From Shed to Art Studio

It has been a whirlwind of activity since last fall, beginning with the selling of our house and the purchase of a new one all within days of each other (I wrote about this here.)

Welcome to my new studio!

When we purchased our new home, we knew it didn’t have a space inside for a studio, but at that time, we were more focused on finding the right house and figuring out my studio space later. We used one extra bedroom in the house as my collage studio, but where a painting studio would be located was a problem to solve. We considered the garage, but we needed the garage for other things, so that wasn’t feasible. We discussed my finding a studio space in an off-site location, but monthly rent adds up quickly.

A view through the door with a reflection from the clear awning.
A view through the door with a reflection from the clear awning.

In our backyard on a pad of pavers, was a 10×10 Tuff Shed, which the previous owners used for storing garden materials. Howard came up with the idea of purchasing another 10×10 Tuff Shed and connecting the new shed with the old. We explored that option, but there were a lot of problems in making that work, which led us down the rabbit hole of having a stand alone shed built next to the existing shed. We worked with a Tuff Shed expert to design the new shed, choosing a 10×20 model (the largest possible without getting permits). I got to pick out the height of the walls and roof (8 foot walls with a pitched roof), what kind of door I wanted (a residential door with glass), and how many and where I wanted windows (one window on the south wall). My goal for one window and a single door was to maximize working wall space for hanging my art boards.

Once decisions were made, and the shed ordered (after being ordered, it was delivered the following week!), the ground needed to be excavated in order for the shed to be installed. Howard dug and dug and dug, piling the dirt next to the garage. Installation day arrived and two great guys showed up, unloaded the foundation, walls, window, and door. Like magic and by early afternoon, the shed was installed and ready to be converted to my studio.

Building the studio: Howard dug out a LOT of dirt to make room for the studio foundation.
Building the studio: The foundation needed to have 16 more inches dug out at the last minute.
Building the studio: Installing the foundation.
Building the studio: Installing the walls.
Building the studio: Putting up the walls.
Building the studio.
Building the studio: the door and window installed.
Building the studio: It is built!

Once the shed was in place, the finishing projects went like this:

Electrical

This was the only thing that took a long time to get scheduled – two weeks – it seemed like an eternity, but once the electrical was installed, Howard was ready to go. (Side note: the existing 10×10 shed had an electrical panel, so wiring the new studio was easy since the electricians could tap into the already installed panel.)

Insulation

Building the studio: Insulation and then wall boards.

Wall board, Mudding, and Sanding

Building the studio: Sanding the mud.

This took a while because each layer of mud had to dry, and it was messy because of all of the sanding.

Priming and Painting

Building the studio: Priming the walls.

It took two coats of primer to get the new walls sealed, and then I had to choose what color to paint the walls. I knew I wanted white, but did I want a warm white or a cool white? I posed this question on my Facebook page and received dozens of suggestions and ideas for what white (and surprisingly, a lot of suggestions to use grey). I went to Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams and gathered a couple dozen whites – warm and cool. By a process of research about the whites, and relying on my Spidey senses, I chose Sherwin Williams White Flour, a warm white with creamy undertones. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write such thoughtful responses.

Flooring

I had originally thought to just paint the floor, and for a little while thought about throwing down cheap rugs, but then my Portland artist friend, Maude May, who also has a Tuff Shed converted to her studio, suggested peel and stick vinyl flooring. Hello! What a brilliant idea. Off to Lowe’s we went and found the perfect pattern for my studio. Howard cleaned the splotches of mud and paint from the flooring, applied two coats of special flooring primer, then over the course of three days, applied the peel and stick tiles rather willy nilly, creating the perfect, random pattern. I love it!

Building the studio: Playing with the layout of the vinyl peel and stick floor tiles.
Building the studio: Howard putting on the first layer of floor primer.
Building the studio: Preparing to install peel and stick vinyl tiles.
Building the studio: Installing peel and stick vinyl tiles.

Walls for Hanging Art

Building the studio: Howard installing the 120 screws for hanging and moving my cradled panels around.
Building the studio: 120 screws put into the walls for hanging my cradled panels. The rows are 16 inches apart and the columns are six inches apart,

Howard installed 60 screws on each of my two long walls, for a grand total of 120 screws. He had just finished painting the walls, so he still had his paint sprayer set up: he misted the two walls with paint so that the screws blended into the walls.

Moving In

Ahhhhh, beginning to put together the studio infrastructure.
Organizing my new rolling carts: A shelf for each color of oil paint.

I knew I wanted two work stations on opposite ends of the studio; the south work station is for my acrylic and water-based media and the north work station is for my oil and cold wax. I ordered an inexpensive funky chair online to have a contemplation chair, and brought in two of my vintage rolling work carts (I have four); I also purchased two tower rolling carts to store my oil paints divided by color.

