Art Notes by Dana Levine: High Anxiety or Serenity?


I recently did the cover of a book of poetry for a friend.  
Words Bursting in Air, by Janice Alper, is filled with wonderful poems.*  
The cover image titled, Woman in a Net, made me realize that for the 
past several months I have been experiencing feelings of anxiety.

Woman in a Net
Woman in a Net

* For more information and to purchase her book,
contact Janice Alper, by email:

Since March, I, like many others, have been at home almost
all the time.  In the last month or two, I have been looking 
through my past photographs to select and work on those 
that I think might become works of art.  Almost all of them 
have something in common with Woman in a Net; that is, 
they feature images of someone confined or trapped.  

Man in a V
Man in a V

Red Heads
Red Heads

A further search through my images showed more works 
that I created within the last few years containing figures 
entangled in their surroundings.  A psychologist might tell 
me that creating art provides a way for me to express my 


Figure in the Mist VI
Figure in the Mist VI

Once I came to this realization, I did an about face 
and looked for images that instill the opposite effect.  
In my collection of photographs of sky, water, and reflections 
I found calmness and serenity.  For the last few weeks, 
I am now creating new photographic images that convey 
a sense of beauty and peace. 


Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls


Whether you are dealing with high anxiety or seeking serenity, 
you can discover both in visual art. 

Please visit my website to see more of my images


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Early Morning Workout at Del Mar: A Photo Essay


Early Morning Workout at Del Mar Thoroughbred Horses
Behind the Scenes at 7 am

Behind the Scenes Del Mar Racetrack 7 am Thoroughbred Horses
Taking a Shower, Thoroughbred Style

Del Mar Racetrack Thoroughbred Horses Stable Yard
The Stable Area, Abuzz with Activity

Del Mar Racetrack Stable Yard Grooming ThoroughbredHorses
Bond of Trust and Affection between Handler and Horse

Del mar Racetrack Stable Yard Thoroughbred Horses
Moving onto the Track for the Morning Workout

Del Mar Racetrack Early Morning Workout Thoroughbred Horses
A Trainer's Life: 12 Hour Days, 7 Days a Week during Racing Season

Del Mar Racetrack Early Morning Workout Thoroughbred Horses
Slim Legs Support 1000 lbs of Muscle, Sinew and Bone

Del Mar Racetrack Morning Workout Thoroughbred Horses
Eager to get on the Track

Del Mar Racetrack Morning Workout Thoroughbred Horses
Born to Run

Del Mar Racetrack Morning Workout Thoroughbred Horses
Speeding Past my Camera in a Blur of Motion

Del Mar Racetrack Morning Workout Thoroughbred Horses
They're Flying Down the Track

Del Mar Racetrack Morning Workout Thoroughbred Horses
Higher Power, Winner of the 2019 Pacific Classic, is Aware of the Admiration

Higher Power, Pacific Classic 2019, Thoroughbred Racehorse
Early Morning Workout at Del Mar Racetrack


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Art Notes from Dana Levine June 2018


Consider the Human Form:  Everything Old is New Again

An artistic genius who "breaks the mold" presents the world with a revolutionary 
visual concept. Each one shows us a new facet of nature or the human condition in 
paint, stone or other medium.

Easter Island and Middle Period Egypt images

But are their revolutionary ideas entirely new?  

Consider three artistic endeavors:

·        Sculpting the human form on a solid surface

·        Interpreting the theme of Mother and Child

·        Creating three-dimensional space on a 

         two-dimensional surface.

Greek Hellenic sculptures

Centuries after the creation of the 

Easter Island monoliths and the stoic 

Egyptian deities, Greek artists during the 

Hellenic period sculpted lifelike 

human figures.

Sculptures by Verrochio and Rodin
What the Greeks had accomplished, 

and the Romans copied, was all but 

forgotten until the beginning of the 

Renaissance, when artists dissected 

cadavers and learned how to chisel out 

realistic human forms in stone or bronze, 

as we see in Verrochio's David. 

Rodin's towering, emotion laden, 

suffering Burghers of Calais in 

the 19th Century was the culmination.  

Sculptures by Lipshitz and Giacometti
With their abstract representations of man 

less than forty years later, artists like Jacques 

Lipshitz and Giacometti reference us 

back to the silent figures of 

the ancient world.

Precolumbian art and Medieval Art

Artists' interpretations of 

Mother and Child evolved 

from small, squat, Precolumbian 

stone figures to medieval, 

two-dimensional paintings

of the Madonna and Child 

shimmering in gold leaf.  Serenity

and silence are what the artist 

chooses to show us.

