Dayna J. Collins, 2020 Paint the Town Judge

Artist Statement

I speak in several languages of visual art. When I’m painting in oil and cold wax, I love laying down paint, going back in and scraping part of it away revealing remnants of an earlier layer. I begin my paintings with a thick coating of plaster, which allows me the immediate gratification of an initial layer of texture upon which I can build. I love making marks using oil pastels, charcoal, or by scratching into the surface with a knife or the pointed end of an awl. When I’m working in acrylics, you might discover bits and pieces of a poster, which I’ve ripped off telephone poles and embedded in my art.

As an abstract painter, I paint intuitively, laying down paint in bold swaths of color, then returning to refine the composition, finding the story buried in the paint. When you look at something I have created, I want you to wonder about its previous life, to feel like you are on an archeological dig, getting a glimpse beneath the surface, but never the full story.

I’m also a collector, energized by hunting for materials to use in my art, especially old worn out objects and ephemera. When I see a beat up vintage tin or discover a rusty piece of metal, I hyperventilate a bit. When I discover a stack of battered old books, my heart skips a beat, knowing that once I have ripped them apart, I will have a pile of faded fragments to use in my Salvage Collages. I’m excited about the opportunity to give new life to these cast off, expendable objects. My mixed media pieces reflect the passage of time, and I am thrilled to repurpose the scraps that are worn and weathered, transforming the aged and tattered pieces into something unexpected and beautiful, celebrating their fragile decay.


Dayna works and shows her art in the Pacific Northwest. She is a gallery artist at Guardino Gallery in Portland, RiverSea Gallery in Astoria, and Salem on the Edge in Salem. Her work can be seen in several published books, including Art for Everyone, Oil and Cold Wax, Art Abandonment, The Mixed-Media Artist, and Cold Wax Medium. She works in several disciplines, depending upon her mood or topic. She is an energetic abstract painter, working in plaster, oil paint, and cold wax as well as in acrylic and mixed media. Dayna is an avid collector/junker, energized by hunting for materials to use in her found object assemblage art or in her Salvage Collages.

Dayna has three studios: Her painting studio in the upstairs of her 1925 central Salem home, her assemblage/collage studio in the basement of her home, and a corner studio at Studios at the Mill, located at the Willamette Heritage Center, where Dayna works on special projects. Dayna is a founding member of the Salem Art Group and a member of Art Salon, a small Salem critique group.

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