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Day of the Dead: A Favorite Show

“Everything Accounted For,” by Dayna J. Collins, created December, 2016.

Guardino Gallery is presenting the 11th Annual Day of the Dead Show September 28-October 22nd. I have participated in this invitational group show for more years than I remember and it is one of my favorites. I always create found object art and this year I’m excited to share three special pieces. The inspiration is the assemblage piece I created last December for an invitational show at the Salem Public Library. Everything Accounted For  was created as a response to the book titled Spare Parts, about four Hispanic high school students who entered an underwater robot competition and created their robot using spare parts. After reading the book and thinking about all of my spare parts, I created my piece; it is now hanging in our living room.

For the 2017 Dead of the Dead show I decided to replicate my bigger piece and I created three smaller pieces modeled after my 2016 show piece.

“The Accumulation of Years,” by Dayna J. Collins.


“A Life’s History,” by Dayna J. Collins.


“A Maze of Memories,” by Dayna J. Collins.


When I created my DOTD pieces, I packed them full with a wild assortment of my favorite small bits.

I also created two other assemblage pieces for the Guardino Gallery show.

“The Emptiness of the House,” assemblage piece by Dayna J. Collins.


“Little Need of Conversation,” assemblage piece by Dayna J. Collins.


The opening reception for the show is Thursday, September 28th, 6-9 pm. And it ALWAYS a good party.




What’s Your Story Registration is Now Open

For the past year, I’ve been working on a special project titled What’s Your Story, Real or Imagined: Telling Stories Through Black and White Photos. You can read more about it here and here. My vision has led to a month long artist-in-residence this fall at the Salem Art Association’s ART ANNEX, a panel discussion in October (more on this later), and a one-day workshop (read on). I’m happy to announce that registration is now open for the workshop.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, October 28, from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. The cost is $75 plus a $25 materials fee. I’ll be supplying you with black and white photos of strangers and everything you need to create a series of collages. Of course, if you want to showcase family members or friends, you are welcome to bring your own black and white photographs as well as personal letters and ephemera. Here is a description of the class:

Ancestors. We all have them, but do we know their stories. In this class, we’ll build a story based on a black and white photo — real relatives or “adopted” ones. We will create aged backgrounds using paint and stains, then build a collaged vignette using old letters, ephemera, envelopes, lace, tape, trim, string, and a variety of lightweight found objects. Working in a grid, everyone will create a patchwork quilt of stories, which we’ll put together in honor of those who came before us.

All materials are provided including watercolor paper, photographs, ephemera, lightweight found objects, embellishments, and everything needed to create a series of collages.

However, students may bring any of the following if they wish to personalize their pieces:

Black and white photographs of family/friends; the smaller the photos the better

Anecdotes and stories if the person in the photos is known

Ephemera, i.e., letters, envelopes, tickets, tags, brochures, programs, etc., any kind of paper trail

Lightweight personal found objects, i.e., feathers, buttons, pieces of lace or fabric, vintage trims, postage stamps, etc., personal to the person being featured.

To register, simply go to the registration page of the Art Annex and scroll down to my workshop.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to gather and collect old photographs and the detritus of lives well lived. And a huge thank you to those friends who have gifted me with old family photo albums, bundles of letters, and so many wonderful found objects and ephemera, that I’ve been moved to tears.

We’ll be taking all of these wonderful treasures and assembling them into a series of collages that tell personal stories. Real or imagined.

The other exciting news is that in conjunction with my month-long artist in residence, a group show, Symbols, will be taking place in The Annex. I’ve included a link to the Call for Artists. Proposals are due September 1, so act quickly.


Opening Reception: Pathways and Passages

Dayna J. Collins on the left, Nancy Eng on the right.

