Oil paintings of the iconic California Tower.

The California Tower in Balboa Park is probably the most iconic sight in all of San Diego. I’ve photographed it many, many times.

Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the 198 feet tall bell tower, a combination of various architectural styles, rises from the similarly ornate California Building, which is presently home to the Museum of Man. The California Tower invites those who love beauty to come visit one of the most amazing public parks in the entire world.

I’ve taken so many photos of the California Tower over the years, from different angles and during different occasions, that I thought I might have a little fun. Using the GIMP graphic software’s Oilify filter, I’ve transformed some of my images into digital oil paintings!

Here they are!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Street art around the city provides inspiration!

Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to conquer it.
Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to conquer it.

We now live in a very difficult time. The coronavirus pandemic has shut many of us indoors, darkened our days, made the future uncertain.

So I’ve decided to post these photos of inspirational street art. Reminders that hope persists. That there is love, and beauty, and a future that is always full of promise.

These examples of inspirational street art were all photographed during past walks around the city.

The only thing stronger than fear is hope.
The only thing stronger than fear is hope.
Live free like a butterfly.
Live free like a butterfly.
Let's be friends.
Let’s be friends.
Happiness is the art of making a bouquet of those flowers within reach.
Happiness is the art of making a bouquet of those flowers within reach.
I love you more than you'll ever know.
I love you more than you’ll ever know.
Be true.
Be true.
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.
A smile among beauty.
A smile among beauty.
One love.
One love.
Faith. Hope. Peace. Love.
Faith. Hope. Peace. Love.
Be humble you are made of earth. Be noble you are made of stars.
Be humble you are made of earth. Be noble you are made of stars.
Happiness and sunshine.
Happiness and sunshine.
I am possible.
I am possible.
Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.
Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
True love is a returning... Love awakes the child in you...
True love is a returning… Love awakes the child in you…
Hand in hand.
Hand in hand.
Love.
Love.
Smiling faces.
Smiling faces.
Keep going!
Keep going!
Keep going.
Keep going.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Photos to remember beautiful Balboa Park.

Balboa Park is now temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. When it might reopen is anybody’s guess.

I didn’t go to Balboa Park this weekend, the way I usually do. I already miss it.

I miss the sunshine and smiles, the gardens and amazing architecture, the fountains and beautiful art, the dancing and music. Over the years, my Sunday visits to Balboa Park have become an important part of my life.

As the warming spring weather greens the grass and trees and opens bright new flowers everywhere, wouldn’t you love to walk through one of the world’s most beautiful parks?

Come along on a random walk back through time, and enjoy some of many colorful photographs that I’ve taken over the years.

The following photos are all new to Cool San Diego Sights. They were originally posted to one of my other blogging websites, which is titled Beautiful Balboa Park.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love Balboa Park? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

Even in dark times, light persists.

The photographs in my previous blog post show how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting life in San Diego. But they do not reflect all that I saw during my walk today.

I also saw beauty, optimism, creativity, hope.

Even in times that are dark, light persists.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Magic inside the San Diego Law Library!

Plaque outside the San Diego County Law Library, dedicated October 7, 1958. The building was renovated in 2011 with technological updates and multi-use spaces.
Plaque outside the San Diego County Law Library, dedicated October 7, 1958. The building was renovated in 2011 with technological updates and multi-use spaces.

Today I enjoyed guided tours of three notable downtown buildings. That’s because this is the weekend of the annual Open House event organized by the San Diego Architectural Foundation!

I’ve walked past the San Diego Law Library at Front Street and C Street numerous times over the years. The front of the building with its polished black granite and glass windows is attractive, but the effect is overshadowed by nearby buildings and a bit lost in the urban clutter. I always assumed the facility was for lawyers and people in the legal profession, so it never occurred to me to venture inside. When I stepped through the front door, I had no idea what to expect.

What I found was an inviting, spacious, light-filled law research library that is open free to the public!

During the tour I saw many functional spaces, including a reading room, a computer center, the jam-packed stacks, and a high tech meeting room–all designed to give the public access to vital legal information. For those who can’t make it downtown, educational programming and legal assistance are often beamed from a meeting room into far-flung San Diego County libraries.

