After graduating from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2003 where I studied drawing and painting, my dream of becoming a professional artist was put on hold in order to start a family as well as to build a sustainable straw bale home and homestead in Vankoughnut, Ontario.  

When I returned to painting in 2009, I found that I had to relearn how to paint with oils. It was a time of great experimentation and practice. In the spring of 2010, I began to publicly show my work in group shows and met with local success. Focusing on portraiture and figurative work, I created a body of work that was shown in a solo exhibition at the Chapel Gallery (Bracebridge) in 2011.  

During the past three years of creating and displaying these works, I have found that there is something exceptional about creating portraits in a small community. Many people who view the works also have a connection to the person in the painting. Though I may never have met the viewer, they have met my subject, and hold a personal connection to them. It may be a friend, an acquaintance, or a family member.  

The more I paint and delve into my art, the more I discover about myself and how I relate to my work. By moving beyond my inhibitions and fear of judgment, I am freeing myself to produce the quality of work and expression in painting I know I am capable of.  

With newfound confidence, I am working on a body of work that has been inspired by the simple beauty in everyday life as I homestead by growing my family’s food, bee keeping, canning, chopping firewood, sugaring, bread baking and more. These family activities are now far removed from our contemporary urban lifestyle and are relegated to stories told by our grandparents and great-grandparents.  

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All artwork on this page is copyrighted by Dayna Barley-Cohrs. 
It may not be copied or reproduced by any means or used without the expressed approval of Dayna Barley-Cohrs. 

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