Orly and I are friends who both live in Salem and share a love of old books. What started as an idea last fall, blossomed into something beautiful: a collaborative workshop with Orly and myself. We met to dream about what we would offer, to come up with a title, and to figure out how we would present the class.
Once our ideas began to take shape, we had several photos taken of us together, named our workshop MIXT: Collage on Old Book Boards, and decided that we would each teach two days in our four-day class. The class took place last week and was held in NE Portland at the gorgeous former studio of Flora Bowley. (An added benefit was that Orly and I got to stay at the studio, which has been made into an AirBnB – the commute to and from class was divine.)
Orly taught the first two days, and I taught the second two days. It was a whirlwind of tearing books apart, doing creative drawing exercises, playing with transfers, making our own painted collage papers, and creating the biggest mess we could. No words needed; the photos tell the story.
The workshop was a lovely success. The weather was perfect, and we were able to eat outside on the lovely grounds of the studio and take walks in the morning and evening. Everyone created a series of beautiful collages, incorporating the varied methods and ideas that both of us taught. There was laughter, silence, tears, the sound of paper being ripped, and the sound of a squeaky brayer. Orly and I deepened our friendship as we shared this time and experience together.
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.
It felt good to be back teaching at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. Last year my workshop was cancelled due to the pandemic and I hadn’t signed up to teach this year because of the uncertainty with Covid. As cases began falling earlier this summer, Sitka’s Program Manager, Tamara, reached out to see if I would be interested in teaching a workshop in September. I jumped at the opportunity. As the workshop date approached, I watched as Covid cases once again surged. I was a little nervous about teaching, but Sitka had worked hard to provide a safe place with lots of protocols already in place. A couple weeks before my workshop, I asked Sitka to cap the class at eight students, to ensure that there would be plenty of space between tables in the studio.
I could write about the week of art-making, the learning, the techniques, the epiphanies, the experimentation, the fearlessness, the laughter, the great energy, the hard work . . . . but instead I’m going to do a photo essay, which I think captures the essence of preparation and our week together.
I love painting and I love sharing my process and I got to do both yesterday at RiverSea Gallery in Astoria, Oregon (on the northern Oregon coast). I set up my big table, unloaded way too many supplies (is it possible to have too many supplies? we know the answer is no), and by 3:00 a small group of people had gathered to watch me mix up my concoctions and begin sharing techniques on how to apply (and remove) paint.
It was a messy paint fest (messy for me, not for the watchers). I answered questions, added swaths of paint, showed techniques, and got a lot of paint spread in the span of two hours. And I got to paint next to my good friend Stephanie Brockway’s fantastic art watching over me.
I posted four videos on my Instagram feed (DaynaLovesArt) and several people asked questions about what materials I was using. So (tada) I have put together a list of some of the things I used in my demo with some links to where you can find them. It was great how interested and engaged everyone was, both those who attended my demo and my friends on Instagram.
Materials I used for my July 16 demo at RiverSea Gallery. Please note that I am sharing what I used, and there are other brands available. I am also sharing links to these products on Dick Blick, again, lots of art stores carry these products (and I buy most of my materials from our local art store, Art Department, in Salem, Oregon), but for ease of getting information, I am primarily using Dick Blick’s online store.
Putty and palette knives. Putty knives from the hardware store are great, palette knives from art stores. But I will say, hardware stores are the best art stores!!
For texture making tools, I scrounge through my kitchen drawers and the garage, and also walk down the aisles of hardware stores for tools and materials that make great texture.
Oil paints. I use a variety of brands. I am partial to Gamblin because they make quality paints (are they are a local Portland company). In general, I look for colors I like, and for paint that is on sale. Some of the brands I use besides Gamblin are: M. Graham, Richeson, and Holbein.
Here are some of the starts from my demos:
And while I have your attention . . . .
If you want the full oil and cold wax experience, I will be teaching September 6-9, 2021, at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology(on the Oregon Coast). I just checked and there are still a few spots available. We will spend four days together in a beautiful studio nestled in the woods of Cascade Head spreading paint, learning techniques, laughing, talking about art, and creating colorful abstracted landscapes.
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.
At a recent art retreat with the Salem Art Group on the Oregon Coast, Bonnie brought everyone a small handmade blank journal to fill as we chose. I think this is the fourth (or fifth?) journal Bonnie has provided as we have retreated together over the years. I filled the pages of this little journal with scraps from deconstructed books. (I brought tons of material to work on collages mounted onto worn and well used book boards, so I had plenty of random and leftover fodder to create a tiny journal of Salvage Collages.)
A random selection of my pages.
I plan to use these pages as inspiration for future Salvage Collages mounted on discarded book boards.
The Salem Art Group now has ten members, the most we have ever had, but when just the right people appeared, we couldn’t say no. Twice a year our group retreats: in the spring we head to the Oregon coast, and in the summer, we head east to a cabin on the Metolius River. With ten members, we have to get a bit more creative with sleeping arrangements, but somehow we manage. A couple of weeks ago we found our way to Culver City, just south of Lincoln City, and on the Siletz Bay.
We all set up stations and worked on whatever we wanted.
Afternoon walks often occur, either in groups or on solo adventures.
We each bring our own breakfast and lunch, but every night we go out for a nice dinner. The first night we veered a little off of our formula and had dinner at a bowling alley, but it was a cool place with an unusually tasty menu. Of course, we reserved two lanes and bowled. No one had bowled for years, including myself, but somehow I managed to bowl an impressive 158!
During our days, I worked on a series of Salvage Collages on book boards, using pieces and parts of deconstructed vintage discarded books to create the collages.
We’re already counting down the days for our next retreat.
