I Spy . . . . .



I spy . . . . a propeller, a watch, false teeth, and keys.

I spy . . . . handcuffs, a comb, boats, and a ladder.

I spy . . . . a brush, an eraser, numbers, and a whistle.

I spy . . . . wheels, a fish hook, curlers, and a doorbell.

I spy . . . . a luggage tag, pencils, a knife, and perfume.

I spy . . . . hands, a mouse trap, a harmonica, and rulers.

I spy . . . . a clothespin, mirrors, a diaper pin, and a ladder.

I spy . . . . flowers, a shovel, stars, an anchor, and a clown.

I spy . . . . dishes, a wing, bells, and a car.

I was invited to create a piece of art in response to the Salem Reads: One Book, One Community project. The book chosen for the project is Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream, by Joshua Davis.

Since the four teenagers built an underwater robot using spare and scavenged parts, I created my piece using my favorite found and scavenged objects. The title of my piece is Everything Accounted For, and here is my artist statement:

I’m a collector, energized by hunting for worn out and discarded objects. When I see a beat up vintage tin or discover a rusty piece of metal, I hyperventilate a bit. I’m excited about the opportunity to give new life to these cast off, expendable objects.  Everything Accounted For represents some of the best pieces from my collection, each one a sacred scrap. In creating this piece, I was inspired by the resourcefulness, vision, and creativity of Oscar, Cristian, Luis, and Lorenzo.

The exhibit will be at the Salem Public Library from January 31 – February 26, 2017. The opening reception is Tuesday, January 31st at 5:30 pm.

When my piece returns home, this is where it will hang:


Janet’s Old Cedar Chest

I walked right by the old chest dozens of times over the years. Most likely it had things stacked on top of it and I never realized what was holding up all the stacks of magazines and old boxes. About a year ago, my father-in-law had a stroke and while he was recuperating in a rehab facility, Howard and I went to the basement of Howard’s childhood home in NE Portland. We’d been downstairs many times over the past forty years, but usually just to drop some stuff off for storage. This time, the chest caught my eye, probably because there was nothing stacked on top of it. I lifted the lid and my breath caught; it was filled with things Howard’s mom had saved. Janet passed away 13 years ago, but even all the years she was alive, we never realized she had saved her treasures in this old trunk. I didn’t pull much out, other than a few things on the top, but quickly realized this was an excavation to be savored.

Several months ago when our adult kids were home, we visited Grandpa Tom. I pulled Howard aside and said, “I’d sure like to get that old chest loaded into the car while we have healthy backs to help carry it up the stairs.” Howard told his dad we were taking the chest and lickety split it was in the car. We got it home and put it in the garage. For some reason I didn’t immediately tear into it. I wanted to wait for the right time, when I could enjoy the process of peeling back the layers.

That day happened a couple months ago when my friend Tory had dropped me off after one of our outings. She knew I had the chest, she wasn’t in a hurry, and it felt like the right time. We slowly began to remove the pieces that were important to Janet. A wedding dress that belonged to Janet’s mother, bundles of letters, an old shower curtain(!), baby outfits, photographs, newspaper clippings . . . . the detritus of a life well-lived.

As we neared the bottom of the chest, I spied a pair of eyes peeking out of loosely bound tissue paper. Could it be? Janet’s childhood doll? I could barely contain myself. I was so excited, I just climbed right into the chest and unwrapped the doll. She was stuffed with straw and had no hair and marked the perfect ending to a chest full of clues of how Janet lived and loved.

Later, after leisurely going through the stacks of ephemera, Howard pulled out what he wanted to keep and I took what was left to my art studio at Mission Mill to use in my mixed media project, What’s Your Story: Real or Imagined.

Up, Down, and All Around

I am working on three different projects right now, in three different studios. Come on, I’ll take you on a quick tour.

This is a look at my second floor studio located at the Willamette Heritage Center and part of The Art Studios at Mission Mill. I have converted my studio from an all purpose space to an area devoted to working on my What’s Your Story mixed media/collage project.

Here’s a sample of my project.


