Raven’s Cloak

Raven’s Cloak

 This painting was completed during the lightning fires, whose threat we remain under as I write.

In Native cultures Lightning is associated with potency and a means to fight off chaos and evil powers. It is a way to release saving waters.

The ancient Mayans said that maize was discovered when lightning opened a rock to reveal the original corn seed.

In Chinese culture the word for lightning is shen. Which is the expansive force of the universe that brings rain and life support.

Shamanic wisdom states that lightning represents contact with the unconscious, clairvoyance.

It is a warning and clarification; cloud to ground enlightenment.


The world is a great mirror. It reflects back
To you what you are. If you are loving, if you
Are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will
Prove loving and friendly and helpful to you

Raven’s Cloak

The world is what you are.

–Thomas Dreier

 The following are comments from friends that viewed this painting:

  • Shattered, fractured
  • Indecision/possibility
  • The moment prior to Transformation
  • Leaving the past behind and moving to a sea of possibility
  • Excitement and fear
  • Regret
  • Everything going back to the void
  • Longing
  • Raven, cloak, watching, power storm, sadness, observing, transformation, wisdom and sorrow

The Northwest Coast Indians call the Raven the” Real Chief”, “One whose voice is to be Obeyed”

The raven uses its sharp beak to coax us out of our shells, steal the light, then teach us how to sow, thus rearranging our moral landscape, putting into question what is sacred and profane.

From the point of inspiration that started this, it was the melting of the glaciers, Arctic and Antarctic. The unending warming of the planet, a historic unprecedented fire season simultaneous with flooding that is embracing the United States.

These are the times we live in and very much on my mind and on the collective minds of humans today.

My process is to let the image unfold, this was not drawn ahead of time, it is the collective unconscious speaking.


Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward;
You can only connect them looking backwards. So, you
Have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in
Your future. You have to trust in something-your
Gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach
Has never let me down, and it has made all the
Difference in my life.
–Steve Jobs

Original Painting by Diana Dunlap 2020
Acrylic on canvas 30″x40″

Climate Woke

painting by Diana Dunlap 2020

Climate Woke

My dear Humans, I have come to you from a distant and ancient past, before your kind existed on the Earth. I am also from your future that you are currently influencing.

Please be still and listen to my words as you hold your words. Quiet is good, settling.

There is blood on our hands, blood of all living creatures, past and present and moving forward.

Feathers send prayers that you will embrace what we all share with this planet, and none of us has been given the command to destroy it. Listen with your Hearts, the climate crisis is at your back door, no longer knocking but coming through.


Let me speak of Tears, they are a sign of inconsolable sorrow. Ethologists say,” Tears are favored by natural selection for our survival.”

They act to lubricate and rid us of toxins.

Emotionally they elicit the response of empathy, help and comfort. Physicians of old considered them precious jewels.

Our tears will soften our hard places, cleanse and heal.


I am reminded of lyrics from a John Mayer song,

“will it wash away with the water?

Or is it always in the blood?”


As you look at this painting be cognizant of where it touches you.

There are many parts that are speaking, acknowledge and know I am with you to assist in the changes that are coming through. We are in this together!



This is the beginning of a new day. You have

Been given this day to use as you will. You

Can waste it or use it for good. What you do

Today is important because you are exchanging

A day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes,

This day will be gone forever; in its place

Is something that you have left behind…

Let it be something good.


Unknown author


Original painting by Diana Dunlap 2020



Blessings sometimes show up in unrecognizable disguises.

-Janette Oke

After completing this painting and allowing the symbology to speak to me; It spoke loud and clear about this moment in time that we are living in.

We are in a GLOBAL Pandemic, a shared experience of being sequestered in our homes. We also have the shared experience of seeing each other via the internet, which ads a surreal element.

The blessings are many, we now recognize that we are all complicit in the climate/environmental crisis. We have time to share ideas about solving problems that previously we were too busy to consider, and we have come to value our family and friends in the light of not being able to be near or touch them.

Huge masses of lives lost and the need to protect ourselves from other humans with masks, gloves and social distancing.

What are the animals telling us? Do we need to listen more to them?

I also want to point out the extraordinary value of Whales. When they die and sink to the bottom of the ocean, they carry 33 tons of CO2 with them. We need to continue to solve the plastic waste problem and honor what part they play in keeping the planet clean.