The opening reception for Pathways and Passages was Friday night at the Borland Gallery. There was a nice steady stream of friends, who stopped by to see the show and say hello. The show is up through August 27th, so there is still plenty of time to visit. The Silverton Fine Arts Festival is the weekend of August 19th and 20th, and Nancy will be at the gallery on Saturday, August 19th, and I’ll be at the gallery on Sunday, August 20th.

Michael and Susan stopped by.

Nancy with Susan, Michael to the right, and Diane Trevett in the background.

Jim chats with Robin.

Lois, Howard, and Dave

On our drive home, there was a wonderful sunset.

Hanging the Show: Pathways and Passages


First thing Monday morning, I drove out to Silverton and met up with Nancy Eng to hang our new show, Pathways and Passages. Hanging days are like piecing together a giant jigsaw puzzle. We both brought a lot of art, too much to hang everything, so we auditioned the pieces we had, moved things around until we found a place for most everything, and put the remaining pieces in storage. When something sells, the purchaser can take it with them if they are from out of town, and we can replace the piece on the wall with something from inventory. Here’s how our morning went.

A blank canvas at Silverton Arts Association Borland Gallery.


Dayna spread out her art in advance of hanging.


Dayna hangs her pieces. All of her paintings are plaster, oil, and cold wax on wood substrates.


Tapes measures are a necessity.


Merging the art of Dayna J. Collins and Nancy Eng.


The art of Dayna J. Collins on the left and Nancy Eng on the right.


“Dangerous Waters 1, 2, 3,” plaster, oil, and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins.


Little oil and cold wax pieces by Dayna J. Collins.


New series by Dayna J. Collins. Plaster, oil, and cold wax.

And then before we knew it, the show was up and we were finished.

Artists: Dayna J. Collins and Nancy Eng.


The opening reception is Friday, August 4, from 6-9 pm. Borland Gallery is part of the Silverton Arts Association and is located on the banks of Silver Creek in historic Coolidge-McClaine Park in Silverton.

A New Show: Pathways & Passages

About a year ago, I was invited to have a show along with my artist friend Nancy Eng, at Borland Gallery in Silverton. The gallery is part of the Silverton Arts Association, a long time artist organization in the quaint community of Silverton, which is located about 20 minutes east of Salem. Nancy had the idea for the theme of our show, Pathways & Passages, which was easy to translate into abstract landscapes and non-representational work.

Last week I stopped by the gallery for one last look before we hang next week.

I finished my pieces last week, and this week I have been doing the tedious, but necessary, work of assigning inventory numbers, giving them all titles, signing and pricing them, taking photos, and then packaging everything for transport.

Here’s a preview of some of the pieces that will be in the show. They range in size from 6×6 inches up to 30×60 inches, with lots of pieces in between.

“History Racing Past,” plaster, oil, and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins.

“A Glimmer of Understanding Took Hold,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

“The Thrill of Discovery,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

“Memory Had Vanished,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

“A Moment of Stillness,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

“The Garden Seemed Enchanted,” plaster, oil, and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins.

“Along the Shore,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

“Symbiotic Relationship,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

“Looking Backward in Time,” plaster, oil, and cold wax, by Dayna J. Collins.

The opening reception is Friday, August 4th, from 6-9 pm. If you can’t make it then, a great weekend to visit would be the weekend of August 19 and 20, when the Silverton Fine Arts Festival is going on. The gallery will be open, and the festival will be taking place at the same location, nestled in the woods of the historic Coolidge-McClaine Park on the banks of Silver Creek.




Who doesn’t love little art? I sure do. The Art Studios at Mission Mill recently had the opportunity to host Mary Lou Zeek’s wonderful refurbished cigarette machine, which she transformed into a vending machine of small art blocks (the size of a pack of cigarettes). The machine, ART BLOX: Small Art for Everyone, used to be in Mary Lou’s wonderful downtown gallery space, but since the gallery closed, the machine makes appearances only on special occasions or by invitation. We invited and the machine was delivered last Thursday.

Alan Zeek delivers the ART BLOX machine.

