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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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!
We laugh and we laugh and there is nothing else like it in the world.
A beautiful opportunity presented itself last June and after giving it some deep thought, I accepted a commission to create a painting in honor of a loved one who had passed. My collector (and friend) knew she wanted the piece to include collage and paint, but was open to how I would incorporate the two. We met at my house a couple of times to look through photos, passports, music, and ephemera, which all represented an interesting and rich life. I got a better idea of what she was thinking and proposed that I include words throughout the process, along with an initial layer of collage. It was agreed that the words and collage would imbue the piece with the spirit of this person, but the next layers would be an abstract landscape to reflect the color and vibrancy of a life lost too soon.
After I had a chance to go through the stacks of materials, we met again to make a few more decisions, giving me clarity of which original documents I would use to energize the painting. I decided I would create two paintings alongside each other so my collector would have a choice between which piece resonated with her the most. I chose to work on cradled panels: 24×36 inches and 30×40 inches.
Over several months, the two boards were painted, writing added, a second layer of paint, bigger and bolder words added, and then a complete layer of collage, with just snippets of the underlying words peeking through.
The process of alternating layers of acrylic paint with words continued, and eventually I began to focus on the composition, moving toward an abstracted landscape. I was pleased, but not satisfied, so in a fit of knowing I wasn’t finished, I took both boards to the back yard and using an electric sander, sanded the surface of both paintings, revealing the various layers as I sanded. Snippets of words, paint, and even some of the earlier layers of collage were revealed.
It was around this time I decided I would switch mediums and move to applying layers of oil paint mixed with cold wax. The vibrancy of oil and cold wax and the rich luminosity of the materials seemed like the right choice. I took the smaller of the two boards with me to Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in early September, where I was teaching a four-day workshop in oil and cold wax. I taught during the day, and then when the students went home for the night, I went into the studio and worked on the 24×36 inch piece, building layers of oil and cold wax.
When I got home, I continued to work on “Trying So Hard to Listen,” with more layers of oil and cold wax.
I completed the 24×36 inch piece on October 4, 2021, and titled it “Trying So Hard to Listen.”
I had also started to add layers of oil and cold wax to the larger piece, “On My Journey Home.”
The larger piece, 30×40 inches, was completed on my birthday, October 14, and I titled it “On My Journey Home.”
My wonderful friend and collector decided she wanted both of the paintings and in mid December, the paintings were delivered and hung. It was such an honor to see them hanging, knowing that they each had multiple layers of images, words, and paint and reflected emotional energy, love, and memories of a life well lived.
A journey of discovering that I love people, I love myself, I love my secrets.
I declared the past eight days an Artist in Residency, self proclaimed because my husband hopped on a jet for the east coast to visit his nieces and I had eight days to myself. I often hem and haw, do a little of this, a little of that, throw in a load of laundry, check out Instagram, read emails . . . . before heading to my studio. Last week I still did some of those things, but I made it a priority to get into my studio. It was a little easier last week not because Howard was gone, well, that was part of it, but because of the oppressive heat. My painting studio is upstairs in our 1926 house so the old furnace ducting doesn’t allow the air conditioned air to reach the second floor, making the upstairs pretty unbearable by noon.
So I made it my mission to get up there every morning and do something, anything. I had a productive week, getting a few things out of the way that I needed to do, but more than that, I painted. I painted just for the joy of painting and spreading paint.
On the first morning, I did a warm up using scraps of brown paper bags from my recent #100dayproject. It felt good to revisit being playful and loose while painting on unimportant little bits of paper.
Then I got to work. One of my projects was to simply gesso a stack of boards for a class I’m taking in July.
I spent a little time most days painting with acrylic on a repurposed canvas and recording my progress.
I prepped panels with plaster, which required multiple steps: acrylic, plaster, sanding, sealing . . . .
I wove these steps into my mornings, allowing things to dry overnight, ready to tackle the next day. One morning I did a reset in my studio, moving things around on my collection of rolling carts, causing a traffic jam at one point.
I was finally ready to pull out the oil and cold wax and start painting. Home again. . . . the smell of the wax, the feel of the materials as I mixed and spread the buttery concoction . . . .
Many layers of oil and cold wax were applied. It was a time of experimentation, to play, to try out different ideas. I finished a few, several are still in process. Some are on boards, some are on Arches oil paper.
I’m teaching in September! After a hiatus last year due to the you-know-what, and then the uncertainty of this year, I figured I wouldn’t return to teaching until 2022. Then I was contacted by Sitka Center for Art and Ecology to see if I would be available to teach a class September 6-9, 2021. With some minor calendar tweaking, I said yes.
My class, Colorful and Dynamic Abstracted Landscapes, is four days of working in oil and cold wax, in the beautiful Boyden Studio at Sitka, located in the forest at Cascade Head on the Oregon coast.
Here’s the description of the class:
Oil and cold wax is a versatile medium that creates rich luminosity and interesting surfaces. Applied with putty and palette knives, it feels like painting with whipped butter. Using our surroundings at Sitka as a jumping off point for playful abstraction, we will pump up the color and make bold, startling marks to create surprise and inspire awe. We will experiment with laying down swaths of paint, building texture, and scraping away. We will work intuitively and energetically on multiple pieces, exploring texture, color, layers, composition, and design. My goal is for you to return home with several completed pieces, several beginnings, and a refreshed and renewed enthusiasm.