At my central Salem home, I use the basement of my 1926 house as my assemblage studio. Currently, I’m putting the finishing touches on a piece for the Salem Reads: One Book, One Community Project. Salem is hosting their first ever community reads event and several artists were invited to create a piece of art in response to the book Spare Parts.

My piece, Everything Accounted For, will be hung in the Salem Library Spare Parts art exhibit at the end of this month. I’ll share my completed piece once I have put the finishing touches on it.

Finally, my painting studio is in a big airy space upstairs at my house. Right now, I’m immersed in oil and cold wax in preparation for two upcoming shows in 2017.

Here’s a piece I’ve been working on this week for my Waterlines show at Guardino Gallery in May.


I’ll be sharing more about all of these projects in the future.


Art After Dark Open Studios: January 12

Our December Art After Dark was cancelled last month due to snow and ice, so I’m happy to announce that it has been rescheduled for Thursday, January 12, 2017, 5-7 pm. The artists at the Art Studios at Mission Mill voted to go to quarterly Open Studios, so please join us as our next event won’t be for a few months. As you can see from the flier, we have a full line up of art and activities on the first and second floors.

In my studio (Studio A), I’ll be sharing the progress I’ve made with my newest mixed media project: What’s Your Story – Real or Imagined: Telling Stories Through Black and White Photos.

And as always, there will be appetizers and drinks being served in all of the open studios.

I’m excited to announce a new website!

It has been in the works since last summer and it is finally here: my new website. I am kind of over the moon excited for the clean, new look. I am grateful to Phil Webb of Dial A Tech who met with me frequently to discuss my ideas and then to figure out how to make it all work. The website went live about a week ago, but we’ve been working out little bugs since then. As of today, it has officially been launched. Phil was able to transfer all of my previous blog posts as well as my earlier archived posts beginning in 2009. This will be my ninth year of blogging.


My website is meant to be an introduction to who I am and the type of work I do and it will be periodically updated. However, this blog and my various social media sites are where I will be posting the most current content as far as my ever evolving art. If you’re interested in what I’m working on, where I’ll be teaching, and what shows I’m participating in, please subscribe to my blog, and follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.


Thank you for your continued support of the arts.


Big News: I’m teaching oil and cold wax at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology!

I began painting about 12 years ago, primarily in acrylic and occasionally in some form of mixed media. In 2012 I took a class that changed my painting life. The class was Abstract Oil Painting with Oil and Cold with Allen Cox and the class was held at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. It wasn’t my first class there, but it was when I learned to paint using cold wax medium, Galkyd, and oil paint, all mixed together into a glorious luminous concoction that was spread using palette and putty knives. It was also the first time I really figured out how to use oil paint sticks. I was hooked.


Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. It is a magical place located in the woods at Cascade Head on the Oregon Coast. This explains what Sitka is about:
Founded in 1970, the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology fosters creativity, intellectual inquiry and education. By helping others discover more about their core creative selves and their connections to nature, the Sitka Center works to fulfill its mission of expanding the relationships between art, nature and humanity.

The Sitka Center offers workshops, residencies and community events, while maintaining a facility appropriate to its needs in harmony with its inspirational coastal environment near Cascade Head and the Salmon River estuary. Literally a center at the edge – where land meets sky, saltwater meets freshwater – the Sitka Center is a place where a diverse group of people and ideas converge, co-mingle and depart transformed.

Our Workshop Program (May through September) provides people of all levels the transformative and joyful experience of making art and exploring their connections to nature. We offer over 100 one- to five-day intensives on drawing, painting, music, nature, woodworking, encaustics, food, sculpture, fiber arts, kayaking, jewelry, metal work, photography, printmaking, and writing. Professional artists and ecology experts guide the instruction in one of the Center’s five studios or outdoors in the natural environment of Cascade Head and Salmon River estuary. The annual workshop catalog is available in print and online in February each year.


Which leads me to the heart of my news: I’m teaching an oil and cold wax class at Sitka next summer! Pinch me. It has been a dream for a long time. I’ve taken some amazing classes at Sitka, had fabulous teachers, hiked to the top of Cascade Head, roamed in the woods surrounding the Center, and made art that is hanging in several homes.