Mary Lou showed me the quirks of the vintage machine.

Mary Lou and Dayna with the ART BLOX machine outside the studio of Max Marbles.

Last Thursday night was our quarterly Art After Dark and Open Studios. The upstairs studios were open, refreshments were served, and art was displayed throughout the space. But downstairs was the ART BLOX machine, which was hoppin’ throughout the evening, where we sold the small blocks of art for $10 each.

Dayna Collins sold ART BLOX tokens throughout the evening.


Lois Stark waves her hands at the machine in the hopes of getting the perfect block.


Roger Hull randomly pulled a lever and the machine dispensed an original piece of art by Bonnie Hull.


A happy guest received a Bonnie Hull original.


Choosing a lever to pull.


A happy guest.


This little girl hugged the machine because she said she “loves it.”


An original art block created by Nancy Eng.


Katy Vigland who created blocks for the machine, stops by to purchase blocks.


One of our younger art lovers.


James O’Shea photographs the process of purchasing an ART BLOX.


Cheryl Creel goes in for a second block.


Dennis Creel gets into the ART BLOX stance.


So many levers to choose from.


A sampling of the blocks we received:

Blocks by Mona Cook.


Blocks by Katy Vigland.


Blocks by Nancy Eng.


Blocks by Elizabeth Bauman.


Blocks by Tory Brokenshire.


Blocks by Susan Napack.


Blocks by Dayna Collins.

A big thank you to Mary Lou and Alan Zeek for the use of the machine and for the many artists who created and contributed blocks. The proceeds from the sale of the blocks, almonst $800 worth, will be going to an artist relief fund in Salem.

Lots and lots of blocks!


Art Camp in the Woods



I recently went with four members of my Salem Art Group to make art in the woods. This is my kind of camping. The cabin belongs to the family of Katy, one of our members, and is located along the Metolius River in Camp Sherman, which is located in Central Oregon. This is an annual trip, where we do five basic things: eat, art, read, walk, and laugh. Repeat.


We arrived on Sunday and got set up to make art outside under the trees. My goal was to get layers of oil and cold wax onto boards in preparation for an upcoming show. Mission accomplished.


In the evenings (and the mornings, and sometimes in the afternoon), we all created little art journals, which Bonnie had made for us. One night we even worked outside by candlelight.

There was lots of creative food preparation and dining on the deck.

There were a couple of wildflower walks.

There was lots of sketching.


And lots of outdoor painting.

Here are the pages of my completed journal, which I titled By the River: A Make Do Journal. My title reflects that I had no art journaling supplies along with me, so the pages were created using what I could forage either from outside, the junk drawer at the cabin, or from my fellow artists who planned ahead much better than I did. It was fun having to make do.

What a restful, peaceful, energizing four days.




A Painting Intensive With Pat Wheeler

I was invited to join six seasoned artists at Stacey’s fantastic studio in North Portland painting alongside Pat Wheeler. I thought about it for about 30 seconds before replying with a big juicy YES. Pat is the artist I learned the plaster process from at Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2010; I continued to take her five-day workshop for the opportunity to be in her presence and soak up her process and positive energy. When I stopped taking her workshop, I still visited Pat whenever she was teaching in Oregon, either at OCAC or at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology and I view this lovely woman as one of my mentors.

The invited artists had all taken Pat’s class several times and we were all experienced working with the materials. The goal of this painting intensive was not only to work alongside Pat, but to also share our own techniques and how we had morphed the process to make it our own.

We started off by painting our boards. I like to activate my boards initially with writing and marks as a way to begin and to fight the blank canvas.



The next step is applying plaster, aka joint compound, or the fancy terminology: limestone clay. It is applied with putty knives and allows all kinds of marks, patterns, and texture to be incorporated as it is being applied.

Once the plaster is dry, it is time to sand.

And then the fun begins, applying washes of color. More drying. More sanding. More paint. GO.