Michaelangelo sculpture and Marry Cassatt pastel

During the Renaissance, 

Michaelangelo lets us marvel at his

Pieta.  Over the course of the next 

four centuries, realism prevailed

and brought us to impressionism 

and Mary Cassatt's charming pastels. Here, again,

we are witness to the artist's insights into the

subject of Mother and Child.

Henry Moore, Mother and Child

And by the 20th Century, 

artists rejected lifelike images 

and instead, we now confront 

the abstract human form, as in 

Henry Moore's massive sculptures.

Cave painting Lascaux

How does an artist make a 

three dimensional painting 

on a two dimensional surface?  

In the cave paintings of Lascaux, 

primitive man relied on curved 

lines of varied thickness and 

intensity to bring the animals to life.   

Chinese and Japanese paintings

Japanese and Chinese artists 

used line to impart sensuality 

and a suggestion of form and 

movement to their inked 

and painted figures. And though 

the figures are flat and lack

solidity, we glimpse their character and

get a look into everyday life.

Giotto and van Eyck paintings

In contrast to Asian art, 

in the religious paintings 

of Giotto in the 14th century 

and van Eyck's painting of the 

Arnolfini marriage, the figures 

occupy space but are frozen in 

time and place, silent and pale.

Ruben and Vermeer Painting

Later, during the Baroque 

period,  we see Rubens 

lush and exuberant lovers

overflow his canvas with the pleasures 

of the flesh.  And we see Vermeer's 

young woman standing in a

light-filled room and imagine we

might walk in to join her.

Ingres painting
By the 19th century,  Ingres is 

once again celebrating line in his 

portraits of beautiful young women.  

Matisse, the post-impressionist,

turned to color and curved 

embellishments in many of his 

paintings. He outlined this woman 

in black and she becomes part of 

the wall decoration.

African mask and Picasso painting

At the turn of the century, Picasso, 

inspired by African tribal masks,

shocks the art world when he

presents flattened images of nude 

prostitutes in a brothel.

Gauguin and Lichtenstein painting
When Gauguin went to Tahiti, he painted
large, simplified forms, reflecting an island 

life far removed from European culture.
And, by mid-20th century, the pop artist
Roy Lichtenstein compares people in
American society to comic book
characters. Both artists' women
almost fill their canvases, recalling

Giotto's saintly figures who are 

right up against the picture plane.


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Art Notes from Dana Levine March 2017


I have been thinking a lot about portraits lately because I will be giving a talk on the subject at UC San Diego in June.  A good portrait is a revelation; it gives us insight into the heart and personality of a person.  But.... my premise for the lecture will be that it also reveals much about the artist. 

Velazquez went to Rome in the mid 1600's seeking a commission to paint Pope Innocent X.  He waited months for an interview.  During this time, he painted a portrait of Juan de Pereja, his slave and assistant.  The portrait conveys an overwhelming sense of human dignity. Pareja is treated with the same respect and solemnity as a royal portrait.

Velazquez Juan de Pareja
Picasso was famous for injecting his personal feelings into his work.  We are seeing someone through his eyes and, at the same time, we are seeing Picasso by the way he presents his subject.  For example, for his famous portrait of Gertrude Stein, he was criticized for not depicting her as she was.  He responded that he painted her as she would become. And indeed she did grow into her portrait! At the beginning of his relationship with Dora Maar, his lover is shown with brilliant colors, "which joyously convey the radiance of her youth".  Later, at the end of their relationship, her anguished feelings leap out at the viewer in his painting, The Weeping Woman.  Similar colors, but entirely different expression by the artist of his subject.

Pablo Picasso Dora Maar
Pablo Picasso Weeping Woman
Toulouse Lautrec
 Toulouse Lautrec painted the can-can dancer, Jane Avril, many times.  Lautrec wasn’t simply interested in her as a figure from the world of dancers and prostitutes; he found in her noticeable eccentricity a correspondence to his own physical defects.  Here, Jane Avril stares out at the world with confidence; her gaze demands our attention  As one contemporary remembered, "She was proud. She didn’t know how to cry, nor beg, nor apologise."

Toulouse Lautrec Jane Avril
Otto Dix
Otto Dix, the 20th Century German painter, was so supremely self-confident that he painted himself in the same pose as Durer's self portrait. Dix didn't just emulate an Old Master, he depicted himself as an Old Master.  When the Nazis came to power, Dix was labeled a degenerate artist and he lost his teaching job. And when Nazi Germany collapsed, he was drafted, promptly captured, and ended the war in a French POW camp. A later self portrait as a broken old man shows him without a trace of arrogance.

Otto Dix Self Portrait 1947
Richard Avedon
The photographer, Richard Avedon, claimed, "My portraits are more about me than the people I photograph."  His beloved younger sister, Louise, died at an early age and, afterwards, his photographs of slim, dark haired women permeated much of his work.  Including, Audrey Hepburn.  She was Avedon's muse in the 1950s and 1960s; the likeness and reference to his sister is readily apparent.