I saved the best for last: Deciding what to hang on my inspiration board.
The walls are white . . . . but not the door.
My oil and cold wax work area.
My water-based work area.
A favorite corner, storage for water-based media.
The west wall of my studio.
The east wall of my studio.

Outside Finish Work

Building the studio: My painter.
Building the studio: My painter.
Building the studio: The first coat of paint has been applied.
The studio is finished. But is it ever really finished? I don’t think so.

We had a few good days of weather, so Howard and I jumped into action and painted the outside walls and trim (just the front facing walls – we still have the back and three sides to do – it wasn’t that nice for that long). I had pre painted some big metal letters, and Howard got those installed. We also realized we needed some kind of awning for the doorway so I wouldn’t get soaked unlocking the door, so we ordered a nice awning from Wayfair and Howard got that installed just in time for the next rain shower (we live in Oregon, the awning was essential).

Howard reading the directions for putting together the studio awning.

Howard installing the letters. Of course, when he got to this point, I told him I needed a photo.
Installing the mailbox. I don’t anticipate getting much mail. . . .

Pavers and Art Plaza

As the studio was being put together, we decided that it would be nice to have a clean, attractive space between the house and the studios. There were already existing pavers around the Art Annex (the original 10×10 Tuff Shed), so we decided to extend them to the edge of the new studio. In the middle of working on the inside of the studio, a crew of three guys arrived and spent three full days excavating and then installing pavers and a small rock wall. We call this our Art Plaza. (NOTE: We used our neighbor’s business to do the work, Curb Appeal, and they did beautiful work. They finished on a Friday afternoon just before the snow arrived, so I got to enjoy the Plaza for about an hour and then I didn’t get to see it again for a week, until the snow melted.)

Preparing for pavers.
Installing the pavers.

Art Annex

The little Tuff Shed that came with the house had been set up for gardening supplies. It had built in shelves, electricity, and lights, making it a perfect place to store all of my blank art substrates as well as excess paper, art supplies, surplus rolling carts, and finished art. I plopped down a rug, turned on some heat, and created a perfect auxiliary studio.

Installing all of the painted letters.
The Annex.
The Annex: Art storage for boards and supplies (the painted floor mat covering the window was done by Sloy).

A Working Studio

I have two work stations: this one for oil and cold wax; at the other end of the studio is acrylics and water-based materials.
So pleased with my new studio.

The Cost

In case you’re interested in what all of this cost, I know I was looking for this kind of information when we first set out on this adventure, I want to give you a rough estimate of what we spent to create this 10×20 studio in our backyard. We had out of pocket costs, but Howard did the majority of the work: he excavated the ground for the foundation (with some help from our strong son, Scott), cut down a tree limb, did the insulation, installed the wallboard, mudded, and sanded (with the help of our wonderful handyperson, Nancy), primed and painted the walls, installed the peel and stick tiles, painted the outside, and put up the awning over the door. All costs are rounded and approximate:

Tuff Shed $9,300; electrical $1,300 (a second bid we got was $3,300! so glad we got two bids); wallboard $400; help with wallboard installation $500; peel and stick vinyl flooring $400; paint and primer $300; insulation $600; awning $200. Howard loosely estimates his labor at $2,000. So the total project (NOT including the pavers since those didn’t have anything to do with the building of the studio): $15,000. We had anticipated it would cost around $14,000, so we were pleased to be within $1,000 of our estimate.

A place to rest and get some fresh air.

 

 

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.

Abstracted Flowers

Somewhere during the past couple of months, I decided to revisit painting abstracted flowers. I was prompted to do this series when I was looking at paintings that weren’t working for me. That isn’t unusual, I often cover over paintings and create new compositions. But the idea of painting flowers sprang up when I decided to cover the old paintings primarily with black paint, leaving a hint of the underpainting, and creating a wonky vase of long-stemmed flowers.

I have painted flowers in a variety of iterations, and I always enjoyed what I created. These are some of the older paintings that have long since sold.

“Stunning Ferocity,” by Dayna Collins
“The Absurdity of It,” by Dayna Collins
“According to Sylvia Plath, the tulips are too excitable,” by Dayna Collins
“Echoes of Summer,” by Dayna Collins
“According to Sylvia Plath, the tulips should be behind bars,” by Dayna Collins

Fast forward to my current series. Many of these new paintings are 6×6 inches and were created for the Small Works show at Salem on the Edge. They proved to be popular, and most of the flower pieces sold within the first few days of the show. It was such a heartwarming affirmation of doing this new body of work. Here is a peek behind the scenes of my process:

And then photos of some of my new work:

“Hiding Places,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins
“Ultimate Serenity,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins
“Faintly Lit Night,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins
“Avalanche of Thoughts,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins
“An Oasis of Quiet,” 12×12 inches, oil and cold wax on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins
“Wondrous Generosity,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins
“The Blur of Memories,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins
“Wild Anticipation,” 12×12 inches, oil and cold wax on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins
“Familiar and Comforting,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins
“Howling Joy,” 6×8 inches, oil and cold wax on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins
“Vibrancy and Optimism,” 12×12 inches, oil and cold wax on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins

There are a few abstracted flower paintings on my website, which you can find by clicking this LINK.