One way or another, we all have to find what

Best fosters the flowering of our humanity in

This contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves

To that.  -Joseph Campbell


The Cleansing

The Cleansing

This painting was one during the week leading up to Easter/Passover. However, the inspiration came from the order that we globally live under, to wash our hands, many times each day. A Pandemic has embraced the globe.

The significance of this, to me, is that if we would really like to have our prayers heard, now that we are under shelter-in-place, a cleansing is needed.

There is a veil of tears and water flowing over moving hands. Light pierces through the darkness and change begins.

We are still in this phase as I write this, it will end when the cleansing is completed. And remember, it’s not just our hands that need to be cleansed, which is a prerequisite to prayer, but our hearts, thoughts and words.



When it’s over, it’s over, and we don’t know

Any of us, what happens then.

So, I try not to miss anything.

I think, in my whole life, I have never missed

The full moon

Or the slipper of its coming back.

Or, a kiss.

Well, yes, especially a kiss.

–Mary Oliver

The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice

At the time I was painting this the fires were raging in Australia. Not only was habitat burning but endangered species as well. The koala bears caught to attention of wildlife lovers around the globe.

A video of a woman getting out of her car, taking off her shirt and then wrapping a burning Koala in it, dousing with water, and then driving the koala to the animal hospital, went viral.

An estimated billion animals were lost to this fire, not to mention reptiles, insects and those too numerous to name.

At the same time record high temperatures of 70 degrees were being reported in Antarctica, in February 2020!

So, Climate change is upon us and the sacrifice is visibly apparent.


Challenges come so we can grow and be

 prepared for things we are not equipped to

 handle now. When we face our challenges

With faith, prepared to learn, willing to

Make changes, and if necessary, to let go,

We are demanding our power be turned on.

–Iyanla Vanzant

original painting by Diana Dunlap 2020

Climate Crisis

Climate Crisis

As this state of the Earth’s climate crisis come towards us, we are experiencing it on a very deep psychological level. This painting illustrates the stark contrast of the power of fire and water. We as humans are complicit in our pollution of the oceans and in turn desertification of the land causing devastating fires. The losses of wildlife on land and sea are too many to count, and the pain of that is with us every day.

I am an optimist at heart! I know our collective will is making progress as we invent ways to correct the course we are on and there will be a bright new beginning. That of course won’t happen overnight with the wave of a wand.

Collectively we as humans can and will face this with our intelligence, creativity and will to live in Beauty for seven generations forward!


When you walk to the edge of all the light

You have and take that first step into the

Darkness of the unknown, you must believe

That one of two things will happen; There

Will be something for you to stand

Upon, or, you will be taught to fly.

–Patrick Overton

Painting by Diana Dunlap 2019

Planet on Fire

Inspiration for this painting has been the process of assimilating the information on the changing climate. 
Central to this is the long view from outer Space offering a simultaneous view
of the planet Earth and glacial 

All living things are in some way fertilized ripened or destroyed by some form of Fire. Whether a flame from

A candle, lightning or a forest burning, fire is integral to our lives.

So, what we are now experiencing is the climate has heated to a critical level that is melting the polar regions

And in turn threatening the life of everything on the planet as we know it.

The danger is thinking of this as an abstract issue rather than
a material problem that can inspire us to change.

I have spent many hours and days looking at this painting, and it speaks volumes to me about the core of this

Challenge that we have been given as humans.
I believe that Science, imagination and creativity can come forward

If we want to engage at this critical time.

original painting by Diana Dunlap 2019

Whale Totem



When I heard about the die off of the grey whales an incredible sadness swept over me. The Marin Mammal Center found through their research that the massive die off was due to starvation. I’ve included 2 links related to this story explaining the science behind the conclusion. The culprit, once again is the climate change; arctic melt, warming ocean, and the affect of a blanket of plastics covering the oceans around the globe.

In response to the enormity of the sadness I was experiencing, I decided to do a painting with this theme, the result was a conversation with the environment that I didn’t plan nor expect.


Original painting by Diana Dunlap 2019




Proud Elk



In June of 2019 visiting the Point Reyes coast I came upon a herd of Elk. They were off the road undisturbed by my presence; I was struck by how proud and noble they were, feeling honored to be near them.


Elk are the majestic nobleman of the forest; in Native American wisdom when you see the Elk it is time for sacred journey, the inner journey where you leave the old ways behind and find your greater purpose in your life.


Maybe It’s Time by Jason Isbell for Bradley Cooper


Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die
Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die
It takes a lot to change your plans
And a train to change your mind

Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die
Oh, maybe it’s time to let the old ways die


Photograph by Diana Dunlap 2019



Elephant Seals Now Own Drakes Beach








A surprising gift from the Government shutdown


After the 35-day shutdown northern California experienced lots of rain, high tides and beaches in the national parks closed off to humans.