Most of the spaces I saw are enlivened by displays of artwork. As you’ll see, at the end of the tour I was led through a surprising, magical door!

According to the Open House San Diego website: “When it was built in 1958, the county’s public law library was a state-of-the-art resource for people needing legal assistance. Over 50 years later, the building was completely renovated to bring back its original clean sight lines and mid-century modern design aesthetic. The building boasts an iconic floating staircase, black Escondido granite facings, floor-to-ceiling west-facing windows, white Carrara marble floors, a buried peek-a-boo time capsule, and one-of-a-kind spaces including a permanent hand-painted labyrinth and a Hogwarts-inspired lounge.”

Here are a few random photos that provide an idea of what you’ll find when you visit the San Diego Law Library. I was told anybody can use the library commons seating area, even if it’s simply to converse with friends or relax and read something you brought. They do ask that the limited computers are used exclusively for law related research.

A look at the comfy commons area, where anyone can lounge (and perhaps play chess) near the library's large front windows.
A look at the comfy commons area, where anyone can lounge (and perhaps play chess) near the library’s large front windows.
One display includes artwork concerning the Law Library's Topic of the Year: Tribal Law.
One display includes artwork concerning the Law Library’s Topic of the Year: Tribal Law.
The San Diego Law Library offers many sources of information, including their new Federal Indian Law and Tribal Law research guide.
The San Diego Law Library offers many sources of information, including their new Federal Indian Law and Tribal Law research guide.
Colorful art near the ceiling as I walk up some beautiful stairs.
Colorful art near the ceiling as I walk up some beautiful stairs.
Looking down at the commons lounge area and the adjacent computer center.
Looking down at the commons lounge area and the adjacent computer center.
Even this upstairs hallway is like an art gallery.
Even this upstairs hallway is like an art gallery.
Modern meeting rooms offer wi-fi and other technological capabilities.
Modern meeting rooms offer Wi-Fi and other technological capabilities.
What's that I see on the Break Room door? Flying books? Does this lead to Platform 9 3/4?
What’s that I see on the break room door? Are those flying books? Does this doorway lead to Platform 9 3/4?
The amazing break room offers those who work hard at the Law Library a welcoming retreat. It looks a lot like a student common room in the Harry Potter series!
The amazing break room offers those who work at the San Diego Law Library a welcoming retreat. It looks like a student common room in the Harry Potter series!
The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry can be seen from a window inside the San Diego Law Library!
The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry can be seen from a window inside the break room of the San Diego Law Library!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Let’s celebrate Read Across America Week!

Soar to new heights. Read.
An outdoor mural near the Linda Vista library. Soar to new heights. Read.

Read Across America Week kicked off on Monday!

Read Across America Day, which begins a week-long celebration of reading, was created by the National Education Association. It’s held on the school day that is nearest to March 2nd. That’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday! And, as many of you know, Theodor Seuss Geisel was a famous resident of La Jolla in San Diego!

I thought I’d celebrate Read Across America Week with some past photographs concerning the written word. And photos that celebrate Dr. Seuss, too!