Because I loved these flowers so much, I had notecards printed so I can write thank you notes to those who purchase my paintings.

New notecards!

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

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.

 

TRACES: My Personal Work

The marriage of paint and collage was much tougher than I imagined. I have been a painter for years, I have been a collagist for even longer, but putting the two together has been a painful labor of love . . . . and finally came together.

I had been moving toward combining paint and collage over the past couple of years, trying to figure out a way of adding paint over collage, and collage over paint, discovering the right balance of revealing and concealing. Adding collage to a board is easy for me, but I never wanted to cover it up with paint. Or I would create a collage, feel brave, add paint, but before I knew it, every bit of the collage was covered up.

My art group, the Band of Artists Collective, has a show opening tonight and I was determined to have my mixed media pieces reflect the successful pairing of collage and paint. I experimented in a small journal, doing quick collages on a series of pages. But I liked the collages and didn’t want to mess them up with paint. Reminding myself that my word for this year is RISK, I spread some paint over a collage. I liked the painting, but the collage was gone. What the hell.

It came time to submit images for our upcoming show. I didn’t have any completed pieces and what if I never found my way to adding paint to collage (or collage to paint). So I submitted photos of two 12×12 inch paintings that were somewhat in the style I hoped to complete, although the work did not have one bit of collage in them.

“An Underwater Dream,” 12×12 inches, acrylic with cold wax, by Dayna Collins.
“A Still Pond on a Humid Day,” 12×12 inches, acrylic with cold wax, by Dayna Collins.

But the challenge was mine, no one else knew I was attempting to pull off this arduous (to me) task. The fear grew, and I became paralyzed. Until I decided to push through. The opportunity came in the form of spending two weeks in Palm Springs in late January. We had rented a modern condo with a large dining room table (that was my main criteria in choosing our rental). I loaded up 12 12×12 inch flat birch panels, three working journals, two big bags of acrylic paint, a gigantic bag of collage materials, and a satchel of art supplies. I claimed the table (and the kitchen bar, and the kitchen prep counter, and sometimes the floor) as my work space. We were in Palm Springs to celebrate Howard’s birthday and his retirement, so he was there to golf. I was there to paint and collage. It was a beautiful win/win situation.

Daily, I worked in my journals.

I glued down collage onto the 12 boards.

Then I sidetracked myself to create a fresh batch of painted collage papers (that process is worthy of an entire blog post!).

And then I did what I had been hesitant to do. I started combining paint and collage in any way I could think to do it. If I did too much painting, I just added more collage. Sometimes I painted too much on purpose and glued collage on top. Sometimes I painted over the collage, revealing tiny bits of the collage beneath the surface. I sanded, I scraped, I reapplied paint, and added more collage.

I started to find my rhythm and I was having fun.

A body of work came together. I had started with the idea of creating six pieces for the show, and then it grew to nine. At the end of our two weeks in Palm Springs, I had twelve boards with potential. After we got home, I fine tuned a few of the panels and I had 12 that were show worthy – a beautiful grid.

Here are the 12 that are in the show.

“When Possibilities Seem Endless,” 12×12 inches, acrylic and collage on flat birch board, mounted on a block, by Dayna Collins.
“This Big Life,” 12×12 inches, acrylic and collage on flat birch board, mounted on a block, by Dayna Collins.
“Secret Confessions,” 12×12 inches, acrylic and collage on flat birch board, mounted on a block, by Dayna Collins.
“Robust Vulnerability,” 12×12 inches, acrylic and collage on flat birch board, mounted on a block, by Dayna Collins.
“Nervous Curiosity,” 12×12 inches, acrylic and collage on flat birch board, mounted on a block, by Dayna Collins.
“Luminous Vulnerability,” 12×12 inches, acrylic and collage on flat birch board, mounted on a block, by Dayna Collins.
“In the Presence of Mystery,” 12×12 inches, acrylic and collage on flat birch board, mounted on a block, by Dayna Collins.
“Dance of Distraction,” 12×12 inches, acrylic and collage on flat birch board, mounted on a block, by Dayna Collins.
“Blurred Boundaries,” 12×12 inches, acrylic and collage on flat birch board, mounted on a block, by Dayna Collins.
“A Lending Library of Wonders,” 12×12 inches, acrylic and collage on flat birch board, mounted on a block, by Dayna Collins.
“A Deeper Sense of Belonging,” 12×12 inches, acrylic and collage on flat birch board, mounted on a block, by Dayna Collins.
“A Chorus of Memory,” 12×12 inches, acrylic and collage on flat birch board, mounted on a block, by Dayna Collins.

Traces opens tonight . . . . next up, my blog about the show.