Those conditions were perfect for an entire family of elephant seals to take over Drakes beach, located in the Point Reyes National Seashore. This has never happened before, 60 nursing females and their 35 babies now own the beach! They won’t leave until the kids are grown enough to swim, so that could be months. Or maybe they will stay. We can visit the park on weekends to look at this wonder, photograph and then leave.


These animals weigh in at 9,000 lbs. They broke the fencing and now there is yellow tape and lots of rangers making sure that no one gets too close. In nature the rule is you definitely don’t get between mothers and their babies. Even though they are massive, they move quickly and gracefully if they need to defend their family.


These photographs were taken on 2/9/19, a week after the shutdown ended.

I included 2 photos from Christmas Day 2015 to compare, when you could walk right up to a lazy female sunning, and she would barely crack an eye.



All photographs by Diana Dunlap 2019

Have you ever seen a Foam Beach?

On Martin Luther King day we had a break from the rain, so I decided to venture out to the coast. These photographs are of the surprize that awaited me, a beach covered with foam! It reminded me if the diamond Ice beach in Iceland, but instead if icebergs floating they were giant pieces of foam. This is McClures beach along the coast of northern Marin County. Crystal clear skies after all of the rain, Magical.


All photographas by Diana Dunlap 2019

Quiet Time


Winter is a quiet time. The leaves now lay over the earth like a blanket covering seeds that were shed. It’s a time to contemplate what to rebuild, renew and rejuvenate.

Mankind has been building civilizations on top of older ones for thousands of years. The Earth continues to support all of our efforts, some withstand better than others. Humans are a creative bunch and we don’t give up easily.

In this image the humble thistle plant stands before an ancient Incan wall, fragile yet strong enough to return over an over again every year. One is man made and the other a product of the earth. We’re in this together.



Search for the seed of good in every adversity.

Master that principle and you will own a precious

Shield that will guard you well through all the

Darkest valleys you must traverse. Stars may be

Seen from the bottom of the well, when they

Cannot be discerned from the mountaintop. So will

You learn things in adversity that you would never

Have discovered without trouble. There is always a

seed of good. Find it and prosper.

-Og Mandino

When Trees Speak

When Trees speak

A coastal Redwood tree can live up to 2000 years. The average life span is between 500 and 800 years. Knowing this, my respect for longevity is renewed. I look at this tree and imagine what it has seen and heard over the centuries of its life, so far.

The symbol of trees crosses all continents and cultures. Native American culture refers to trees as the Standing People. A tree connects the physical realm to the realm of spirit. The redwood is the grandmother tree spirit.

Does this redwood tree speak to you?



Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day; Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you have wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.

Denis Waitley

Birth of Light from the Dark

Birth of Light from the Dark


This is what the Winter Solstice celebration is about:

It is a time of family and friendship, a time to celebrate children. Whether you have children or not, remember we start as children: easy to laugh and smile and play. Try to remember that there is still that child within you that you can always consult with.

Take some time to be among Nature as a way to refresh as the closing of another year is near.

Breathe in as the days grow longer and the light begins to over shadow the darkness.

Celebrate Life! It is a rare gift that comes in many forms.


Every child comes with the message that God

Is not yet discouraged of man.

-Rabindranath Tagore-

Dream Sketching

Dream Sketching


            I am often asked where I get my inspiration for my art. There are many inspiring things in life, so here I will address the unexpected source for inspiration: DREAMS.

            Recently I had a dream where I saw myself painting a circle with a brush that had swirling wings coming off of it. The circle had a blue outline. I heard the words “All we know of Heaven” and then woke up.

            What I did the following morning was unusual, I decided to Google the word Heaven. This took me to the Wikipedia site that displayed Gustave Dore’s print of Dante and Beatrice gazing at the high heavens. The uncanny thing about this was the resemblance to the dream image I had.

            As I continue to reflect on this dream a painted the dream image, then I took a photo of it and imported it to Photoshop. I overlaid a photo of blue sky onto it, as the sky is a reminder of heaven to me.

            Jung describes the collective unconscious as:” a psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. It doesn’t develop individually, but it is inherited.”

            In my interpretation here I would say also that the collective unconscious hasn’t the boundaries of time. Thus Dore and I could access the same archetype from different centuries.

