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.


Little Paintings

It’s that time of year when galleries like to offer smaller pieces of art at a price point that people can purchase original art as gifts — I have always loved this idea, whether for gifts, or for personal collections. I am excited to be sending small pieces of art to my three galleries: Guardino Gallery (in Portland), Salem on the Edge (in Salem), and RiverSea Gallery (in Astoria). I thought that rather than just sharing photos of the art that I have created for these three galleries, I would first share a bit of the background in creating these pieces.

When I teach my Oil and Cold Wax Abstracted Landscapes class at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, we do warm ups throughout the week using Arches Oil Paper, which we tape (using painter’s tape) onto large sheets of butcher paper or newsprint. I give verbal prompts for things to do on these small squares of oil paper and while giving these prompts, I also follow along and do the prompts on my own squares of paper. By the end of the class, we all have several completed paintings as well as several fun starts for finishing in the future. Here are some examples of the taped down pieces of paper at various stages.

This year, I took several of the sheets of taped down paper pieces, and started tackling the small squares one at a time, adding layers, marks, creating compositions, and resolving issues, working on them while they were still taped down with six paintings per sheet of paper.

Once I resolved the paintings, I removed the tape (WATCH FOR MY NEXT BLOG POST WHERE I SHARE WHAT I DID WITH THE PEELED UP TAPE!), trimmed the edges of the paper where the tape had been, and then glued the painting onto a cradled wood panel. I applied a final layer of cold wax and varnished the edges. By the time I had completed this process, I had 26 paintings, six were 5×5 inches, and the rest were 6×6 inches.

Fast forward to today. All of the pieces have been waxed, buffed, varnished, wired, titled, photographed, inventoried, and boxed. Deliveries will begin happening over the next couple of weeks. Whew. Here are some of the completed pieces heading to my three galleries.

“The Blur of Memories,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“Smoldering Silence,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“Reflecting Sunlight,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“Out of the Silence,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“Happy Silence of Mind,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“In the Silence of the Evening,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“Fearless Love,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“Coastal Riptides,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“A New State of Wonder,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“Untethered in Space,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“Along the Tideline,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“Stirrings of Enchantment,” 6×6 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.

In addition to the 21 pieces headed to the galleries, priced at $100 each, I have five of the 5×5 inch pieces available on my website. The 5×5 inch pieces are $70 (and include shipping).

“Currents of Cool Wind,” 5×5 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“A Place of Peace,” 5×5 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“A Field of Peace,” 5×5 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“A Thin Fog of Moonlight,” 5×5 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins.
“Fistfuls of Sky,” 5×5 inches, oil and cold wax, on cradled panel, by Dayna Collins


NOTE: The beautiful graphic painting at the beginning of this post, was created by Salem artist, Sloy Nichols.

In the Zone

It has been a long time since I painted with oil and cold wax. I’ve kept up with my daily acrylic painting in my visual journal and I have been steadfast in working on my Salvage Collages, but my oil paints and cold wax medium sat quietly on the shelves, waiting for my return. Deadlines are great motivators.

Guardino Gallery is hosting their 19th annual Little Things show and work is due this month. Earlier, I completed seven small abstract paintings, but I had hoped to have at least 12 for the show. Everything in the Little Things show needs to be 7×7 inches or smaller, so my pieces are all 5×5 inches, a fun size to paint and a size that keeps the price affordable.

Sunday turned out to be a quiet day and I had the house to myself, so I headed to my painting studio, quickly painted in my daily visual journal, then pulled out my gallon of cold wax and began choosing oil paint colors I wanted to work with. I lined up nine 5×5 boards; six of them had the beginnings of paintings and three I had deemed completed. All nine got a makeover. It felt great to work primarily in a limited palette of warm colors: pinks, magentas, reds, oranges . . . . with dabs, lines, and swaths of other colors to add contrast and variety.

“The Strange Dance of Movement Over Time,” oil and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins
“A Cloud of Tenderness,” oil and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins
“Secret Yearnings,” oil and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins
“The Memory of That Night,” oil and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins
“A Field of Feverish Energy,” oil and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins
“A Hot and Windless Summer Day,” oil and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins
“Words Have No Sound,” oil and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins
“Too Many Surprises,” oil and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins
“Hushed By the Wind,” oil and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins

These were three of the initial seven that made the cut:

“Whispered Words,” oil and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins
“State of Disorientation,” oil and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins
“The Pink Light of Dawn,” oil and cold wax by Dayna J. Collins


Little Things 19 opens Friday, November 29, 6-9 pm, at Guardino Gallery in Portland on NE 30th and Alberta.



13th Annual Day of the Dead at Guardino Gallery


Day of the Dead, year 13, opens Thursday, September 26, 2019, at Guardino Gallery in NE Portland. Not only is this a fabulous group show featuring over 50 artists, it is the place to be for the celebration, costumes, face painting, music, food, and inventive art. I’ve participated for many years, frequently getting into the spirit by dressing up.

Stephanie and Dayna
Mr. and Mrs. Collins

My art for the show has always been assemblages and found object art. This year, I created four pieces, all nestled into vintage wood boxes. Three of my pieces are tall and narrow boxes, each with a single chair, a word, and a minimum of objects. In creating these simple pieces, I was thinking about those I have lost and the desire to sit with them for one last conversation.

lost      listen      linger

The other piece I created for this show is a variation on a design I created in 2017 for a community read project and then for the 2017 Day of the Dead show; this time around, rather than hanging found objects of remembrance on a branch or a piece of wood, I nestled the items in a box, attaching each piece of string with a vintage and aged thumb tack.

