Donnalee Dunne


Portrait of Earth
Quintessence 2:
Communication & Connections
Spirit Soft Geometry InnerCity A Touch of Whimsy Requiem
Ode to Joy A Matter of Perspective Genesis Homage Good Earth    



Portrait of Earth



In these last few moments of the measure of time called Millenium, I considered the magnitude of transition.

My work centers on the forms, the structures, the essence of Earth itself, and the culture upon its surface. It is about perception of environment and place, and how opinion alters with understanding perceptions of others.

I address the impact of one upon another, and the place where One becomes the Other.

I address the surfacing of substructure as it breaks away and erodes the very elements it is intended to support, while culture itself breaks into smaller and smaller components.


And through this Earth endures.


I am a painter. I create illusions, moods and atmospheres. I use the current technology in much the same manner that other technologies before it have been used by the artist. The artist has always worked within the capabilities of the medium and adapted to the way the medium works. If paint had only been applied to buildings as weatherproofing, if bronze had only been used for weapons and implements, if glass only for utilitarian objects, if books had only text-this is the same as the computer only being used for bookkeeping and memos.


Quintessence is the portrait of Earth at this point in time
focused as the observer sees.

I, the Observer, see.


California Contemporary Art Collective
A Public Art Project of CCAC

A Touch of Whimsy

June, July 2009


Most of my work is derived from nature, from things seen and from things unseen. I often refer to my paintings as Alternative Landscapes. When considering my contribution to the Warnors Window Project I decided to paint two distinctively different scenes for the Fulton and Tuolumne street views. I chose to do a thick forest of green bamboo on muslin for the six Fulton windows in which a ball of red ribbon has wound itself through. I loved this playful quality and designed a similar ball for the Tuolumne street.

I have been influenced through the years by 20th Century surrealist Rene Magritte and his way of imposing non-realistic attributes to materials, transposing rocks for clouds, etc. I used black fabric for the Tuolumne street bank of eight windows, wanting to add a bit of chiaroscuro into the mix. This time I painted meandering ribbons of yellow with bright lichen-covered boulders suspended from them. I added a bright blue horizon line which could represent cloud, or lake, or nebulae. I think of  rocks as being a bit mysterious and whimsical because there is no inherent size from observing one lone rock – it could be a pebble or a boulder or a hunk of material in outer space. I kept this quality in the Tuolumne windows by giving no absolute size reference and letting the viewer have a chance to play with it.

May 10, 2003







Art Exhibition
Donnalee Dunne

How PROGRESS is perceived is the focus of this solo exhibition at Fresno City Hall, first floor, 2600 Fresno Street. The exhibition opens June 2, 2003 and runs through June 30. The opening reception is Friday, June 20, 5 – 8 p.m. It will also be open ART HOP, June 5th, 5 – 8 p.m., and regular City Hall business hours.

Donnalee Dunne premieres Chinese silk digital prints from her Water Sculpture of the San Joaquin series as well as prints from her recent exhibition in Paris, France.

Also in the exhibit are paintings addressing the impact of One upon the Other as the quest for growth and development affect people today as it has since antiquity. There are always those who come after – the people who feel they are improving upon what was, before them, perceived as a good way of life.

Progress, five-panel acrylic painting depicts land development from an original scene of Little Big Horn into today’s congested freeways. Paintings and prints from Quintessence series incorporate Grecian columns imposed into pre-Columbian petroglyph-filled canyons. A mixed media triptych of raisin boxes honors the farmers whose land is covered by urban sprawl.

Tillers of the soil spoke of improvements they made to the land that was held in respect in its natural state by the natives of that land. But the farms were productive, and life was good.

Villages grew into small towns that always took adjoining fertile, productive farm land. But the towns were pleasant to dwell in.

Homes that were nurtured and prized in the towns were demolished to make room for high-rise buildings and freeways. But the architecture was of excellent workmanship, of the best materials; travel was quick and life exciting.

What then is to take from the modern city? Deterioration is a law of nature as sure and spring rain and rising sun.


Donnalee Dunne will be exhibiting this fall in Biennale Internazionale dell’Arte Contemporanea in Florence, Italy.


Inner City

This series began as an exploration of geometry. . .

. . . for several years I have painted the Earth, the natural. . . whether closeup or distant views.

As a departure from the brilliant hues I typically use, I painted with a limited palette of Payne's Gray and Yellow Ochre. I assumed it would all be geometric, but the city emerged. These paintings are rich in textures and depth, and nuances of muted colors

for Bill Minschew

For nineteen years Bill and I made art, played on the computer, conquered software, loved, laughed, and enjoyed all the little things. I treasure the days working with him – on his sculptures, the computer imagery and the Hill Project. But mostly I treasure our thousands of hours talking about art and ideas, dreams, resolving problems, of memories and stories and plans, about what is wrong in the world and what is right in the universe, of recipes, and what the cat did.



While still considering painting a Requiem mass, a rather somber series of fond memories, I realized I would have to immediately follow it by an Ode To Joy.

Ode To Joy is a celebration: of laughter, of exhilaration, of beauty, of dreams and vision and imagination – all those things that make us human, and the essence within us that enables us to create.

In the mind’s eye the artist visualizes what the universe is, experiences a nebula or a quark, sees colors beyond the spectrum and puts substance to the wind.


I am a painter, employing traditional materials of canvas, oils, and fiber, but do not always work in traditional methods. I was introduced to the computer as an art medium in 1989, and have devoted much of my creative energies to this ever-changing process. I paint the forms and structures that are the essence of Earth,  centering on boundaries  I focus on the impact One has upon the Other – specifically that place where One becomes the Other.

My digital background influenced addressing the concept of Edges. The stark landscape, which appears over and over in both my paintings and virtual renderings, and the sculpture upon its surface are but illusion, yet appear as reality.   

The seven Homages pay tribute to the convergence, and eventual blending, of Self and the most important aspects of Life: God, Inner Self, Soul Mate, Family, Friends, Multi-dimensional Universe, and Art.