            Heaven is where the souls of all of our ancestors live.






Painting by Diana Dunlap 2016

Seeing the Light

Seeing Light in the Dark


There is not enough darkness in the entire world to put out the light of even one small candle.

Robert Alden


This morning I was thinking about the state of our world, and yes these are some very dark times indeed; and having said that I know we will survive this. We still have the Earth beneath our feet, the Sun and moon above and Love in our hearts.



If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high. Look it squarely in the eye, and say, “I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.” Then, repeat to yourself the most comforting words of all,” This too will pass.”

Ann Landers

Photo by Diana Dunlap 2018

Times are Changing

We the People have the power of the VOTE, please use it!


Many of us came of age during the 60’s, and now we are seeing the pattern of history repeating itself. If you were too young to remember this, look around; it was very similar to what you are seeing now: Just fewer people






The Times They Are A-Changin’

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

Songwriters: Bob Dylan

Feeling Down? Look Up!

Feeling Down? Look up!


We live in an exciting, outrageous and very noisy time. Pessimism sometimes takes over, but in the end optimism gives us hope. #May hope be with you.

Try this when you need a boost, look up! The sky is filled with wonder everyday.

So start looking up, note what you see and how it makes you feel.

Feel free to comment on that, let me know how it changes you.


“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to be either on water or in thin air, but to walk on the earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, curious eyes of a child-our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2018


Baby Blue


Baby Blue


This morning I woke up with this Dylan song in my head. It seems related to our latest evacuation experience. In the middle of the night, just before midnight Monday, we were ordered by the fire department to evacuate due to a fire threat.

Needless to say this is an unnerving experience to go through.

So we gather the dogs, cats and 1 parrot along with ourselves in our cars and head out to a hotel. The wildfire started in Samuel P. Taylor Park, 5 minutes form home. YIKES!

Residents were allowed back in the next day to the sound of helicopters over head carrying water with retardant, as the fire department continued to fight the fire.

These tireless firemen are our current heroes as they fight multiple fires in the state of California.

The best part of this day was a sprinkler attached to the roof; bring the sound and feel of rain. Very soothin


You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last
But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast
Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out the saints are comin’ through
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue

The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense
Take what you have gathered from coincidence
The empty-handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets
This sky, too, is folding under you
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue

All your seasick sailors, they are rowing home
All your reindeer armies, are all going home
The lover who just walked out your door
Has taken all his blankets from the floor
The carpet, too, is moving under you
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue

Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you
Forget the dead you’ve left, they will not follow you
The vagabond who’s rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore
Strike another match, go start anew
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue


It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue



Volcano Speak

Paintings inspired by the USGS videos of the Kilauea volcanic eruptions on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Starting on May 3, 2018 the lava has been continuously flowing and to date has added 700 acres of land to the Island.

It is a powerful and beautiful thing to watch, as we are viewing the act of the earth creating land. It has been reported that this will be flowing for the next 60 years; this is heaven for the volcanologists that are studying this activity.

While painting these I was struck by not only the power but also the pure energy of this activity.

There has been a lot of property lost to the lava flow but no lives.


Original paintings by Diana Dunlap

Here comes the Sun

Summer has arrived, please take any opportunity to bask in it’s glory. Honor it’s presence. Smile, laugh out loud. This is a source of life and happiness that everyone, every animal and all creatures great and small can enjoy.



Does the sun ask itself,” Am I good? Am I worthwhile?

Is there enough of me?” No, it burns and shines.

Does the sun ask itself, “What does the moon think of me?”

“How does mars feel about me?” No, it burns, it shines.

Does the sun ask itself, “am I as big as suns in other galaxies?”

No, it burns, it shines.


Andrea Dworkin

Painting by Diana Dunlap

Witnessing Creation


Witness to Creation


For the followers of the Kilauea eruption in Hawaii, I am sharing what it looks

Like from a boat next to the flow. It is hot! (Over 2000 degrees F) and it smells of Sulfur. However you feel like you are witnessing Creation. This is how the Hawaiian Islands were created. The vent that is erupting is called the Puu Oo Vent and it has been erupting continuously since 1983.

All photos taken by Diana Dunlap 2013 in Hawaii

Volcano vision

While traveling in the Galapagos Islands in 2001 I decided to scuba dive. As you know this archipelago is a volcanic formation, so while diving you are surrounded by lava rock as well as hammerhead sharks, turtles, not to mention an enormous array of fish. It is a very primitive ancient environment. It has a sense of being at the beginning of creation, untouched by humans.