Registration is now open for this four-day workshop, September 6-9. Here is link to the registration page. (Limited to 12 students; vaccines required.)
Just for fun, here are photos from previous years.
Last month, I wrote about my art being in a boutique hotel, along the bank of the Willamette River, The Independence, and just a 15 minute drive from Salem. When I wrote that blog post, I had three pieces of art on display at the hotel. As of writing this post, I now have an additional ten pieces there, and I haven’t even seen them yet! We plan to pay another visit (and another overnight) later this summer after their restaurant reopens in July.
I am writing now about another hotel in the Trace Hotel family, where I also have art, The Dundee. This hotel is located in Dundee, Oregon, in the heart of Oregon’s famous Willamette Valley wine country, and about a 40 minute drive from Salem. My art was installed the end of 2019, and then 2020 arrived, bringing Covid with it, and everything shut down. As things reopened in 2021, we decided to visit The Dundee. We were invited to come stay at the hotel, so earlier this month we went to The Dundee for three nights. Oh my. The Dundee has a stylish vibe and touches of luxury. Photos tell it best.
Once we were settled in, we started exploring, looking for my nine pieces of art; it was a bit like a scavenger hunt. Three of the paintings were right outside the door of our room on the second floor of the first building.
We continued our search. Right around the corner from our room, was the conference room, or Boardroom, and inside were three of my acrylic pieces.
When we were in the hallway, Jim, the hotel’s maintenance person, found out I had painted several of the paintings in the hotel and asked if I had by chance painted the pieces in the Boardroom. When I replied that I had, he said, “Come with me. I’ve studied those paintings, and I have questions for you.” In we went.
Jim’s question was if I had intentionally placed animals in my paintings. I told him I hadn’t, but he insisted he saw a bee, a bird, a cat, and a COW!
We set out again on our mission to find my paintings, leaving the first building, passing a great courtyard between the two buildings, and then entering the second building.
We spied the first painting on the landing between the first and second floors.
We had a beautiful three nights in the heart of the Willamette Valley (surrounded by wineries if you are a lover of wine) and we are already looking forward to our next visit.
Back in the fall of 2019, I was invited to show my art in a new hotel in Independence, Oregon, a small town about 15 minutes from Salem and across the Willamette River. The hotel, The Independence, was along the river and wanted to feature local artists and makers. I painted three paintings with the hotel in mind and its location along the river.
The three paintings for the hotel, oil and cold wax over plaster, and 30×40 inches each, were delivered in November, 2019. A reception was planned for the end of March, 2020.
And then the pandemic hit and everything was cancelled.
Fast forward to May, 2021, and we were finally able to visit the hotel and see my art in place. The hotel invited us to stay, so last week we planned a two night staycation. It was lovely to only drive 15 minutes to reach our destination, and what a beautiful destination.
The beautiful lobby.
Into the elevator and down the hallway . . .
Arrival on the third floor.
As soon as we were settled, we took off to visit my art.
The next thing we did was to grab kombuchas and head to the rooftop patio.
Then we did a little exploring in downtown Independence.
What a lovely location and a beautiful hotel.
In preparation for our visit, The Independence Hotel interviewed me and posted the interview on their blog. Here’s a LINK.
Coming next month, a visit to The Dundee Hotel in Dundee, Oregon, where I have nine pieces of art on display!
It is hard to believe that 100 days ago I embarked on a project where I committed to make a piece of art every day for 100 days. That’s a lot of days and a lot of art. I wrote about the project on Day 50, so if you want more info just click on the link.
In a nutshell, over the past 100 days I created art using scraps of brown paper bags. The mediums I used included oil and cold wax, acrylic paint, and collage. Some of the materials I used in the pieces: black and white photographs, Stabilo Woody Crayons, pencils, vintage ephemera, book scraps, paper frames, and charcoal. Techniques and designs included splatter painting, drawing, stripes, circles, stencils, scraping, tearing, gluing, squeegees, and mark-making.
What I learned during the past 100 days:
True art is in the doing and there is no shortcut for that.
I like to work fast to keep the inner critic quiet.
It was freeing to work on such an unimportant substrate as a brown paper bag.
I kept pushing myself to be bolder and to make more startling moves on my daily pieces.
It was amazing to create so many pieces, and although each piece was different, they created a unified body of work.
Some days it was this project that propelled me to go into my studio. Sometimes I stayed.
Several new ideas emerged from this project and I am letting them percolate for future projects.
A very exciting byproduct was how two of the paper pieces I created inspired bigger paintings!
Here is a random assortment of pieces from the second half of the project:
Right now I am celebrating the completion of the project . . . .
. . . . but I have some ideas brewing for moving forward with these pieces.
I have this wacky idea of offering some of these completed pieces for sale and giving first notice to those who are on my mailing list. Haven’t signed up yet? Want to? Here’s a LINK.
My show, Turns of the Kaleidoscope, officially opened on Friday night, May 7, from 5-8 pm. It was part of Salem’s First Friday Art Walk and the weather was perfect. With more people vaccinated and things slowly opening, there was a steady stream of friends and art lovers throughout the evening.
The evening was magical and I’m sharing a smattering of photos that give a peek into the celebration of the opening of my show (which runs through May 29th).