Word and Image: Writers and Artists in Dialogue

The Word and Image show is one of my favorite projects and it took place last month at the Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita (on the Oregon coast). This event occurs biennially, and I was fortunate to have participated in 2020, so I was eager to apply for 2022. The process for the show goes like this:

Artists and writers are invited to submit samples of their work; artists submit three art images and writers submit three poems/short stories. The jury then chooses 12 artists and 12 writers. A pairing event is held where an artist’s name is pulled from a hat, then a writer’s name is pulled from a hat, and voila! those two are partners. The artist choses one of the three writing entries and creates a new piece of art in response to the words, likewise, the writer choses a piece of art from those submitted and writes a poem or short story in response. This new work is submitted electronically so beautiful broadsides can be printed and a book prepared and published.

MY PAINTING PROCESS

I chose to use an 18×28 inch cradled birch panel. I prepared it with acrylic paint, a layer of plaster, more acrylic paint to seal the plaster, and a couple layers of oil and cold wax. This was all the preparation to begin painting in response to the writer I was paired with, Simeon Dreyfuss. I chose Simeon’s poem, Walk Roots the Day as the piece I was using for my responsive painting. When the initial layers of my prepped board were completely dry, I wrote Simeon’s poem across the surface of my board.

I wrote Simeon’s poem on the surface of my board to incorporate his words with my paint.

I began adding layers of paint, looking for the poem to emerge.

An early layer.

Another early layer.

I used my painting for a demo when I was teaching at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology this summer. The demo was how to scrape off paint!

After layers of paint, and scraping off a layer, I worked on this piece when I wasn’t teaching at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology – either early in the morning, or in the evening after my students had left for the day. It seemed appropriate to be painting this piece while I was at Cascade Head on the Oregon coast.

I played around with this design and color idea by painting a small piece on paper and a 12×12 inch piece on a cradled panel.

Close up.

Close up.

Close up.

Close up.

The finished piece.

THE SHOW

Art was delivered to the gallery, art and broadsides were hung, an online reception was held, and a beautiful book was published.

The beautiful book that captures the work.

Two-page spread in the Word and Image book.

Opening reception via Zoom.

Opening reception via Zoom.

Opening reception: Simeon’s words in response to my painting, “Everything Feels Different.”

THE VISIT

The show!

A HAPPY POSTSCRIPT

As I was working on this blog post, I took a break to welcome Paula Booth into my home. Paula is a professor of art at Western Oregon University and also curates the art at two northwest hotels, The Dundee and The Independence. I am fortunate to have art at both hotels and we had made arrangements for Paula to come to my house to view my available work to change out some of my pieces at The Independence. I had just picked up Storm Mounting from the Hoffman Center for the Arts, and so it was one of my available pieces. Paula was excited to include this painting in the group of paintings she selected.

 

An Oil and Cold Wax Technique Pictorial

A gallon can of Gamblin’s Cold Wax Medium.

I am frequently asked about how to work with oil paint mixed with cold wax medium, especially on Instagram (you can find my Instagram at DaynaLovesArt). When I post videos of my process, I get a lot of interest and questions. Since I recently taught two four-day workshops in oil and cold wax at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, I thought I would post a series of photos of the process. Thank you to several of my students for taking photos and generously sharing them with me.

Mixing Gamblin’s Cold Wax Medium with their Galkyd (which helps speed the drying time).

Pulling out a bag of Fedrix powdered marble dust.

Mixing marble dust into Gamblin’s Cold Wax Medium and Galkyd. The marble dust acts as another agent to speed the drying time. It can also be used to thicken the consistency of the cold wax.

Ready to mix paint!

Mixing oil paint with the cold wax mixture. I mix 50/50: 50% oil paint with 50% cold wax medium (with the Galkyd & marble dust already added).

An early demo of applying oil and cold wax mixture to the painted cradled panel. I am using a flexible metal putty knife from the hardware store.

Using a brayer and wax paper, I am “lifting” paint and creating irregular texture on the surface of the board.

Applying a nice layer of paint to the painted surface (with words added before the paint). I then lay down a piece of wax paper to lift some of the paint to create interesting texture.

Showing the demo board with some of the techniques: applying paint, applying paint with a stencil, removing paint with a stencil, making marks.

Using wax paper to “lift” paint (and then that lifted paint will be applied to a different work in progress to move the orange paint around).

Using a brayer to apply a thin veil of white oil and cold wax (in the upper right corner) over dry oil and cold wax paint.

Applying a thin layer of cold wax in preparation for adding flecks of Pan Pastel.

