Scrounged Beauty

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!)

“Delightful Daydreams,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Giddyup, Little One Trick Pony,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Obscured Thoughts,” by Dayna J. Collins

“A Whisper of Conspiracy,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Drawn Into Memory,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Daily Interactions,” by Dayna J. Collins

“The Tiniest Things Mean Something,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Most Expedient Route,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Painstaking Exactitude,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Traveling Side Show,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Seeing Through Shadows,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Little Time to Talk,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Untroubled By Disturbing Dreams,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Beckoning,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Staring Into the Distance,” by Dayna J. Collins


Art Retreating on the Metolius River

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.

Press Play Salem

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’ve Got the Color in Me”

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!


Art After Dark: July Open Studios


I’m fortunate to be a member of a group of 11 artists who share the second floor of the Wool Warehouse at the Willamette Heritage Center. We call our space: Studios at the Mill. We have been together in various forms (in various studios) for the past four years. My space is always evolving depending on my latest project. What remains the same for now is this is my Special Projects Studio, where I house all of my ephemera, vintage books, and oodles of photographs.

Initially, we hosted Open Studios on a monthly basis, but after a few years, that got to be too much, so for the past couple of years we host Art After Dark Open Studios quarterly. Last night was our July event. On the second Thursday of our chosen month, we all fling open the doors to our studio, serve wine, sparkling water, and lots of food – savory and sweet. Our studio member Jim Hockenhull often has his wife, Jo, join him in providing us with music and last night they played and people danced. We also asked Steve, who owns a new restaurant at the Willamette Heritage Center, Krewe du Soul, if he would serve samples of his Cajun fare. He agreed and for two hours offered samples of jambalaya and gumbo; there were lots of people walking the halls with smiles on their faces. To best share our event, here are photos I took of people throughout the evening.

For our next Art After Dark Open Studios, we’re mixing it up a bit and it will be held a month later on: Thursday, November 8, 2018.

Radius 25: Through My Eyes

The Salem Art Association invited established and emerging artists (who live or work within 25 miles of Salem) to submit artwork for Radius 25: Through My Eyes, a juried group exhibition at the Bush Barn Art Center in Salem.

There were 230 entries for this group exhibition, with 50 works of art selected by juror Jennifer H. Pepin, an artist and owner of J. Pepin Art Gallery in Portland, Oregon. My entry, In the Fading Light of Evening, is plaster, oil, and cold wax, 18x24x2 inches, and was one of the 50 pieces selected for the show.

“In the Fading Light of Evening,” by Dayna J. Collins.

The show runs through August 25 at the Salem Art Association’s Bush Art Barn.

Restorative Painting: Sitka Workshop

I wrote a blog post on May 8 about how I was asked by Pat Wheeler if I would take over teaching her Restorative Painting: The Architecture of Memory class at both the Oregon College of Art and Craft and Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, as she was unable to make her annual trip to Oregon. The OCAC class wasn’t a go, but the Sitka class was and it took place last week. What a week.

I arrived late on Monday, and got settled into McKee House, my cabin in the woods.

I spent Monday evening preparing the classroom, one of my favorite things to do. After getting it ready, I turned off the overhead lights and turned on the party lights. A magical space.

Tuesday morning, my students arrived ready to work. I was loosely following Pat’s syllabus, including the addition of her idea for the class to create small works of art on heavy watercolor paper. These pieces could be used as a warm up, as inspiration for bigger pieces, or just for the pleasure of creating small pieces of art. I decided I would start off with a timed warm up, where I quickly told students what to do on three squares of paper spread out across their table: Draw a line, add a swath of paint, make a mark using a color, using a sharp object, draw into the wet paint, make a mark with your eyes closed, ending with the instruction to do whatever they wanted for five minutes. It was a great ice breaker and got everyone ready to jump in with their big boards.

Samples from Pat’s “Art Box,” which she sent to me in advance of our class.


Pat mentioned that she had a couple of boxes in storage at Sitka, which the Studio Tech had pulled out. It was pretty exciting to see what she had left in anticipation of this year’s class. If only Pat had jumped out and surprised us!

Getting down to business, the first step was painting our boards, which was a great way to get our bodies moving. I bought Pat’s signature paint: Benjamin Moore’s Tomato Red and Carbon Copy, along with a periwinkle blue of my choosing. After all of the boards were painted, outside they went to dry.

It was then time to break open our buckets of mud, technically known as joint compound, but the fancy term for using on show cards, limestone clay.

And then the boards went back outside to dry. Fortunately, the weather cooperated for three of our four days.

On Wednesday morning, we began doing one of the messier steps: sanding.

A signature of Pat’s process is incorporating photo transfers onto plastered and sanded boards. I’ve never been very proficient with this technique and although I practiced at my home studio prior to class, I was less than successful. Todd and Kell to the rescue. Both have worked with transfers with great success and I asked if they would be willing to demonstrate this technique.

After their successful transfer demos, everyone jumped in.

Wednesday afternoon, and it was time to begin sharing painting techniques. How to do washes and stains with paint, add and subtract, push and pull, a little of this, a lot of that, writing, stenciling, scritching and scratching . . . .

Sometimes more plaster was needed either as an eraser, or to add interest.


On Friday morning, my final demo was adding a layer of cold wax to seal the layers. Here’s Kira adding cold wax to her beautiful painting.

I worked on a demo piece during the week, and on Friday morning I sealed it with cold wax as well. Here are a few of my favorite areas:

During the week, the studio was a hive of activity. I opened the doors an hour early every day, and kept the studio open into the evening so anyone who wanted extra studio time, could take advantage (and almost everyone did).

On our final afternoon, we created time for show and tell, sharing what we enjoyed about the process, as well as what was challenging.