And always more writing and mark making.

This was the process throughout the week, repeated again and again, everyone going at their own pace.

Of course, there was lots of sharing of ideas and techniques.

Here is one of the boards that was deemed completed, so I sealed it with a layer of cold wax, buffed it, and called it finished: “Cracks in the Sidewalk,” 30×30 inches. The beautiful little bundle in the niche was created as gift from Pat.


Sitka Class: Abstracted Waterlines in Oil and Cold Wax


Happy are the painters,  for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day.  Winston S. Churchill


A dream came true last week when I taught a four-day class at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, located on the Oregon Coast at Cascade Head. I have taken many classes at Sitka over the years and many of those classes helped shape me as an abstract artist, so it felt satisfying and exhilarating to be standing on the other side of the table.

I arrived at the forested campus on Sunday evening and got settled into my private cabin, located just a few steps from Boyden Studio, where my class was to be held.

A couple of people offered to help me get the studio set up, but this was something I wanted to do by myself. I was feeling emotional and sentimental about teaching at Sitka, and I just wanted to fully experience it in solitude.

Monday morning I arrived early, ready for the day to begin and feeling just a tiny bit anxious.

Students began to arrive and get settled in. . . . . and then the next four days were a glorious blur of demos, activating boards, spreading paint, discussing how to let go, experimenting with new techniques, and making brave, bold marks.

Throughout the week, some artists arrived early in the morning, some stayed a little late into the evening, but there were three hearty souls who arrived early and stayed very late into the evening.

One night several of us went out to dinner in Pacific City and stopped to visit Lynne’s studio.

Boyden Studio was a blur of camaraderie and activity with artists working independently at times, other times soliciting feedback and ideas from each other.

The weather was good for three of the four days and we were able to take advantage of the outdoors to eat lunch, lay out our boards, and occasionally relax.

I had fun doing demos every day (even when they didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned!).


At times everyone worked hard, other times they kicked back.

I went into the studio early every morning to prepare for the day and enjoy the remnants of the previous day’s energy.

For the majority of time, everyone got into a zone, the flow state of letting go and laying down layers for the pure pleasure of experiencing the paint.

On Thursday afternoon we did a show ‘n tell and walkabout.


Here’s a sampling of what was created over the four days.

Pam’s work in progress.


Casey’s work in progress.


Kelly’s work in progress.


Louise’s work in progress.


BJ’s work in progress.


Louise’s work in progress.


Jan’s work in progress.


Cindy’s work in progress.


Phil’s work in progress.


Terri’s work in progress.


Lynne’s work in progress.


Pam’s work in progress.


Terri’s work in progress.


Cindy’s work in progress.


Terri’s work in progress.


BJ’s work in progress.


Phil’s work in progress.


Kelly’s work in progress.


It was an amazing experience and the perfect mix of students.


Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.    Neil Gaiman



The Book: “Cold Wax Medium-Techniques, Concepts & Conversations”

It’s finally in my hands: my copy of the newly published and released book Cold Wax Medium – Techniques, Concepts, and Conversations by Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin. I was invited in mid 2015 to submit photos of my art for possible inclusion in Rebecca and Jerry’s book project. A contract was signed in July, 2015, and now the book has arrived. It contains 319 gorgeous pages – full color, dreamy heavy paper, and chock full of beautiful art, techniques, and ideas. (Preorders have ended, but general sales begin May 12 and you can place your order by going here.)

These are the two pieces of my art that appear in the book (pages 68 and 229):

“Insatiably Curious,” 16×16 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax, 2015, from my Ricochet series. SOLD.


“Things Still Remembered,” 24×24 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax, 2014. SOLD

The two images included in the book were both pieces that had incorporated niches into the substrate and subsequent composition. Here are the pages as they appear in Rebecca and Jerry’s book.

A bit of the text:

I can’t wait to sit down and begin reading through this compendium of everything oil and cold wax. And more.

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