Applying flecks of Pan Pastels using a small palette knife to scrape a tiny bit of the pastel onto the surface; a thin layer of cold wax applied so the flecks of pastel will adhere.

Tiny little flecks of red pastel add fun interest. Once the flecks have been added, I use a piece of wax paper over the surface and then brayer over the wax paper to embed the pastel.

Applying a layer of thinned out oil and cold wax (thinned with Gamblin’s Gamsol, oderless mineral spirits).

Spreading out the oil and cold wax with added Gamsol to thin out the paint mixture.

Spraying Gamblin’s Gamsol to thin out the swath of oil and cold wax to create drips.

The drips.

Scraping off a layer of oil and cold wax using Citra Solv and a metal putty knife.*

Wiping paint from putty knife onto paper.

Any questions?!?

A beautiful comment from Angela, who has taken my class several times:

It was amazing to see you obliterate a piece, reveal fabulous lower layers and ultimately create your incredible composition. Seeing you do this in class was huge? The lesson in itself was the best possible, teaching us more by showing, creating and telling us your thoughts throughout.           Angela

*This demo piece went on to become this painting:

“Storm Mounting,” the piece I created for an upcoming show, which I will be writing about soon.

 

If you are interested in more information about what I’m doing, books I recommend, techniques, shows, workshops, etc., please subscribe to my monthly newsletter by clicking HERE. In my September newsletter I will be sharing about my recent Personal Art Retreat, all the work that goes into creating art behind the scenes and sharing about the book Creative Authenticity.

 

Teaching at Sitka: Part 2

After my first oil and cold wax class at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology concluded on July 3, the staff at Sitka lugged all of my stuff from Smith Studio up to the larger Boyden Studio. I spent the evening getting set up for my second class. I love preparing the studio for teaching.

Evening of July 3: all set up for class to begin on July 5.

I spent July 4th enjoying the quiet of the Sitka campus. The office was closed, and no one was around, so I wandered, rested, and puttered in the studio. On July 5th, I was ready for the artists to arrive.

Distance view. I have three big tables to work on.

My working and demo space.

Like my last post, Teaching at Sitka – Part I, I feel that photos tell the story better than any words that I cobble together. I’ve made comments on each of the photos, so it tells a bit more about the week than just sharing the photos. But I will say, this group was hardworking, productive, energetic, talented, and supportive of each other. All the ingredients for a fantastic workshop.

Side view of my space.

So many techniques to share.

Demo using solvent to scrape off paint.

Getting paint on the boards.

Everyone deep into the process.

Tissue for blotting.

Mixing up paint.

Words matter.

A table of work in progress.

Work in progress.

From above.

Love the swaths of color, interrupted by marks.

An active scene.

A glorious pile of paint.

Work in progress.

Spreading swaths of thick, juicy paint.

Work in progress. Done? Perhaps.

Pink! Work in progress.

More pink! Yes, please.

Early layers.

Work in progress.

Hard-working class.

A lovely, abstracted landscape.

Scraping a grid composition.

Using wonky chunks of driftwood to make wonky marks.

Lunch in the courtyard.

Painting. Layering. Scraping. Contemplating.

More dots and such a great example of complementary colors.

We all thought this piece would make a fantastic album cover!

Framing discussion.

Margaret and her beautiful series using a limited palette.

I’m crazy for stripes and swaths of color – Carol nailed it.

I wanted to call this a “Carnival of Color,” but that’s just me.

More bands of color and marks.

An active workspace.

So many ways to apply paint and make marks.

Sharing work.

A thematic series of work.

Such crazy and unique marks.

Work in progress.

I love the collegial nature of a class.

Applying paint to a very textural and three-dimensional piece.

A vibrant series of work.

I’m always crazy for dots.

An excellent example of a strata composition. And then there’s the color . . .

A successful and colorful grid.

Work in progress. Done? Hope so.

An energetic work in progress.

A beautiful series of lines, marks, and colors.

Such sexy curves.

A lovely and simple abstracted landscape.

A thematic series of work.

Pulling tape and revealing nine little paintings.

I love the solitude at the end of the day.

The peace at the end of the day.

All but one in this class photo!

I have received such wonderful feedback from the artists in my class and I want to share two of the comments. Reading these inspiring and positive words make my heart swell and it is why I love teaching.