My class is called Abstracted Waterlines in Oil and Cold Wax. In determining the theme for my class, I wanted to incorporate the landscape as inspiration, so using the ocean, river, and estuary as a jumping off point, we will take where water meets land and abstract it into a series of compositions.

The class is scheduled for June 5-8 (four full days) and will be held in Boyden. Pinch me again. I’ve taken all of my classes in that large wood lined studio and to have the privilege to teach in that sacred place, well, I’m a bit verklempt. The cost for the four-day class is $400, with a materials fee of $20 (I bring and share a lot of supplies).

Registration doesn’t open until February, 2017, (February for members, but you can join for as little as $50 and have the opportunity to register in February), and registration for everyone opens in March (the Sitka website has all of the dates listed). The dates of my class (June 5-8, 2017) have now been confirmed.

In the class we’ll be working on several boards at the same time, along with working on Arches Oil Paper (or if you prefer, you can work exclusively on the miracle known as Arches Oil Paper). We will experiment with working in layers, building texture, scraping away, and then doing it all over again.

We will work intuitively and abstractly, exploring texture, layers, composition and design, and use of color through oil paint and pigment sticks. We’ll also work with various forms of mark-making, adding energy and interest through the use of lines and marks. The layers dry quickly and clean up is done with baby or mineral oil. You will complete several pieces during the four days and go home with several starts. The class is designed for all levels of expertise and no prior experience is needed.

I’m sharing all of this now so you have time to mark your calendars, maybe ask for the class as a holiday gift, or perhaps get a couple of friends rounded up to rent a house in Lincoln City, Pacific City, or one of the vacation homes right at Cascade Head.

Please contact me if you have any questions about the class, mediums, or the process. My e-mail is: dayna@alleyartstudio.com

What’s Your Story, Real or Imagined: Telling Stories Through Black & White Photos


I’m excited to share a project that I’ve been working on for many months. Someone recently asked me where the idea came from and I realized it has actually been in the works for years. I told them:  It has been inside me for a long time and most of my mixed media art has  been leading up to this special project, although I didn’t know it at the time.


It was 2007 when I created a class called Itty Bitty Pretties. It involved creating little tiny mini collages on 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 inch squares: a background, a cut out black and white photograph, a word,  and finally, an assemblage piece; each one represented a different family member.  Here is 64.


It has been inside me for a long time and most of my mixed media art has been leading up to this special project, although I didn’t know it at the time.

Jump ahead to 2012, when I started creating mixed media collages on playing and flash cards. During the summer of that year I lived on a boat at the Portland Waterfront for 29 days; I created a card for each day I was there.



In the fall of 2015, I made a travel journal in the style of my current project, creating about 60 pre painted pages, which I embellished throughout the 40 days I was gone.




At the beginning of this year, I started to lay the framework for an idea to take all of these past projects and incorporate them into a new one. It gets a bit blurry about the timing. I remember working on page backgrounds when we went to Arizona in February, where I slathered paint and created texture using plaster and gesso, always writing and embedding text into the wet paint and over the dry plaster.





what-is-your-story-6I remember returning to my studio and beginning the process of gathering textiles, ephemera, and little found objects to eventually incorporate into my collage pieces. I also began gathering dozens of black and white photographs, mostly of strangers.


april-2016-2In May of this year, I went on an art retreat with my Portland Art Collective, where I spent three days composing and auditioning layouts.






After returning from the retreat, I continued building my collages and gave them a name, What’s your Story, Real or Imagined: Telling Stories Through Black & White Photos. My collection of ephemera expanded, as did my obsession with black and white photographs.




I continued building my collages and gave them a name, What’s your Story, Real or Imagined: Telling Stories Through Black & White Photos. My collection of ephemera expanded, as did my obsession with black and white photographs.






november-7These are a sampling of my mixed media collages and all are a work in progress. When I’m at my studio, I am continually digging through my bits and auditioning that one more thing to add another layer of interest and mystery.

november-13My plan is to continue working on these pages and in the fall of 2017, I’ll be offering a workshop at Salem Art Association’s Art Annex in conjunction with a collaborative history project, which is in the works.