Those who love to read meet those who love to write at the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!
Those who love to read meet those who love to write at the San Diego Union-Tribune 3rd Annual Festival of Books!
First 5 San Diego was promoting parents reading to their children at a very young age.
First 5 San Diego was promoting parents reading to their children at a very young age.
Eat. Sleep. Read.
Eat. Sleep. Read. A shirt for sale at the Festival of Books at Liberty Station.
Cat in armchair reads Of Mice and Men. On the shelves are Cat's Cradle, The Cat in the Hat, Puss in Boots, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof...
Street art in Normal Heights. Cat in armchair reads Of Mice and Men. Book on the nearby shelves include Cat’s Cradle, The Cat in the Hat, Puss in Boots, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof…
Those who will participate in the historic Book Pass, wearing yellow scarves, fan out along seven blocks of West Washington Street in Mission Hills.
Library books are transported by public volunteers from an old branch library to a brand new building down the street. Those who will participate in the historic Book Pass, wearing yellow scarves, fan out along seven blocks of West Washington Street in Mission Hills.
Library books are transported by the hands of those who love to read to their new home.
Library books are transported by the hands of those who love to read to their new home.
Chris Vannoy, US National Beat Poet Laureate 2018-2019, reads live poetry in the Zoro Garden during the Garden Theatre Festival in Balboa Park.
Chris Vannoy, US National Beat Poet Laureate 2018-2019, reads live poetry in the Zoro Garden during the Garden Theatre Festival in Balboa Park.
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. Mason Cooley
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. Mason Cooley
Mark Twain is reading his own classic American novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Sculpture of Mark Twain on a bench. The humorist is reading his own classic American novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Mr. Samuel Clemens, American author of many famous books and stories, relaxes under a tree in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during 2015 TwainFest.
Mr. Samuel Clemens, American author of many famous books and stories, relaxes under a tree in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park during 2015 TwainFest.
Moby Dick reading marathon on the poop deck of the 1863 tall ship Star of India.
Moby Dick reading marathon on the poop deck of the 1863 tall ship Star of India.
Yo que me figuraba el paraiso bajo la especie de una biblioteca. From Poem of the Gifts, by Jorge Luis Borges . . . I who had always thought of Paradise in form and image as a library . . .
Words engraved outside the San Diego Central Library. Yo que me figuraba el paraiso bajo la especie de una biblioteca. From Poem of the Gifts, by Jorge Luis Borges. I who had always thought of Paradise in form and image as a library.
Visitor to art gallery at the downtown San Diego Library looks at a rare Shakespeare First Folio, open to Hamlet. The nearby wall features a mural of 17th century London and the original Globe Theatre.
Visitor to art gallery at the downtown San Diego Library looks at a rare Shakespeare First Folio, open to Hamlet. The nearby wall features a mural of 17th century London and the original Globe Theatre.
A simple, homemade lending library box next to somebody's front yard in Crown Point, a neighborhood on Mission Bay. Leave a book or take one!
A simple, homemade lending library box next to somebody’s front yard in Crown Point, a neighborhood on Mission Bay. Leave a book or take one!
It’s Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham! This fun art was photographed outside the Legends Gallery in La Jolla, hometown of popular children’s book author Theodor Geisel.
It’s Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham! This fun art was photographed outside the Legends Gallery in La Jolla, hometown of popular children’s book author Theodor Geisel.
Dr. Seuss and The Cat in the Hat are cast in bronze at UC San Diego in La Jolla, not far from the place where the famous children’s author resided much of his life.
Dr. Seuss and The Cat in the Hat are cast in bronze at UC San Diego in La Jolla, not far from the place where the famous children’s author resided much of his life.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love to read? I love to write!

If you’d like to check out my short works of fiction (and a few poems), click Short Stories by Richard.

The art of Chicano/a/x printmaking, activism.

A collection of bold contemporary art can now be viewed at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. The exhibition is titled: Chicano/a/x Printmaking: Making Prints and Making History – 50 Years of Art Activism.

The many colorful pieces on display include woodblock prints, serigraphs and lithographs. Most of the artwork was created to provide a voice for Mexican-American communities and promote social change. The images urge Chicano/a/x activism, and include themes such as political struggle, racism, poverty and immigration.

According to the SDSU Downtown Gallery website: “Featuring important historical and contemporary examples of printed works on paper, the exhibition highlights printmaking as one of the oldest, most enduring, and widely used processes for Chicano/a/x artists working from the 1940s to today . . . Artists and groups in the exhibition include Yreina Cervantes, Rupert Garcia, Diane Gamboa, Ester Hernandez, Malaquías Montoya, Victor Ochoa, Self Help Graphics & Art, and Salvador Roberto Torres, among others.”

As I journeyed along each gallery wall, I was struck by the emotional potency of the artwork. There are images that depict cultural pride and strength, and images that powerfully convey human suffering.

In addition to thought-provoking political messages, visitors to the gallery can observe the evolution of printmaking and see how ideas are effectively conveyed and magnified using simple posters. The eye-catching designs and the creativity of these prints should intrigue everyone who loves art.

The exhibition will continue at the SDSU Downtown Gallery through April 5, 2020.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!