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.
Years of Collecting
After years of being junking partners, my friend Stephanie Brockway and I are doing a show together at RiverSea Gallery in Astoria. Both of us have shown our work at RiverSea for years, and Stephanie had a solo show there a couple of years ago. I show paintings, she shows a combination of paintings and outsider folk art. Scrounged Beauty is found object art, highlighting the best of our collections of found objects, and as some would say, junk.
Months of Auditioning
I spent months pulling things out of drawers, bins, bowls, and trays, choosing which pieces to try out on various pieces of reclaimed wood and prepared boards.
Weeks of Connecting, Titling, Signing, and Photographing
A Day of Hanging
Okay, Colin actually did the hanging, while Steph and I gallivanted around Astoria.
A Sampling of My Pieces (out of 42 I have in the show!)
The Salem Art Group makes an annual pilgrimage to Camp Sherman every summer thanks to the hospitality and generosity of Katy, who invites us to stay at her family cabin, which is located right on the Metolius River on Forest Service land. It is quiet, remote, and there is no cell service or WIFI, making for the perfect art venue.
This year, seven of our 10 members were able to attend, and after sorting out who would sleep where, unpacking our coolers of food, and setting up our art-making spaces, we all settled in for the business and fun of making art, chatting, and eating. Art making happened during the day, late into the night, and early in the morning, necessitating moving around to chase light, avoid heat, or to stay warm. It was all part of the art dance.
The food. We ate really well thanks to creative cooks and eating the bounty of summer. One evening, Susan prepared a beautiful dinner for everyone, one morning Jessica made pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup. I brought along a little container of cold brew.
The art. We all worked on individual projects throughout the week. A couple of people stitched, a few painted, all but two of us sketched pretty much all of the time. I didn’t sketch, but I did get sketched!
My art project for this year was to work on four Salvage Collage pieces for an upcoming show at RiverSea Gallery in Astoria. I lugged bins of book scraps, a box of book covers, and dozens of covers from pulp fiction novels. I set my space up on the deck, under cover, with a view of the Metolius River.
Every year, Bonnie makes little blank journals for us and during the time we are together, we each work on our individual journals, usually in the evening and after we have moved inside. From a blank book to crammed pages!
Some of us used bits and pieces from a central collage pile to create books. For me, I used pieces of discarded books I was working with during my week. Here are my pages:
Several of us went for a hike every day, with Katy leading us in all different directions.
It was a great week and I returned rested and reinvigorated, and already looking forward to next summer.
Every once in a delightful while you come across an individual who is so apologetically bold and creatively daring in how they live and work and play that you cannot help but feel inspired by their vivacious presence and vibrant energy. Jessica Murdoch
I was invited by Carlee Wright, publisher and editor, and Jessica Murdoch, co-editor and writer, to be featured in the second issue of Press Play Salem, an arts + entertainment + culture magazine focusing on the people, places, and things to do in Oregon’s beautiful capital city, Salem. How could I refuse, it was such an honor.
Carlee came to our July Art After Dark Open Studios at The Studios at Mission Mill, where I have my Special Projects Studio, and shot some photos of me for the article. Then Jessica sent me a series of questions to answer – a LOT of questions – and I wrote and wrote and wrote, wondering how she would ever decipher everything and boil it down into an article. But she did. Amazingly well, I might add.
I ran downtown on July 31 and picked up a stack of copies. I spread them out the next day and shot this photo. But I didn’t read the article. I really didn’t. I was too nervous. Two days later, I finally decided I would read what Jessica had written. I read it out loud to Howard, choking up a bit as I read. How could this article be about me? But there it was, a beautifully written expose of how I live my life and the art I make.
The next day, we met our son and two granddaughters for lunch at Taproot, where there was a huge stack of Press Play Salem. I grabbed a couple to show Scott, just as Avery grabbed crayons and colored over my face. Sounds about right.
Jessica’s final paragraph:
And that’s Dayna. The woman is — in a word–colorful. She is a kaleidoscope of personality and spontaneity. Her art and her method reflect the most intimate version of her spirited self, and she is fearless when it comes to sharing her artistic expression with the world, making no apology for the outcome: ‘Taking an idea and expanding upon it, with twists and turns along the way, and ending up with something entirely unexpected, is the thrill of the process.’
I returned Sunday night from teaching my four-day Abstracted Landscapes in Oil and Cold Wax at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, on the Oregon Coast. It was a mountain top experience. I arrived on Wednesday afternoon to get settled into my cabin and to get the studio set up for class the following day.
Class started on Thursday morning and for four days we hardly came up for air. The days were a blur of demonstrations, techniques, inspirational readings, laying down paint, scraping it off, laying down more layers, breaking for lunch, more demos and more paint. There was a constant chatter in the room, students getting feedback from each other and from me.
On Friday afternoon, I presented my Art Talk.
On the third day, we talked about composition, color, and design elements, and everyone started to refine their pieces and move them toward resolution. Students were introduced to R and F Pigment Sticks, and enjoyed vying for their favorite colors.
Some glimpses of moments throughout the days:
Some of my demos during the week:
On Sunday afternoon, we did a casual Show and Tell Walkabout, where everyone talked about the process and shared a couple of their favorite pieces. Here are the Walkabout photos:
The following is a stream of photos illustrating some the beautiful work created by these energetic, fun, and talented artists. Feast your eyes on all this color:
We took a group photo on Sunday morning, no easy task, but we pulled it off after a few tries!