The Salem Art Group makes an annual pilgrimage to Camp Sherman every summer thanks to the hospitality and generosity of Katy, who invites us to stay at her family cabin, which is located right on the Metolius River on Forest Service land. It is quiet, remote, and there is no cell service or WIFI, making for the perfect art venue.
This year, seven of our 10 members were able to attend, and after sorting out who would sleep where, unpacking our coolers of food, and setting up our art-making spaces, we all settled in for the business and fun of making art, chatting, and eating. Art making happened during the day, late into the night, and early in the morning, necessitating moving around to chase light, avoid heat, or to stay warm. It was all part of the art dance.
The food. We ate really well thanks to creative cooks and eating the bounty of summer. One evening, Susan prepared a beautiful dinner for everyone, one morning Jessica made pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup. I brought along a little container of cold brew.
The art. We all worked on individual projects throughout the week. A couple of people stitched, a few painted, all but two of us sketched pretty much all of the time. I didn’t sketch, but I did get sketched!
My art project for this year was to work on four Salvage Collage pieces for an upcoming show at RiverSea Gallery in Astoria. I lugged bins of book scraps, a box of book covers, and dozens of covers from pulp fiction novels. I set my space up on the deck, under cover, with a view of the Metolius River.
Every year, Bonnie makes little blank journals for us and during the time we are together, we each work on our individual journals, usually in the evening and after we have moved inside. From a blank book to crammed pages!
Some of us used bits and pieces from a central collage pile to create books. For me, I used pieces of discarded books I was working with during my week. Here are my pages:
Several of us went for a hike every day, with Katy leading us in all different directions.
It was a great week and I returned rested and reinvigorated, and already looking forward to next summer.
I returned Sunday night from teaching my four-day Abstracted Landscapes in Oil and Cold Wax atSitka Center for Art and Ecology, on the Oregon Coast. It was a mountain top experience. I arrived on Wednesday afternoon to get settled into my cabin and to get the studio set up for class the following day.
Class started on Thursday morning and for four days we hardly came up for air. The days were a blur of demonstrations, techniques, inspirational readings, laying down paint, scraping it off, laying down more layers, breaking for lunch, more demos and more paint. There was a constant chatter in the room, students getting feedback from each other and from me.
On Friday afternoon, I presented my Art Talk.
On the third day, we talked about composition, color, and design elements, and everyone started to refine their pieces and move them toward resolution. Students were introduced to R and F Pigment Sticks, and enjoyed vying for their favorite colors.
Some glimpses of moments throughout the days:
Some of my demos during the week:
On Sunday afternoon, we did a casual Show and Tell Walkabout, where everyone talked about the process and shared a couple of their favorite pieces. Here are the Walkabout photos:
The following is a stream of photos illustrating some the beautiful work created by these energetic, fun, and talented artists. Feast your eyes on all this color:
We took a group photo on Sunday morning, no easy task, but we pulled it off after a few tries!
Back in August of 2016, I was offered an Artist in Residence position at the Salem Art Association’s new Art Annex. Today I moved into my studio space, which I will call home for the next month.Here’s a description of what I’ll be doing:
Artist in Residence/Dayna Collins
October 25-November 24
Dayna Collins is a collector, energized by hunting for worn out and discarded objects, especially the bits and pieces that aren’t perfect. She hyperventilates when she discovers a box of ephemera or an old photo album that someone is throwing away. During her residency, Dayna will bring her vast collection of old letters, photographs, ticket stubs, bits of vintage lace, envelopes, stamps, string, travel brochures, maps, recipes, report cards, random notes – the detritus of a person’s life – and create vignettes that tell a story. Using paper, paint, cardboard, book covers, and plaster, she will give new life to these cast off, expendable objects, exploring storytelling in unexpected ways, beginning with a black and white photograph of a stranger.
NOTE: I’ll be in the studio most weekdays and the public is invited to stop by and see what I’m working on. I will be posting on my personal Facebook page the days and times I will be in the Art Annex Studio. I’ll have these posts set to public, so if you’re thinking about visiting, please take a look to see if I’ll be there: Dayna Davidson Collins
In addition to the residency, there are several upcoming events.
Saturday, November 18/4-6 pm/FREE
Symbols are personal. Oftentimes they’re stories that incorporate one’s religious, cultural and familial imagery. These things often prod memories and ideas, bringing to the surface the roots of our ancestry, and other events, times, or places in our lives. This exhibition focuses on artistic interpretations of symbols that are pertinent to family history, holidays or spiritual rituals, heritage and culture.
Participating artists are Dayna Collins, Toni Gilbert, Sarah Dillon Gilmartin, Ann Kresge, Eric Loftin, Susan Napack, Nichole Rose, Jennifer Salzman and Vicky DeKrey Vasey.
Friday, October 27/5-7 pm
Please join Ross Sutherland (Bush House Museum), Toni Gilbert (author), Dayna Collins (artist), Kylie Pine (Willamette Heritage Center) and Amber D’Ambrosio (University Archive, Willamette University) in a conversation about our personal objects, ranging from how to properly care for them using professional methods, examples of how larger organizations approach personal objects, how we can use some of these methods for our own personal objects and family histories, and how we can utilize our personal and family imagery through art.
Workshop (class is full)
What’s Your Story, Real or Imagined: Telling Stories Through Old Photos
Saturday, October 28/9:30 am – 4:30 pm
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.
In addition to all of this excitement, I’ll be interviewed on Thursday for a local television station and then on Friday, November 10th, I’ll be on Joel Zak’s KMUZ radio show, Talking About Art, sharing about my project and Artist in Residence. More about all of this later.