The first one from Carol:

I was so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a student in this class. It was amazing to meet Dayna in person, and to be present in her instruction. She provided a manual, many supplies, demos, readings, and many examples of her work in various stages. She was very engaged and provided such positive suggestions and constant energy. It was truly a great pleasure in an incredible setting. . . . I am still processing all that I learned and felt, and continue to feel so grateful. Thank you, Dayna.            Terri

Teaching at Sitka: Part 1

I had the privilege of teaching two classes at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. The first, June 30-July 3, was in the smaller of the two studios at Sitka, Smith, and with ten students, it was the perfect space.

I taught two classes at Sitka, the first class was in the smaller, lower studio and the second class was in the spectacular upper studio, Boyden.

Because I was teaching two classes and they were back-to-back (I had the 4th of July off between the two classes), I got to stay at Morley House, which was a first for me. I loved this space!

This is where I got to stay for ten days: Morley House.

Now to the good stuff. The class. I could babble on about it, but instead I’m going to share photos – a fraction of the photos I took, but it gives a good look into our four days of art making. The group was talented, energetic, spirited, and hard workers — and they wanted to know if they could sign up for my 2023 class on the final day!

Brand new overalls! Soft fabric . . . and WHITE. I’m ready.

How I set up the oil paints I bring for the class to use.

A demo board.

Picking up supplies.

Pink+handmade holey paper = beauty.

Making room for a beautiful ring.

Just a beautiful blob of paint.

An old wallpaper roller I bought at a flea market in Europe years ago was a huge hit.

All the colors!

Working, working, working.

Blotting with tissue paper, lifting paint, and moving paint around.

Spreading and scraping paint.

Mixing oil paint with cold wax medium.

Such a strong use of color!

Another lover of color!

Carol experimenting with using a solvent to create drips.

A lovely example of a grid composition.

Regina and Liz confer.

Beautiful swaths of color.

Jill contemplates her next move.

My favorite stencil: circles.

Colorful, powerful, and fascinating example of a grid composition.

R&F Pigment Sticks – making a monoprint.

Selecting pigment sticks to try out.

A beautiful, finished painting. Carol started this one in a class with me a few years ago, brought it with her, and brought it to a beautiful finish.

Work in progress.

Encouraging and supporting each other.

Experimenting with drips!

I love the variety of color and marks in this series.

This is a monoprint of the original oil and cold wax painting (Marc let me have the monoprint and it is hanging in my studio).

Looking in . . . .

A beautiful series of magical marks.

Paintings drying in the courtyard,

Mini abstracts.

Ripping off tape to reveal small beauties.

Final day show and tell.

And then I rested.

Color: The Language of Dreams – Celebration

With Donna Guardino – gallery curator extraordinaire!

The opening of my show, Color – The Language of Dreams, at Guardino Gallery was Thursday, May 26 and it was truly a celebration of my many months of painting, scraping, scratching, writing, and more painting. I am always grateful when someone takes the time to see my show, and my heart was full that night.

Friends!

More friends! Thank you.

John and Nadine Gay.

Answering questions about my process.

The evening was nicely paced with visitors.

Donna Guardino.

If you aren’t able to make it in to see the show, all of the pieces (44 of them!) are available to view (and purchase) through the gallery’s website. Here’s a link to make it easy.

A Behind the Scenes Look

What a thrill it was to hang my show at Guardino Gallery a couple of weeks ago. I always like behind the scenes photos, so I thought it would be fun to share the highlights of the hanging on May 25, 2022. My show partner, Nadine Gay, was there with her husband, and my husband/studio assistant/business manager showed up and did a bit of everything to help get the show hung. It took six of us four hours to get the whole show hung.

I did an earlier post about Howard’s hanging of my 25-piece grid made up of individual 8×8 inch pieces, and you can see that post by clicking here.

The show is up through June 28, 2022.

Full of Delightful Mischief: A Grid of 25

I had an idea for a painting I wanted in my show at Guardino Gallery. I envisioned a grid of smaller paintings hung together to create a large 40×40 inch piece of art. I decided the small paintings would be 8×8 inches. But the initial problem was how to hang 25 paintings in a manner that would allow me to work on all 25 at the same time, as if I was actually painting a 40×40-inch piece of art. My studio assistant came to the rescue. He devised a system using Velcro. He attached Velcro to the back of the 25 8×8-inch cradled panels, then matched up the other piece of Velcro to the wall, allowing all of the paintings to hang together, but could easily be removed for me to 1) paint the edges, and 2) work on each piece individually when it became time to resolve each piece as a single painting.

After I secured the 25 panels (thank you Art Department for ordering so many boards for me), they were primed with fluorescent pink and orange acrylic paint by my studio assistant. I decided to start the painting process using acrylic paint to get lots of layers of color and marks. It was such fun to paint across the surface with grand swaths of paint, and occasionally pull the panels off the wall to wrap paint around and onto the edges.