Art for Everyone: An Affordable College Art Textbook


Over a year ago, I was invited to submit art to be used in a college textbook being published by Chemeketa Community College. The book was being put together by the Chemeketa art faculty in response to the steady rise of textbook prices. The textbook being used for ART 101 had risen to $214.  For the past year, a beta version of the faculty-produced textbook was used by students. During the year, the textbook was revised, edited, and fine tuned.


The college recently published the first edition of the textbook, Art for Everyone, and it is available for only $28. To celebrate the launch of this beautiful book, artists who submitted art to the textbook were invited by the art faculty at Chemeketa Community College to participate in an art exhibit at the Gretchen Schuette Art Gallery, located in the heart of the campus.


The reception was held on Wednesday, November 2nd in the afternoon so students would be able to attend. There was a steady stream of visitors, students, and artists, with introductions and the story behind the book shared with everyone present. Here I am standing in front of my piece, The Essence of a Thing, which appeared in the chapter titled Nonrepresentational Approaches, in a subsection on Color Field Painting.



A few photos from the afternoon reception . . . .





The other piece I had in the book (but not in the show), was Freedom in the Silence, which appeared in the chapter titled Formal Elements: Value and Color; my art was featured in the section on Complementary Color Schemes.





Painting for Pleasure, Seriously


At the end of October, I had the pleasure to take a five-day workshop with William Park, a Portland artist. For five days we had morning demos, then the luxury of painting the rest of the day.



In the afternoon Bill would share artists he loves and we would have chats about the love of painting and the challenge of keeping fear out of our process and paintings.



On the first morning, we did a nice warm up exercise of making marks and adding paint. Simple, yet profound in the ability to jump start our week.




The demos Bill did were primarily in acrylics, but I had brought my oil paints and a gallon of cold wax; there were eleven of us in class and a couple other people were painting in oils, so it was a mixed bag and we were encouraged to explore and do whatever we wanted.






Bill made the rounds throughout the day, spending time with each artist for as long as they needed. Here he is with my friend Katy, who also took the class.

park-workshop-43For the first couple of days, I just laid down paint in order to get some early bright layers to respond to in later days. No fear, just the joy of painting and playing with color.







I’m not sure I finished anything, but I made progress and came away with some wonderful early layers.



And besides Katy being in the class, my good friend Stephanie was also there, so as you can imagine, we had a great five days together.




A Studio Story


I recently changed studios. It all happened rather quickly and unexpectedly, but I jumped on the opportunity to make the switch. I’ve been in Studio F since the Art Studios at Mission Mill opened in October of 2014. I started out sharing the space with my good friend Tory, then she moved out into Studio B sometime in 2015. For the past year, Studio F has been my space.

Two weeks ago, one of our studio members decided not to renew her lease, creating an opening for Studio A, a lovely corner studio overlooking the stream and the Willamette Heritage Center. Two artists were interested in the studio, Rollie and myself, so it required a dual, I mean a drawing, which occurred a week ago Friday. We sought out an independent person to do the drawing. Max Marbles, our resident bookbinder was selected, and the drawing took place, with Max’s son Spencer, doing the actual drawing.





My name was drawn and I set to work putting my mark on Studio A, rushing against the clock in time for our monthly Art After Dark Open Studios. First up was painting, which I accomplished (with the help of my husband) on Sunday. tick tick tick






Monday and Tuesday of last week were moving days. As I moved my stuff out of Studio F, Rollie was moving his stuff into Studio F, all part of the grand studio shuffle.





Mission accomplished by Tuesday night, with fine tuning happening on Wednesday and Thursday, all in time for last Thursday night’s Open Studios.


Studio glimpses:












I am using Studio A as my special projects studio, and accordingly I moved the bulk of my oil and cold wax supplies to my painting studio at home. In my Mill studio I’ll be working on a project I’ve had in the works for several months: What’s Your Story? Real or Imagined. . . . telling stories through black and white photos.  More on all of this later.





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