Dayna J Collins

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.

Daily Art Practice: Visual Painting Journal – Newest Pages

I started doing a daily painting in my visual journal on January 1st and believe it or not, I’ve stuck with it. I got a little behind over the past couple of weeks, but I’ve been slowly doubling down on my daily paintings and I’m almost caught up. I did my first post about this project on January 25 and then an update on March 27. In both of my previous posts, I shared a selection of daily paintings from my journals (I’m on journal number 3). I figured it was time I did another update and share more paintings. Going through the pages of my journals, I am reminded why I’m incorporating this practice into my daily schedule: 1) It gets me into the studio, and 2) I’m experimenting with composition, colors, and ideas. All very good things.

March 25, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

April 1, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

April 3, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

April 4, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

April 7, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

100th Painting!
April 10, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

April 17, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

April 20, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

April 21, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

April 22, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

April 23, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

April 27, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

April 29, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

May 1, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

May 3, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

May 5, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

May 9, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

May 10, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

May 15, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

May 16, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

May 18, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

May 21, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

May 25, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

Nature’s Rhythm: Featuring Barbara Bassett & Dayna Collins

Last November, I was invited by Barbara Bassett to do a show with her at her gallery, Barbara Basset Art Gallery, located at Pudding River Wine Cellars. I’ve long admired Barbara’s work and love the setting of her gallery, so I said yes.


We got together several months ago to plan for our show and come up with a title; we both liked Nature’s Rhythm, as it gave us freedom to create in our own styles.

I wrote a quick blurb about my pieces:

Color is an overriding theme in Dayna’s work. Whether she is painting abstract landscapes or creating more nonrepresentational work, color always finds its way into her paintings, mimicking or exaggerating nature’s wild palette. 

We hung our show last week with the help of Sean, the owner and winemaker at Pudding River Wine Cellars.

Barbara worked big, I did a series of 12×12 inch pieces.

We got the show hung quickly, and then we did a timed selfie.

Some of the pieces I will have in the show:

“The Thread of a Path,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 12×12 inches.

“Spellbound By Thoughts,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 12×12 inches.

“Grateful For the Silence of the River,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 12×12 inches.

“A River of Gratitude,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 12×12 inches.

“A Silver Curtain of Rain,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 12×12 inches.

“The Hum of Mosquitoes,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 12×12 inches.

“A Pulsing Wave of Gratitude,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 12×12 inches.

“The Light Glimmers On,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 12×12 inches.

The opening reception is Wednesday, May 22, 4:00 – 6:00 pm. The Pudding River Wine Cellars and Barbara Bassett Art Gallery are just a ten-minute drive from from Silverton and 15-minutes from Salem, through the beautiful countryside. The show will be up for several months, so if you can’t make the opening, take a short drive and visit this beautiful winery and gallery.

Uncorked Live: The Story of How I Came to be the Featured Artist

A few months ago I was contacted by Mary Lou Zeek, an artist and art force in Oregon, asking if I would be interested in being the featured artist for the Family Building Blocks annual fundraiser, Uncorked Live. I was familiar with Family Building Blocks and I knew they did excellent work in our community; their motto is: Keeping Children Safe and Families Together. I did a little research on their annual auction and in pretty short order told Mary Lou I was definitely interested and to please put me in contact with the Uncorked organizer.

I had been working on three new large paintings (30×40 inches) and I thought any one of them might be a possibility. I was also working on a fourth painting (36×36 inches), that was coming along. A date was set of April 1st to decide on a painting. Because I have lots of work hanging in my house, it was decided that a committee would come to my house and select a painting.

The group walked through my house: upstairs, main floor, and downstairs, looking at their options. They settled on three possibilities, and my husband lugged each of them outside so they could be viewed in the best light. The three options included:

“Morning Clouds Giving Way to Sunshine,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 30×60 inches.


“It Smelled Like the End of Summer,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 30×40 inches


“Against a Cloud Lit Night,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, 36×36 inches.

The ladies whittled it down to two selections and asked me to choose as they wanted me to select the one that best represented me. I chose Against A Cloud Lit Night because it was my most recent painting, but also because I had painted it with the auction in mind.

The painting was delivered to the photographer the first week of April, photographed and then returned to me to finish drying until the auction in mid May. Last week the painting was delivered to Zenith Vineyard, where the auction was being held.

The perks of being the featured artist for this prestigious event was having my art featured on the cover of the auction catalog and for my art to be on the wine labels of the bottles of wine, which were given to everyone in attendance. What I didn’t know was that my art would be etched onto a jeroboam of wine (a jeroboam is equivalent to six standard 750 ml bottles – who knew there was such a thing!). The etched label was gorgeous and even had texture.

Patrice Altenhofen, Executive Director of Family Building Blocks, holding the jeroboam of wine.

Uncorked Live was held last Saturday night, May 18th. It was a surreal evening; seeing my art on display, then being handed an auction catalog with my art featured on the front. Everyone in attendance received a bottle of red wine or sparkling chardonnay, both with my art on the label.

Two people asked for my autograph, first on the cover of the  catalog, and then later to sign a bottle of wine.

What a thrill.

I was anxious leading up to the actual auction, fearful that no one would bid on my piece. My painting was the fifth on the line up . . . .


. . . and it sold for $3,500. I later learned that two jeroboams of wine had sold for $850 each and one of the bottles was purchased by the owner of a vineyard who wanted it on display at her vineyard for the art rather than for the wine.

I was happy to have helped raise over $5,000 for this wonderful organization keeping children safe and families together.

Salvage Collages: In a tiny handmade journal

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.)

Front cover of my tiny Salvage Collage journal.

A random selection of my pages.

Back cover of my Salvage Collage journal.

I plan to use these pages as inspiration for future Salvage Collages mounted on discarded book boards.


Salem Art Group: Spring Beach Retreat

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.




Daily Art Practice: Visual Painting Journal – New Pages

Studio cat at my visual journal painting table.

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.

Wall of 12×12 inch oil and cold wax works in progress with photocopies of my journal pages above.

Here’s a smattering of my pages from the past couple of months:

January 26, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

January 27, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

January 31, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

February 1, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

February 4, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

February 5, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

February 17, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

February 18, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

February 23, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

February 24, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

March 3, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

March 4, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

March 5, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

March 7, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

March 9, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

March 10, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

March 17, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

March 18, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

March 19, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

March 20, 2019
Dayna J. Collins

March 22, 2019
Dayna J. Collins



Salvage Collage: Creating Book Board Collages

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!

UPDATE: I got SIX boxes of books. I can’t wait to begin ripping them apart!

Daily Art Practice: Visual Painting Journal

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.

January 1
Dayna J. Collins

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!

My acrylic painting station in my studio. Photo taken the morning of January 25.

No need to share every daily painting, but here’s a random selection.

January 4
Dayna J. Collins

January 5
Dayna J. Collins

January 7
Dayna J. Collins

January 10
Dayna J. Collins

January 12
Dayna J. Collins

January 17
Dayna J. Collins

January 20
Dayna J. Collins

January 21
Dayna J. Collins

January 22
Dayna J. Collins

January 23
Dayna J. Collins

January 24
Dayna J. Collins

January 25
Dayna J. Collins

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.

Palette paper for the week ending January 25.


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