I drove home grateful for a class willing to accept a substitute teacher, who gave their all and worked hard, and left with a beautiful series of art. Because their work was so beautiful, here are photos of the pieces they chose to share with the class.





Show and Tell: Salem Art Group in Conversation – Part II

Salem Art Group: Bonnie, Susan, Katy, Kay, Nancy, Kathy, and Dayna (Tory not in photo).

On Wednesday, May 16, the Salem Art Group held an informal reception at the Art Annex, inviting guests to stop by for a visit from 10 am – 2 pm and join in a conversation. Here’s what the promotional materials said about our group and the goal of our show:

Each month a group of eight Salem artists meets to talk about their work and exchange ideas. Over the years the “personnel” has changed but the core purpose has remained the same: support of creative work in a changing world. The group supplies each other with honest critiques, new ideas, reading and visuals in support of ideas, information about media and techniques, and moral support. They attend each other’s openings, they collect each other’s work,  and they occasionally make work together. This exhibit will allow the artists to show the work they do, and for the public to see their serious work, as well as the fun that is part of Salem Art Group.  Incidentally all eight artists are women: Tory Brokenshire, Dayna Collins, Nancy Eng, Bonnie Hull, Susan Napack, Kathy Shen, Katy Vigeland, and Kay Worthington.

The Annex was a hub of activity for the entire four hours.

During the reception we saved a wall for an interactive, spontaneous project.

We each contributed five art prompts, which were put into a bowl. We took turns drawing a prompt, and doing what we were instructed to do. Prompts included: Draw a shadow; create a diagonal trail; hang it up; draw a shape within a shape, within a shape, within a shape; color an emotion, and home.


Show and Tell: Salem Art Group in Conversation runs through May 31 at the Salem Art Association Art Annex.


Show and Tell: Salem Art Group in Conversation – Part I


My friend Tory and I talked about forming an art group for quite awhile and pulled the trigger in March of 2011. We sent an invitation to six artists, asking if they would be interested in a monthly outing where everyone would meet at a prearranged destination to sketch, journal, paint, take photos, or just sit — hopefully a cup of coffee or tea would be involved. Our first outing was to Mt. Angel Abbey, where the day was spent exploring the campus and visiting the Rare Book Room.

We decided early on that we wanted to limit the size of the group to eight members, ten at the most, so we would remain small enough to take field trips and schedule weekend art retreats. At first, we tried being official and organized, keeping minutes from meetings, setting up attendance requirements, and even coming up with a mission statement (Tightly knit group committed to support, friendship, community and art). Most of those things fell by the wayside as no one wanted to be encumbered by unnecessary administrative tasks.

Though the membership has changed over the years, the current group of eight, whose work is shown here, remains engaged in their personal art practices and supportive of each other as group members…and they have a lot of fun.

Our group was invited to create an exhibit at the Salem Art Association Art Annex that showcased our individual talents, but also celebrated being a member of an art group, something that united us. The result:

At the entrance to the show, is a wall of studio photos, highlighting our personal spaces.

The exhibit space is divided into walls featuring our art.

Bonnie Hull.


Kathy Shen.


Kay Worthington house sculpture and wall quilt.


Susan Napack.


Katy Vigland.


Nancy and Kathy’s work on the wall, sculpture by Tory Brokenshire.


Kay Worthington.


Dayna J. Collins.

The piece I submitted, Singed by Fire and Light, was from my Evoke show at Guardino Gallery in 2015, and represented my recovery journey since 2000. It has been hanging at my husband’s office, so it was nice to have it back hanging in public view.

This show was perfectly timed to celebrate our current crew of eight women, as Kathy Shen, one of our original members, is moving this summer. During this time of transition, we have invited three new members. To save you from doing math, here it is: We have eight, one is leaving, three are joining = ten.

New SAG Members: Jessica Ramey, Elizabeth Bauman, and Lucy Hewitt.

Next up, a post about our reception, which was held on May 16th.



Salvage Collage: “Making Abstract Art From Discarded Books”

Day 5: Final critiques.


How do I put into words my experience earlier this month. Imagine spending five days with artists who all love ripping apart old books. Fold in an instructor with mad teaching skills. It didn’t hurt that the class was held in the center of Whidbey Island at the Pacific Northwest Art School. The class was titled Making Abstract Art from Discarded Books and the instructor was Sante Fe book artist, Melinda Tidwell.

In the spirit of using few words, I’ll share a series of photos with captions in my attempt to convey how I spent my week and some of the work I created.

Pile of scavenged book pieces.

Melinda organizing piles of book bits.

Book bits divided by color.

More bits divided by color.

Auditioning book bits.

Auditioning pieces for a possible composition.

Work table.

Working on a grid format.

Grid in progress.

“A Shattered Sense of Normality,” by Dayna J. Collins.

Morning session.

Strata in progress.

“Wild Revelry,” by Dayna J. Collins

Altering and painting book pages.

Painted book pages.

Painted book page.

Painted book page.

Auditioning and gluing pieces.

“The Dim Veil of Sleep,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Looking Backward in Time,” by Dayna J. Collins.

“Laughing with Genuine Pleasure,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Rebellious Tendencies 1 and 2,” by Dayna J. Collins

“Occasional Flashes of Kitsch,” by Dayna J. Collins.

“Deep Urgent Conversations,” by Dayna J. Collins.

“A Truth Profound and Simple,” by Dayna J. Collins.

“A series of Small Coincidences,” by Dayna J. Collins.

“The Possibility of Change,” by Dayna J. Collins.

“The Pale Thin Light,” by Dayna J. Collins.

This pieces I created in this class fit nicely with my What’s Your Story project as well as my Salvage Collage pieces. Now I’m ready to start doing a better job of ripping apart my vintage books.

Melinda and Dayna.

Fun House mirror.


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