Richard Avedon Louis
Richard Avedon Audrey Hepburn
Arnold Newman
 Arnold Newman chose to photograph Marilyn Monroe just seven months before her death, not as a glamorous Hollywood star, but as a confused, intoxicated woman. "She was a very troubled woman, and I knew it immediately.....She was pouring her heart out with all her troubles to Carl (Sandburg) ....I start taking pictures of her, and then she said she couldn't sleep... She couldn't sleep at night."

Arnold Newman Marilyn Monroe
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon painted wounded and traumatized humanity. His subjects were distorted, isolated souls imprisoned and tormented by existential dilemmas. About his series of paintings called the "screaming popes,"  Bacon says, “I’ve always been very moved by the movement of the mouth and the shape of the mouth and the teeth. People say that these have all sorts of sexual implications . . . I’ve always hoped in a sense to be able to paint the mouth like Monet painted a sunset.”

If you have read this far, then you are probably wondering why and what I choose to portray.  My vision can be found in Street Photography around the World, an exhibition  I am having with the photographer Arthur Lavine.  I love taking candid photographs of people going about their daily business, unaware they are being observed and preserved.  I hope you will be able to see in my work gentle humor and my take on the human condition.  Here is one of a dancer on a rehearsal break.

Dana Levine Trolley Dancer #3
Please come to our exhibition!


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Art Notes by Dana Levine, Nov., 2016


Yellow Orchid
Yellow Orchid

John Valois and I are having an exhibition in Balboa Park in November.  It will feature paintings, digital photographs and digital compositions. 

Because light and color are two exciting and essential ways for visual artists to express themselves, we decided to concentrate on summer and autumn.

For many years I resisted using the color yellow in my art. Recently, I concluded that my dislike for the color was irrational and decided to concentrate on yellow.  In this show, I've brought many images where yellow is the dominant color, such as, Late Summer Meditation, shown below.  Here, I have placed it next to a rich blue.

Late Summer Meditation
Late Summer Meditation

As many of you know, purple is the complement of yellow on the color wheel.  I have used a shade of blue which is two steps removed from purple.  According to Itten, whose book, The Elements of Color, is the sine qua non among colorists, choosing color harmonies where one color is matched to another that resides two steps away from its complement, are most pleasing to the eye.  When you see this painting at the gallery, let me know whether you agree.

Here are the details of the show.  Please visit Balboa Park and stop in to see our work.  If you cannot make it to the reception, the exhibition will be on view for almost  two weeks.

Summer Light, Autumn Color
an exhibition by Dana Levine and John Valois

Gallery 21, Spanish Village, Balboa Park,
1770 Village Place,  San Diego, CA 92101

Nov. 9th through Nov. 21, 2016
11 am - 4 pm daily

Reception:  Sunday, No.v 13th from 1 - 3 pm

Straw Hats and Lantern
Straw Hats and Lantern

I've also included a favorite image taken in St. Augustine, Florida, at one of the earliest settlements in the United States.


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Art Notes from Dana Levine: Alaska


Alaska Mountains II
Art Notes from Dana Levine:  Alaska

I recently returned from Alaska.  And, although I do not normally photograph nature and the weather was mostly drizzly and the small ship cruising the waterways of the Tsongas National Forest gently rocked, nevertheless....... I did manage to capture some incredible natural beauty in this part of the world.  I've put some of my favorite images in a new gallery on my website to share with you.  Tell me what you think.


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Art Notes from Dana Levine - March 2015


Double Exposure: Coming and Going
Art Notes by Dana Levine



I am honored to have one of my photographs, Double Exposure: Coming and Going, selected for the exhibition, San Diego Dreaming, at the Oceanside Museum of Art. 


I often use my photographic work to create a story.  The image is mysterious, with a still,  solemn, classical quality.  Each figure occupies its own column of space, never to communicate with one another.  The artwork began with two photographs taken at the  2013 Trolley Dances at the Monarch School (a charter school for homeless children in downtown San Diego).  They were later manipulated with Photoshop to generate the final image. 


If you are in North County, please visit the exhibition.  The show opens on March 7 and will run until June 21.  See the museum's website,, for directions and the days/hours they are open.  The exhibition reception is Saturday, March 7th from 6 - 8 pm.



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What a beautiful composition! Invites the viewer to compose a variety of scenarios. Congratulations!
-- Angela Rodin, 3/9/15



In case you were wondering what I was up to........

