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PAC will present ‘On the River: New Paintings by Dana Collins’

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PRINCETON — The Prairie Arts Council will present the “On the River: New Paintings by Dana Collins” gallery art show at the Prairie Arts Center beginning with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday.

“On the River,” a series of new oil paintings by plein air artist Dana Collins, depicts a year of the changing seasons on a particular land and water-scape. Wine, champagne, punch and appetizers will be served.

Gallery hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays. Dana Collins will offer an “Evening With the Artist” discussion at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Prairie Arts Center gallery. The exhibit will continue through Nov. 4. The Prairie Arts Center gallery is located at 24 Park Ave. East in Princeton.

Collins has exhibited her paintings, drawings and sculpture in over four dozen solo and juried group exhibitions in New York, Florida and throughout New England and the Midwest. Her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was from Washington University, and she received her Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from Pratt Institute in New York. She also studied as an undergraduate at Yale University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and did additional post-graduate work at Arrowmont School, Columbia College, and the University of Illinois. Her numerous awards include the Sisselman Award from the Berkshire Museum in Massachusetts and the Sculptor’s Guild Competition in New York.

The 46 works in the current exhibition are from the past one and a half years. Speaking of this series, Dana Collins says: “Plein air simply means open air, which is what I am doing in these paintings. I work from direct observation of the sites, never from photographs. I would love to work from photographs and avoid the bugs, the boat bouncing, the wind, etc.  But the color in photos is never right, and a photo only gives you one moment … I am interested in time as well as in light.

“I mostly work from a small rowboat in the backwaters of the upper Mississippi River, though for the current works showing ice and snow, I set up my easel in front of the big windows facing the water at my Wisconsin home.

“I always find something new and interesting  on the water. It is more than a matter of form – the composition, reflections, movement, all that.  What draws me is something more still and - for want of better words – spiritual, profound.”

Collins retired from college teaching in 2004. She is currently a studio art consultant for the College Board in Princeton, N.J. and conducts workshops in studio teaching in California and throughout the Midwest. 

Her work was exhibited earlier this year at Outside the Lines Art Gallery in Dubuque, Iowa. Her illustrated lectures on this series, “Working on the Water,” were presented as part of the “From Both Sides” exhibition in Princeton, and “En Plein Air” at the Hegler Carus Foundation in 2010. She enjoys gardening and is a published poet and a violist with the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra. She is included in the current Marquis “Who’s Who Among American Women,”  “Who’s Who in America”and “Who’s Who in the World.” More of her work can be seen at danacollinsart.com.

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