I love this show and I hope you’ll be able to attend the opening reception on Thursday, September 26, 6-9 pm, or visit the show, which will be up until October 27.

Salvage Collage: A Sort of Magic – Opening Reception

The opening reception for my show (with ceramic artist Michelle Gallagher) at Guardino Gallery, was on Thursday, July 25. It was a warm evening and lots of people were out enjoying art and the festivities of Last Thursday on Alberta.

The official photos:

Michelle Gallagher, Donna Guardino, and me

The unofficial photos:

Alea and me
Howard chats with Stacey and Fred
Greg Carrigan catching up with friends
Howard and Donna watch the festivities of Last Thursday on Alberta
With my daughter Amy
Stan and Bobbie
Grandson Major ponders the art
Howard and Steph

Thank you to everyone who came out for the opening and for those who have been visiting since the show opened.

Salvage Collage: A Sort of Magic

My show is hung. After working on a variety of pieces over the past year and a half, I can take a deep breath and revel in the accomplishment of creating a body of work and getting to share it at Guardino Gallery. All of the pieces I have been working on for this show have been created out of old books. My Artist Statement pretty much says it all:

Dayna Collins has always loved old books. She hyperventilates at the sight of books which are stained, defaced, torn or marked up. She rips battered books apart, reclaiming their faded fragments, and creates collages using only materials she has excavated.  Dayna’s mixed media pieces reflect the passage of time, repurposing the scraps that are worn and weathered, transforming the aged and tattered pieces into something unexpected and beautiful, celebrating their fragile decay.

Here’s the tiniest glimpse of what has been going on over the past 18 months:

Then it became time to begin putting the pieces together into some sort of format for presentation. I ended up using six different formats.

Salvage Collages on vintage blocks.
Book boards floating in a custom black frame.
“A Lulling Possibility of Happiness,” salvage collage on book board.
“A Shattered Sense of Normality,” matted and framed in white.
“Secrets Spill Out,” salvage collage on vintage piece of wood.
“Hope Carson,” salvage collage on watercolor paper, mounted on cradled panel.

Then there was the Herculean task of titling, mounting, photographing, inventorying, and packing. There were a few hiccups with the floating and the mounting, but after a few tears, I nutted up and found a solution.

Prepping for the “floating” of the book board collages.
My photography studio.

It was fun to work in so many styles, using the same materials to create entirely different looks. Unfortunately, it was a challenge for Donna and Gail to hang such disparate styles of work. But they did a magnificent job and created combinations I never would have imagined.

One of my favorite things about having a show at Guardino (this is my fourth one!), is designing the window. As soon as I got notice that I would have a show in July, I started plotting and planning for the window.

It turned out just as I had hoped.

Photo courtesy of ceramic artist Michelle Gallagher.

The show opens on Thursday, July 25, from 6-9 pm. I’m sharing the Feature Gallery with my friend and fellow artist, Michelle Gallagher, who has created a delightful series of ceramic corvids. Their dark beauty compliment my pieces perfectly and we were excited to share this show. Michelle took some great photos, so here is a peek at our show. . . . hopefully this will entice you out tomorrow night for a summer evening of merriment and refreshments (and to experience Last Thursday on Alberta).

Photo courtesy of ceramic artist Michelle Gallagher.
Photo courtesy of ceramic artist Michelle Gallagher.
Photo courtesy of ceramic Michelle Gallagher.

PS Last weekend our local YMCA had their final book sale in their old building. Of course, I was there first thing on Friday morning, restocking my art supplies . . . .

Stash of raw materials.


Salvage Collage: Creating Book Board Collages

There is no doubt about it, creating my Salvage Collage mixed media pieces are time-consuming and messy work. First is the collecting of vintage books (worthy of a separate post), then the dismantling of the books (another separate post). When all of the collecting and ripping apart has been done, it is time to slog through the piles, looking for just the right scraps to create something new. All of the pieces I use in my collages are from discarded books that have been ripped apart and disassembled – from the linen covers, to the gluey spines, to the book boards themselves.



Eventually it is time to stop sorting and auditioning and actually glue the pieces into place.

Meanwhile, I’m off to the YMCA annual book sale because today is the final day and all books are $5 a box!

UPDATE: I got SIX boxes of books. I can’t wait to begin ripping them apart!

Salvage Collage: Obsessed With Circles and Grids

I am excited to announce that I will be having a Salvage Collage mixed media art exhibit at Guardino Gallery in August of 2019. I have already started working on a series of collages for the show, but somewhere along the way I became obsessed with grids. And circles. And circle grids. I have purchased circle punches ranging from teeny tiny to jumbo sized. All of my Salvage Collage pieces for this show are created from deconstructed, decaying, vintage, falling apart books. Here’s a peek at a recent piece I worked on in my studio last week. This one is being created using book scraps and the completed collage will be mounted onto a book cover. (You can see some circles have crept into this piece……)

My fascination with grids goes back a number of years, so when I started cutting out little blocks of color from discarded and deconstructed books, it wasn’t surprising that I started to create grids.


After cutting out a variety of squares, I started experimenting with adding shapes for more visual interest. Both of these pieces are still in the auditioning stage, but once I start gluing, I will fine tune the final composition.

It was a short leap from squares to circles and that is when my obsession kicked into high gear.

And so it goes. Ripping, tearing, punching, repeat. Periodic updates on my project can be found on my Instagram page: DaynaLovesArt.