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




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

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

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


A Wing and a Prayer

On a wing and a prayer

‘Finally we could see the plane through the smoke, coming in on a wing and a prayer.’

I’ve always thought I got by in life on a wing and a prayer, a saying from WWII



I was born to parents that were at war, arriving after the war in 1946. Emotionally they were at war, even though it was over for the world there was the psychological fallout that remained.

Think English atheistic mother and devout Irish/Scottish protestant father. I came in after a 24hour labor that ended in surgically removing me from my Mother, not a happy beginning. Thus coming in on a wing and a prayer. Talk about setting the tone!

First important friend

Awaiting me was the best gift that my father ever gave me, my collie dog ‘Skippy”. She basically was my best friend and guardian as long as she lived, 17 years. She walked me to school everyday and picked me up at the end of the day. Yes, those were different times, kids walking to school with a dog instead of mom driving an SUV. She was a perfect companion, all unconditional love. She had my back.

Art my Savior

From the time I was 5, teachers and parents knew I had artistic talent. This allowed me to escape into the world of imagination and creativity, which has sustained me throughout my life.

First life changing experience

At the age 22 my boyfriend from Millbrook, NY and I hitchhiked through Mexico. No Visa, a few dollars and the first time to be out of the country. We decided to fast on water and lemon for 30 days hoping for some kind of enlightenment, and then we went to Oaxaca at a beach called Puerto Angel. While swimming in the ocean I lost awareness of swimming and instead was in the presence of chanting like I’ve not ever heard, coming from pulsing lights on a brilliant blue dome. There was the tunnel of golden light drawing me in. Then suddenly a voice said you can’t die now, too young and a lot of work to do. BAM! I’m flat face down on the sand surrounded by people who thought I was dead.

This isn’t an experience one can forget; it has a very strong imprint in the mind. Today these experiences are called NDE’s.

I have spent my life swimming, scuba diving, and kayaking in the ocean ever since.