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

What? Where? How?

On a journey down the shore of Limantour spit in the Pooint Reyes National Seashore we spotted an unusual site. Once on January 30,2018 then again on February 5, 2018. The what of this is that it’s a very large engine. Where or when it arrived isn’t documented. How did it get here, I assume it washed up from a wreck years ago. Moving with the rise and fall of the tides. It does beg ones imagination to wonder.

Photography by Diana Dunlap 2018





A new year has arrived! Time to change things that we’ve wanted to change. We make resolutions, cast prayers to the wind, and reflect on what happened in the previous year. Fire works explode all over the globe heralding the change from one year to the next.


Open hearts, yes, open hearts all around.

Step out of your comfort zones and explore being crazy, absolutely bonkers in fact.

No time like NOW!

Roll with it, the ride is part of the fun, not just the goal achieved.

Increase the amount of time that you give to LAUGHTER.




You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often

to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have been carefully kept.

Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and

Your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things

Don’t matter at all, because when you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.


words from the Velveteen Rabbit


Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2018, from McClures beach, California

Rainbow Blessing

A Gaelic Blessing


May the nourishment of the earth be yours,

May the clarity of light be yours,

May the fluency of the ocean be yours,

May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow wind work these words

Of love around you,

an invisible cloak to mind your life



Inspiration for this photo collage from photos around Iceleand at Sunrise.


Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2017

Fire from Ice


Standing on the Hverfjall crater that was formed 2500 years ago

I am reminded that there was and is currently fire under this island

called Iceland

The crater has a memory of it etched in its form softened by time

We are still living in an Ice age, albeit without mammoths running about

We still have Ice caps on both poles and elephants are the distant cousins of the Mammoths

What stands out as I look out over the crater is that time is a relative situation, depending on how and who is measuring it

The planet Earth is full of myriad wonders and beauty that we have the privilege of enjoying and witnessing the changes that are occurring



Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.


Melody Beattie

Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2017

The Golden Guardian

At such a towering cliff overlooking a vast landscape

I am acutely aware of how insignificant I am

All of my worries fade

As I walk it seems that the land is moving instead of me

Then looking through to another side of life

I am aware of the guardian for this mountain

Then I feel ease and protection



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 solid for you to stand upon,

Or, you will be taught how to fly.


Patrick Overton


 Photo Collage by Diana Dunlap 2017

All that Glitters

After the journey through the Misty Arch we land deep within a golden cave

Inside of this gleaming cave is a misty watery presence

With a rainbow reflecting off of it

I will call this the oracle

So one is allowed to ask the oracle a question

An hopefully receive an answer to that question

I only had to stand there and this was the answer to the unspoken question

“My first word of advice is this, say yes. In fact say yes as often as you can. Yes is a beginning, it’s how things grow. Yes leads to new experiences, and thus knowledge and wisdom. Yes is for young people, and an attitude of yes is how you will be able to go forward in these uncertain times.” –Michael Hogan

 Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2017

Misty Arch


As if drawn up from the depths of the Arctic Ocean

Giant glacial ice crystals rush through the misty Arch

What waits?

When did this arch arise and from where?

Why is it here?


 Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2017

Diamonds on the souls of her shoes

As the Solheimajkull glacier breaks off into sparkling tourquoise and white ice scultures, they create a bay of ice water. This water carries the sculpted ice to the black sand beach known as the diamond beach. The beach is covered with these diamonds, not for sale or for the taking. They are melting, they are for your eyes only to be captured in that moment  not to be repeated. This is truely the most amazingly enchanting site I have ever seen. The word beautiful hardly covers it. As I was editing these images that Paul Simon song played in my head.

People say she’s crazy
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Well that’s one way to lose these
Walking blues
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

All of the photos in this blog were taken in Iceland at the Jokulsarlon Diamond (Ice) Beach, by Diana Dunlap 2017