Priming the 25 boards.

Howard measuring and attaching the Velcro.

An ingenious system.

Snapping the last panel into place.

My grid of smaller panels is a reality!

The backs are taped and Velcroed.

Acrylic paints below the works in progress.

A section of painted panels. Can you see where they are nestled close together?

Art quotes were added across the surface of the 25 pieces.

After a few layers of acrylic, I switched to oil paint mixed with cold wax, and began enhancing and adding more layers, words, and marks.

Refining each piece individually.

Layers, layers, and more layers of oil and cold wax.

Making progress. The view from standing on a chair.

Documenting the progress.

Drying across the bathtub on a warm, sunny day.

A stack of completed paintings. I love the edges!

And today the grid was hung at the gallery!

Getting started.

I was Howard’s assistant for a change.

One by one, Howard got all 25 pieces hung.

My art next to three of Nadine Gay’s beautiful sculptures.

It was sure wonderful to hang the show with three red dots!

 

Color – The Language of Dreams

Last fall, I received the email that always thrills and humbles me: I had been selected by Donna Guardino to have a show in the Main Gallery at Guardino Gallery in June of 2022. I didn’t celebrate too long, but instead studied the schematics of the gallery, the wall spaces to be filled, pulled together a batch of boards, and got to work.

The getting to work initially meant prepping the boards for painting. I knew early on that I wanted to pair art quotes with vivid colors, so right from the beginning these elements were prominent.

Moving boards, applying plaster, creating texture, sanding the plaster, writing on the plaster, sealing the plaster, writing more on the sealed plaster.

After all the boards were prepped (with massive help from my studio assistant), they were ready for paint to be applied.

Piles of oil paint mixed with cold wax.

This part of the process required many layers of oil paint mixed with cold wax. The dominant theme was layers of paint with the writing of quotes in between the layers.

Started out working on these two boards as a diptych.

Writing on all the layers.

Working on quotes.

Blotting some of the oil from R&F Pigment Sticks.

Dripping quotes.

A quote on an early layer of oil and cold wax.

Applying oil and cold wax.

Just another layer of oil and cold wax.

Getting my exercise working on big boards.

Just another day in the studio.

Applying oil and cold wax to create texture and design.

Scrapping off paint.

Work session.

Various stages.

Working on the floor on a huge board.

Contemplating my next move.

After several months of work, the pieces began to take shape. Some boards got scraped, some were finished, but then I decided they weren’t finished so more layers were applied. Writing was always present, but it was in the last six weeks of working that I began applying the words more boldly on the surface of the painted surfaces, and these turned out to be my favorite pieces.

R&F Pigment Sticks are like writing with lipstick.

“A Frenzy of Confessions,” 20×20 inches, plaster, oil, and cold wax by Dayna Collins.

And before I knew it, it was time to stop painting. The oil and cold wax needed time to dry, cure, and set before applying a final coat of cold wax. For the month of May, the paintings were in my studio, in the hallway, and in our bathroom just resting.

Part of the lineup drying.

Frida approves.

Applying final layer of cold wax.

Applying a final layer of cold wax on the finished painting.

Cold wax on a finished painting.

Today as I put together this post, all the paintings have been moved to the main floor of our house. They are being prepared to be wrapped and loaded into a van we had to rent to transport the 44 paintings (yes, 44!) to the gallery in the morning.

Finished . . . and exhausted.

The show hangs on Wednesday, May 25, and opens on Thursday, May 26, with the opening reception from 6-9 pm; the show will be up through June 26. An added bonus is you can see (and shop) all the pieces by going to Guardino Gallery’s website.

 

The Evolution of a Scavenged Painting

 

About ten years ago I discovered this 25×49 inch framed painting on canvas at a local Goodwill; I think I might have paid $25. I didn’t buy it for the painting, but as an inexpensive canvas to repurpose for my own art. The canvas got tucked away in our shed, and I forgot about it. Last year I rediscovered it and took a closer look. It was signed on the back by M. Runyan and it had been painted in 1985. I asked my artist friend Bonnie Hull, who is familiar with many artists in Salem over the years, if she knew of the artist, but the name didn’t ring a bell. So I decided I would give the painting a makeover. And as it turns out, another makeover, and then another until I was finally satisfied. For now, anyway.

I opened a big bucket of gesso and began covering erasing the six starred bottles (I kind of cringed and then cried a bit).

And then I began applying paint.

