Lexicon of Collage: Daily Project for 2023

I love having a daily art project, something quick and easy and not too complicated. Having this type of project gets me into my studio, even on days when I only have a little bit of time or when I’m not feeling like painting or doing something big. Last year I kept a daily journal where I filled the pages with words, collages, and small paintings. One year I did a painting a day in a series of spiral bound journals. For this year, I am creating a collage each day and I have titled my project Lexicon of Collage. For my substrate, I am using matboard cut into 4×6 inch pieces (I ordered the matboard in a size of my choosing from Matboard and More, a company I have used for a lot of projects over the years).

For most of the collages I make, I use pieces of my hand painted papers, which I create using acrylic paint on various papers, i.e., drawing, deli, tissue, and paper bags. I divide these papers by color, making it easy to find just what I need.

Stacks of my painted papers.
Stacks of freshly painted papers.
Painted paper for collage work.

When I’m ready to create a collage, I reach for my painted papers, text and typography, bits of ephemera, scraps from old books, and random pieces of collected papers. I audition the papers and when I have a composition I like, I start gluing using Golden semi-gloss soft gel medium.

Laying out a grid collage and preparing to glue.

Once I have glued down my collage material, I place a piece of wax paper over the collage and then a stack of heavy books on top (or a bag of rice), and let it dry for several hours (or overnight). Once the glue is set, I often have raggedy edges that I like to trim using an Xacto knife. Once the collages are trimmed, I apply a thin coat of Golden’s semi-gloss soft gel medium, the same medium I use for gluing the papers.

Collages ready to be trimmed.
More trimming.
Trimming edges off of collages.
A beautiful pile of paper trimmings.

There are several benefits to having a daily project. As I mentioned above, this type of project gets me into my studio. But even more than propelling me to make art daily, it pushes me to experiment and play with a variety of compositions, unusual color combinations, and ways to create little pieces of art that hopefully take my breath away, that cause a gasp of delight, all the things that I want to happen in my bigger paintings. A bonus: I have already used some of my collages as inspirations for my paintings.

Completed collages.

Another fun addition to this project is how I share my completed collages. About once a week, give or take, I share a grouping of collages I have created. I started inviting friends (and family) to be my guest collage flippers. I videotape my invited collage flipper and share the videos on Instagram. Here are some of my invited flippers.

Guest collage flipper: daughter Melissa.
Guest collage flipper: granddaughter Gabriella
Guest collage flipper: Elise Wagner.
Guest collage flipper: Stephanie Brockway
Guest collage flippers: son Scott and grandson Harrison.
Guest collage flipper: grandson Luke.

For more regular updates on this project, follow on me on Instagram where I regularly post videos of my guest collage flippers and/or sign up for my monthly newsletter, where I do periodic updates about my Lexicon of Collage project.

My stack of collages as of the end of February.

Scrounged Beauty: The Opening


Stephanie Brockway and Dayna 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.





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


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.


9th Annual Day of the Dead Show at Guardino Gallery

DOTD Show Card 2015One of my favorite shows every year is Guardino Gallery’s Day of the Dead Celebraton, curated by Donna Guardino and my friend Stephanie Brockway. The show opened last night with a vibrant party and reception. There was live music, glowing altars, and face painting. A peek in the window. . . .

DOTD 2015 (2)DOTD 2015 (3)And a little look inside.

DOTD 2015 (1)

DOTD 2015 (7)

I submitted seven pieces of art, and by the time I left last night, three had little red dots!

DOTD 2015

DOTD 2015 (12)

DOTD 2015 (2)

DOTD 2015 (8)

DOTD 2015 (3)

DOTD 2015 (4)

DOTD 2015 (5)The show runs through October 25th and the walls and window are filled with creative, off beat, imaginative art. Guardino Gallery is located at 2939 NE Alberta in Portland.

e-dotdDOTD 2015 (4)

LCAC Artful Gift Sale a Success

2014 Holiday sale postcard front low res

I was invited to participate in the Left Coast Artists Collective Artful Gift Sale, which was held last Friday and Saturday at the Multnomah Arts Center in Portland. It was a fun day, I made lots of sales,  I met some great new people, I bought some art, and did some art trades. (Bonus: I got to hang out with Stephanie Brockway, who had her booth right next to mine.) I say it was successful all the way around.



Booth 3

Booth 5


Dayna in booth