After rising out of the ocean I had what I will refer to as a vision, for lack of a better word. The image in this post is a pastel drawing of that experience.

I’m posting it here because it looks so much like all of the aerial drone and helicopter shots of the lava flow that we are now seeing from the eruptions from the Kilauea volcano.


This was a strong visual experience without the aid of a camera; imagination at it’s best.


Drawing by Diana Dunlap, 2001

The act of Creation by Pele

Pele: Who is Hawaii’s volcanic fire goddess?

Hannah Wiley, USA Today Published 10:40 a.m. ET May 10, 2018


Sometimes referred to as Madame Pele, or Tutu – grandmother – Pele is hailed as the powerful force behind Kilauea’s decades-long eruptions. 

The volcano has been in a constant, on-off state of eruption since 1983, although this eruption is a more severe case.  

“She is very dynamic, sometimes very angry. Quick to anger and quick to forgive. But she’s a force to be reckoned with,” explained Kame’eleihiwa.


“We must treat the landscape and others on the landscape as if our lives depend on one another-people, forest, trees, fresh water,” she said. “The Pele reminds us that as short as our human life is we must be good stewards.”

She also said people in her community “come to pray, make offerings, watch in silence, or just come to be in the presence of creation because Pele is a visually dramatic phenomenon.”

As a hula performer, Kealiʻikanakaʻoleohaililani honors the memory of the property and lives lost through the years of Pele’s volcanic rage by sharing family stories, and through hula’s traditional songs, chants and dances. 

‘This is Pele’s place’

Sometimes, Kame’eleihiwa said, Pele needs to cleanse the land. It’s the akua’s way of reminding the people how the island must be treated, and that she feels the desecration of the land. 

“This is Pele’s place,” Kame’eleihiwa said. “And we as descendants of akua and descendants of the land need to live in harmony with the elements and the land. Humans are not the most important things on the earth, the elements are.” 

At the end of the day, Pele will take what is rightfully hers. 

“As long as Pele is erupting, we say she is dancing,” said Kame’eleihiwa, who referenced the sudden uptick in earthquakes as Pele in labor. “She is giving birth to land.”

Photograph by Diana Dunlap taken in hawaii from a boat next to the eruption 2013


Just Saying…

In these difficult times, it is essential, yes essential that we spend time laughing. We all know that this is the best medicine and that it is contagious. So laugh by youerself, laugh together, laugh at yourself, try it. PLEASE, it will make you feel better and fast! Be silly because you can. The best of us are totally bonkers, so laugh! Being human is a brief experience and we are blessed with the ability to laugh about it, no matter what happens. If you can’t think of something to laugh about look at animals. There are so many wonderful and laughable videos online of animal behavior that will get you howling. So LAUGH!!

  Life is not a path of coincidence. happenstance and luck, but rather an unexplainable, meticulously charted course for one to 

touch the lives of others and make a difference in the world.

Barbara Dillingham


photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2018


Blue Ice


This photograph from the Ice beach sometimes referred to as the Diamond beach in Iceland, was featured in a group show at O’Hanlon Center for the Arts in Mill Valley, California. The show will remain until April 19th.The title of the group show is BLUE. Happy to have this selected. It is printed on metal which gives it a 3D effect.

Blue Ice, photograph by Diana Dunlap 2017

In Another Time, In Another Place

Wonder and Whimsy keep us light and easy.

This Photo collage is an imaginary story; you can make up the story from looking at it and asking questions. Starting with where did the elephant get that headdress? Elephants are good swimmers, and this Raven has decided to bring his band of butterflies to lighten up the journey across the river. The bands name is Joy.

There is the lavender light between them, what does that indicate?



Stuff your eyes with wonder…

Live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds

See the world.

It’s more fantastic than any dream made

Or paid for in factories.


Ray Bradbury

Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2018

Of Horses and Rainbows

In the end it is Beauty that will save us. So we must keep something of Beauty in our hearts. We can refer to that Beauty when life becomes difficult or in thanks when it is joyous.

Horses are symbolic of freedom and strength, and Rainbows are symbols of Beauty.

Upon seeing a rainbow, no matter if it is just a part of one or a full-blown double rainbow, it stops us in our tracks and we have no choice but to admire it. The rainbow is illusive, disappearing as quickly as it appeared. So keep that in your heart.

When I see a horse I want to give it a hug for being so magnificent and beautiful.


Horse sense is something a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.

W.C. Fields

Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2018