Life got busy and once again I abandoned this canvas. The bottles were gone, gesso applied, and some bands of color slapped on. Not sure where I stored the canvas, probably in the upstairs hallway, but it got tucked away until last July when I pulled it out again. This time I started adding swaths of black, green, pink, and burgundy.

It was at a stopping point and I hid it away again for many months. Until two weeks ago when we packed it into our car and drove to Astoria. I thought maybe it would look nice in our House of Color since we were in need of a piece of art above our couch.

Nope. It didn’t look good at all and I didn’t even like the painting anymore, so instead of dragging it home, I took it upstairs to my studio and painted some swaths of wild color.

It was fine, kind of fun, definitely colorful, but it lacked any kind of KAPOW, so back upstairs it went. I pulled out more paint, began spreading, scraping, and marking.

It was finally what I had wanted all along (but didn’t know what that was until it appeared). Here is the final painting and some close ups of different areas.

“A Courageous Act of Flamboyance,” 25-1/2 x 49-1/2 inches, acrylic on canvas, sealed with cold wax, and a painted frame, by Dayna Collins.

But guess what? I needed a big painting for Fogue Gallery in Seattle, so this finally finished pop of color piece of art will be heading north on Thursday and be on display and for sale just in time for the Georgetown Art Attack on Saturday, April 7.

And the wall above our couch is once again empty and in need of art.

 

TRACES: Band of Artists Collective

Finally, our long overdue and postponed group show, Traces, is now on view at the Salem Art Association Annex Gallery. During the two-year wait for things to reopen and get our show rescheduled, we changed our name from the Salem Art group to the Band of Artists Collective, but we’re the same group of talented artists. We’ve been plotting and planning for this show over the past few months, and got together in February to make final preparations (and take a very serious group photo). 

Band of Artists Collective, February, 2022.

The title of our show Traces, could be interpreted however we chose, but our group show statement explains it in more detail:

Like messages to the future and from the past, the traces of nine different paths converge here in the Annex Gallery this spring. As mark makers of varying sorts, these nine artists of the Band of Artists Collective use the indications of their existence as persons in their art work. An interest in superimposing experience, idea, image, and color onto canvas, paper, wood, and fabric is the shared language of any group of artists, this group included.

Artists understand the term palimpsest as way of reusing materials and ideas, of scraping an older work away while leaving a trace behind, a shadow, a nuance of an earlier idea. As women, as artists, as gardeners…as daughters and mothers and friends, we find the trace of others stamped on our minds just as we leave a shadow behind.

Although there is always a narrative somewhere buried in an artwork, it is less necessary to know each individual story than to sense the traces that appear in the work. Bring your own eyes to the work displayed here, perhaps finding a trace of communication. 

Earlier this week, art work was dropped off. The day I dropped off my work, Kay was dropping off her pieces and Robin was busily hanging Katy’s work, while Kathy was trying to keep track of all of the final details.

Fast forward to Thursday. I was out for my weekly walk with Joni, and we decided to swing by the Art Annex to see the show. It was so nice to walk into the space and have it to ourselves. It’s a stunning show.

Joni viewing the show

The work for each of the nine artists:

Katy Vigland

Nancy Eng

Kay Worthington

Elizabeth Bauman

Bonnie Hull

Jessica Ramey

Dayna Collins

Susan Napack

Salem Art Association prepared a beautiful color brochure, which includes a photo of everyone’s work along with individual artist statements.

Here is what I wrote for my Artist Statement – even before I had created my body of work.

Mixed media is often a wild goose chase down a twisted rabbit hole. It involves a series of what if questions and actions. What if I glued this down, drew a line over the top, added some paint, glued something else down, and then took a sander to it to reveal the first layer of collage, added more paint, then glued something else down, wrote with a wax crayon, then started over?

It is all a grand experimental mystery, which somehow all comes together one way or another. This project fits perfectly with my 2022 word of the year: RISK. I am taking a risk working in a new way, one I have been intrigued with for several years but somehow fear held me back: How can I cover a beautiful collage with paint? And yet covering it, excavating, concealing, and revealing is what I love doing and something I do in paint all the time.

Creating my mixed media pieces is a messy affair, a wild cacophony of cutting, tearing, drawing, gluing, painting, writing, scraping, sanding, layering, revealing, and varnishing. My pieces reflect my curiosity, playfulness, irreverence, and my love of texture, history, and a touch of surprise.

The opening reception was held tonight, it was a marvelous gathering of artists, art lovers, friends, family, and supporters.

With Kathleen Dinges, the curator of our show.

The show runs from March 4 – April 23, 2022.

 

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