A fanciful bit of public art on Shelter Island.

Pacific Portal on Shelter Island by James T. Hubbell.
Pacific Portal on Shelter Island by James T. Hubbell.

Should you ever drive to Shelter Island, you’ll probably see a large, very unusual gazebo between the central traffic circle and San Diego Bay. It’s just one part of the large collection of public art lining the narrow island.

The Pacific Portal is a sculptural gazebo made of sprayed, reinforced concrete. It was erected eight years ago, replacing an old, more traditional Rotary Club pavilion. Nearby you’ll also find a small trellis structure and an interesting sculpture made of wrought iron.

The artist, James T. Hubbell, also designed the Pearl of the Pacific, the colorful public artwork featured in Pacific Rim Park at the southern end of Shelter Island.

While Pacific Portal is officially said to be a community gathering place, it’s located off the beaten track where few people walk, and offers few places to sit and relax. It seems to be more ostentatious than functional. Which strikes me as rather unfortunate.

Fanciful gazebo by the water is made of concrete.
Fanciful gazebo by the water is made of concrete.
Mosaic adds color to the curved interior of Pacific Portal.
Mosaic adds color to the curved interior of Pacific Portal.

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Joy and creativity thrive in Spanish Village.

Main entrance to Balboa Park's Spanish Village.
Main entrance to Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.

One of the most popular attractions in San Diego’s Balboa Park is Spanish Village. Here are a few pics of the colorful courtyard and the quaint studios of local artists that surround it…

Studio 29 in Balboa Park's Spanish Village.
Studio 29 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.
Peering at artwork in a studio window.
Peering at artwork in a studio window.
Lots of art can be bought from local San Diego artists.
Lots of art can be bought from local San Diego artists.
Live demonstrations by artists can be enjoyed by the public.
Live demonstrations by artists can be enjoyed by the public.
Artist at work outside one studio in Balboa Park's Spanish Village.
Artist at work outside one studio in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.
Sculpture of dancers in central courtyard.
Sculpture of dancers in central courtyard.
Dogs from one artist's point of view.
Dogs from one artist’s point of view.
Couple explores folksy studios of Spanish Village.
Couple explores folksy studios of Spanish Village.
Art Glass Guild's room of shining color.
Art Glass Guild’s room of shining color.
People converge to see glassblowing in progress.
People converge to see glassblowing in progress.
Workshop inside San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building.
Workshop inside San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building.

The San Diego Mineral and Gem Society has a building in Spanish Village which showcases amazing rock and mineral collections. The lapidary workshop can only be glimpsed when one inside door is open.

Joyful works of art can be found everywhere.
Joyful works of art can be found everywhere.
Funny face greets those exiting toward San Diego Zoo.
Funny face greets those exiting toward San Diego Zoo.

Great artwork on Harbor Island marina gates.

Whales depicted on a Harbor Island marina gate.
Whales depicted on a Harbor Island marina gate.

On Harbor Island, just east of the Hilton, several gates leading down to the marina have metalwork that is really beautiful. Check out these images…

Underwater scene on a marina entrance gate.
Lively underwater scene on a marina entrance gate.
Dolphins decorate a marina gate on Harbor Island.
Dolphins decorate a marina gate on Harbor Island.
Beautiful approach to one gate on Harbor Island marina.
Beautiful approach to one gate at Harbor Island marina.

Stylish street art in a dark, unexpected place.

Elegant street art found on Highway 163 underpass wall.
Elegant street art found on Highway 163 underpass wall.

I was surprised to discover this polished bit of street art in a place where few venture in Mission Valley:  in the darkness under Highway 163, along Camino de la Reina, among graffiti and windblown litter.  Joggers and the homeless pass through here, but not very often.  Who was the artist?  Why did they paint a stylish image in this location?  It’s a mystery!

UPDATE!!!

This morning, February 5th, exactly one day after the first photo was taken, I walked to work again and the street art and graffiti were painted over! I don’t know if this is pure coincidence, or the result of my blog yesterday…

The street art has been painted over!
The street art has been painted over!

Art, music and fun on San Diego’s waterfront!

Street performer on a bench plays guitar and sings.
Street performer on a bench plays guitar and sings.

Enjoyed my walk today. Took a bunch of pics. Street artists and performers use their talents to add zest to the colorful San Diego waterfront.

Silver robotic mime and a frozen high five.
Silver robotic mime and a frozen high five.
Resting on the grass, waiting to sketch a tourist portrait.
Resting on the grass, waiting to sketch a tourist portrait.
Playing a bluesy guitar near Seaport Village.
Playing a bluesy guitar near Seaport Village.
Passersby talk with a funny caricature artist.
Passersby talk with a funny caricature artist.
Man with horn plays Mariachi tunes near the USS Midway.
Man with horn plays Mariachi tunes near the USS Midway.
Little girl on wall awaits a cool twisted balloon creation.
Little girl on wall awaits a cool twisted balloon creation.
Hand painted names make memorable souvenirs.
Hand painted names make memorable souvenirs.
Caricature artist at work on a sunny San Diego day.
Caricature artist at work on a sunny San Diego day.
Birds perch on guitar-playing white statue-man.
Birds perch on guitar-playing white statue-man.
Captain America patrols San Diego's Embarcadero.
Captain America patrols San Diego’s Embarcadero.
Sax player entertains people on San Diego waterfront.
Sax player entertains people on San Diego waterfront.
Artist sells space art and handmade crafts on the Embarcadero.
Artist sells space art and handmade crafts on sidewalk.
A beautiful day by the water put to music.
A beautiful day by the water put to music.

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The dynamic, spiritual chalk art of Steve Mac.

Steve Mac, chalk portrait artist at Seaport Village.
Steve Mac, chalk portrait artist at Seaport Village.

Artists abound along the Embarcadero near Seaport Village. They’ll paint a quick portrait for a modest donation. Today during my walk, I stopped for a bit to chat with Steve Mac.

Steve uses his talent to capture the essence of his subjects. He has a philosophical outlook on life, shunning the material and the ego for the beautiful essence found everywhere around, and within us. About a year and a half ago he had a profound spiritual experience not far from where we spoke, and he woke up from a state of worry and confusion to a spirit-filled life in the now.

Here are a few of his works he had out on display:

Chalk art contains symbols of yin and yang, and the four elements.
Chalk art and symbols of yin and yang, and the four elements.
Serene face between wolves of creativity and destruction.
Serene face between wolves of creativity and destruction.
Sample of colorful double portrait rendered in chalk.
Sample of colorful double portrait rendered in chalk.
Amazing abstract chalk art captures life's essence.
Amazing abstract chalk art captures life’s essence.

I promised to link to his Facebook page.

My favorite sailor my grandpa.

My favorite sailor my grandpa.
My favorite sailor my grandpa.

Hundreds of colorful tiles encircle a large playground at Liberty Station.  Each tile was carefully painted by a child.  This one contains a special message.