On a recent visit to the Chicago Art Institute, I walked into a room containing only one art piece.  This was Jesus Rafael Soto's Penetrable de Chicago -  a cubic formation of thousands of shimmering nylon filaments hanging from the ceiling.  Soto was an abstract artist, a pioneer in the Op and kinetic art movements.  He created optical illusions and physical environments that asked viewers to perceive his work not only with their mind but with their entire body. Penetrable de Chicago was created in the 1960's; a luminous environmental sculpture that shifts and encloses you as you walk into and through curtains of dry, translucent rain. 

I took several photographs of school children and their encounter with this artwork and put them in my Gallery, Enigma.  In the context of my work, Enigma means a puzzling situation or a picture containing a hidden meaning.  I have included in this gallery other photographs which invite you to scope out a story, your story of what is happening. 

Please take a look and tell me what you think.  If you want to further explore my work, look at some of the other galleries on my website. 


PS  Many readers of this blog live in Southern California.  Soto has a similar work on view outdoors at the Los Angeles County Art Museum.

Child in Penetrable Space
Child in Penetrable Space


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Lumen, Shadows & Chroma


An invitation to my upcoming photography exhibition
Lumen, Shadows & Chroma

In case you were wondering what I have been up to.....

This March I will be exhibiting with two other fine art photographers at Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center.  I will be showcasing my series of photographs based on symmetry using trees and plants as inspiration.  To give you an idea of what my new work is all about, look at the attached image of Autumn Leaves.  This is actually two views of one image that I stitched together so that the top and bottom halves and the left and right halves are mirror images of one another.  Where the images come together, new shapes and patterns emerge.

You are invited to stop in to the art gallery at the Visitor Center from March 1 through March 28, 9 am - 5 pm.  Please come to the artists' reception on March 9 from 1 - 4 pm.  Directions can be found on the website, or telephone.

Address:  1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego
Phone:  619-668-3281

If you have never visited Mission Trails Regional Park, it is well worth a visit.  Bring walking shoes and binoculars.  You might just see rock climbers and soaring hawks.

Autumn Leaves I
                                                                                    Autumn Leaves I


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Invitation to a Photographic Exhibition in San Diego


Girls on a Slide by Arthur Lavine


     Girls on a Slide by Arthur Lavine

                      Children at Play by Dana Levine

You are invited to a wonderful new exhibition, Lavine/Levine: Relative Viewpoints, featuring the photographs of Arthur Lavine and Dana Levine. 
Dates and Times:  Sept. 11-Nov. 27, Sun.-Fri., 9 am - 5 pm

Place: Gotthelf Art Gallery
Center for Jewish Culture
Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center
4126 Executive Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037

Artists' Reception:  Wed. Sept. 11th at 7:30 pm

Bridle Path Central Park by Arthur Lavine


  Bridle Path, Central Park by Arthur Lavine

Vermont Farm by Dana Levine


                       Vermont Farm by Dana Levine

Twenty-four photographs by Arthur Lavine are matched to approximately 24 photographs by Dana Levine.  Arranged  side by side to allow viewers to compare and contrast them, the theme is a look at life from the mid-20th Century up into the 21st. The gentle humor of the scenes, character and dignity in the faces of people, quiet contemplation of daily life, and nostalgia for favorite places remind us that life has not changed all that much through the years.

Woman Stockholder by Arthur Lavine


    Woman Stockholder by Arthur Lavine

The Goth Look by Dana Levine



                                The Goth Look by Dana Levine







Arthur Lavine and I are distant cousins.  Here's the backstory:
I met my cousin Arthur for the first time six years ago.  In May of 2007, I saw a notice of a photographic exhibition, Arthur Lavine: Peripatetic Wanderings and Meditations, at the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts.  Since my maiden name is Lavine, I wondered if Arthur could possibly be related to me.   On a day at the museum when he was signing copies of his book, An Inquiring Eye, I presented myself, Lavine family history in hand.   We soon discovered we are related.

Arthur Lavine has been a working photographer based in New York City for more than five decades while I, a scientist and artist, bought my first digital camera less than ten years ago.  Arthur is a nationally known photographer whose work is represented in museums across the country while I show my work at galleries primarily in San Diego.

We come from different generations and bring divergent life experiences to our work.  He works with a film camera in black and white and I with a digital camera and Photoshop.  But when one looks at the outcome, our photographs are strikingly alike. Their subject matter, compositional elements, emotional impact and visual imagery bridge the gap across the years and present a way of life and the world around us that show a similar point of view.

In the six years I have known Arthur, I have come to realize there is an amazing visual thread, woven through time and space, that somehow connects my cousin to me.   This connection forms the basis of our exhibition, Lavine/Levine: Relative Viewpoints.  

Skyline Fantasy II by Arthur Lavine



           Skyline Fantasy II by Arthur Lavine

South Bay Saltworks by Dana Levine


                        South Bay Saltworks by Dana Levine


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