appearance quite yet. So, in lieu of art I thought I would share some vignettes from my painting studio. I don’t want to share a grand view of my studio because that would give away too many peeks at my new art, but I can share some of my fun little collections.


















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