Life takes form in a new Ion Theatre mural.

Ion Theatre artist Kate Schott paints a cool mural on a wall in Hillcrest.
Ion Theatre artist Kate Schott paints a cool mural on a wall in Hillcrest.

A mural is being painted on a wall next to the entrance of the Ion Theatre in Hillcrest. I first saw the new artwork a few days ago, so I snapped several photos. Today I swung by again after work to see what progress had been made.

By comparing photos, you can get a glimpse of the creative process. Kate Schott, the muralist, is a multi-talented Ion Theatre artist who is bringing this cool vision to life.

I hope to swing by on a later day to see the finished work! I’ll post photos!

A few days later, a human figure in the mural is coming to life. I look forward to seeing the finished work!
A few days later, a human figure in the mural is coming to life. I look forward to seeing the finished work!

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!

Journey through dreams at the San Diego Art Institute.

Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park journeys through a dream.
Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park journeys through a dream.

Stepping into the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park is like entering a world of dreams. Weird, unexpected dreams hover around corners, dangle overhead, emerge mysteriously from the floor and walls.

A journey through this dreamworld opens one’s eyes to the possibilities of human creativity. During my recent visit I felt as though I were floating through some sort of Twilight Zone. The unearthly sounds, the psychedelic whirls of video, the explosions of imagination, the seemingly sublime and inexplicable visions.

If you’re in San Diego and love provocative art, head over to Balboa Park! The San Diego Art Institute is more gallery than museum, with exhibits that change every couple of months.

One can wander through a maze of rampant human creativity.
One can wander through a maze of rampant human creativity  The current exhibit focuses on mixed media.
Upside down, strange and sudden.
Upside down, strange and sudden.
Through alleys of dazzling images.
Through alleys of dazzling images.
Aaron Garretson, Sunday Morning Cocktails. Threat, yarn, cloth, found materials. 2016.
Aaron Garretson, Sunday Morning Cocktails. Threat, yarn, cloth, found materials. 2016.
Weird visions on a wall include spinning blobs of video.
Weird visions on a wall include spinning blobs of video.
Elise Amour, Untitled. Mixed media with vintage photo. 2017.
Elise Amour, Untitled. Mixed media with vintage photo. 2017.
Surrounded by art. Slow feet meander from dream to dream.
Surrounded by art. Slow feet meander from dream to dream.
Eight pieces by Jodi Hays. Gouache, ink and collage on paper. 2015.
Eight pieces by Jodi Hays. Gouache, ink and collage on paper. 2015.

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Do you like to read original, thought-provoking fiction? To read a few stories I’ve written (and something that resembles a poem), click Short Stories by Richard.

San Diego Harbor and Backcountry: Reiffel paintings.

A small part of a large, dynamic painting of San Diego's working waterfront.
A small part of a large, dynamic painting of San Diego’s working waterfront.

Yesterday I enjoyed a visit to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. In addition to checking out various fascinating exhibits, I paused for a moment to gaze upon two large murals on display that were painted in 1936 by Charles Reiffel.

Charles Reiffel was a renowned Post-Impressionist landscape painter who was sometimes referred to as the American Van Gogh. Looking at these truly impressive paintings, one can understand why! The viewer enters his color-splashed, dreamy world and simply wants to linger.

Two more wonderful Reiffel paintings can be seen in Balboa Park inside the Casa de Balboa. I have photos of them here!

Charles Reiffel, San Diego Harbor, 1936. Oil on canvas. WPA mural inside the San Diego History Center that was originally commissioned for San Diego High School.
Charles Reiffel, San Diego Harbor, 1936. Oil on canvas. WPA mural inside the San Diego History Center that was originally commissioned for San Diego High School.
This part of the fantastic oil painting depicts a pier and activity on San Diego Bay.
This part of the fantastic oil painting depicts a pier and activity on San Diego Bay.
Boats and buildings along San Diego's colorful harbor.
Boats and buildings along San Diego’s colorful harbor.
Charles Reiffel, San Diego Backcountry, 1936. Oil on canvas. WPA mural inside the San Diego History Center that was originally commissioned for San Diego High School.
Charles Reiffel, San Diego Backcountry, 1936. Oil on canvas. WPA mural inside the San Diego History Center that was originally commissioned for San Diego High School.
This part of the oil painting shows homes in the hills of San Diego.
This part of the oil painting shows homes in the hills of San Diego.
First introduced by Spanish explorers and missionaries, horse riding has become a popular activity in the country surrounding San Diego.
First introduced by Spanish explorers and missionaries, horse riding has become a popular activity in the country surrounding San Diego.
A farmer plows a field somewhere in beautiful San Diego.
A farmer plows a field somewhere in beautiful San Diego.

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!

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Photos of San Diego Shaka Fest at Mission Bay.

Performers walk off the grassy stage at Crown Point during the San Diego Shaka Fest.
Performers walk off the grassy stage at Crown Point during the San Diego Shaka Fest.

Here are some photos of the San Diego Shaka Fest held at Crown Point on Mission Bay yesterday. What a fun event!

There was a whole lot of Hawaiian culture, art and sport to see, including canoe racing and Hula dance.

It was so sunny and warm by the water, it was easy to imagine that everyone in attendance had been magically transported to the Hawaiian islands!

Caution! Your are entering an Aloha Only zone, ya! Please leave your troubles at da door!
Caution! Your are entering an Aloha Only zone, ya! Please leave your troubles at da door!
Lots of stand up paddleboards and canoes down on the water of Mission Bay.
Lots of stand up paddleboards and canoes down on the water of Mission Bay.
People enjoy a perfect San Diego Saturday.
People enjoy a perfect San Diego Saturday.
Some canoe racing between Crown Point and Fiesta Island.
Some canoe racing between Crown Point and Fiesta Island.
A nice lady told me a bit about Hawaiian dance. One can learn Hula at workshops provided by Halau Ka Lei Kukui Hi'ilani and Hawaiian Hula International.
A nice lady told me a bit about Hawaiian dance. One can learn Hula at workshops provided by Halau Ka Lei Kukui Hi’ilani and Hawaiian Hula International.
Hawaiian culture is sunny, welcoming and full of smiles.
Hawaiian culture is sunny, welcoming and full of smiles.
Tim Richards is creating a tiki using a chisel, mallet and palm wood. I believe he said it takes about 6 hours to produce one this size.
Tim Richards is creating a tiki using a chisel, mallet and palm wood. I believe he said it takes about 6 hours to produce one this size.
Lots of fun Hawaii-themed stuff for sale at Shaka Fest.
Lots of fun Hawaii-themed stuff for sale at Shaka Fest.
And more colorful stuff!
And more colorful stuff!
Youth prepare to take the stage. They hold ipu gourds, a traditional musical percussion instrument in Hawaii.
Youth prepare to take the stage. They hold ipu gourds, a traditional musical percussion instrument in Hawaii.
Hula dancing on Mission Bay.
Hula dancing on Mission Bay.
This couple was watching the entertainment.
This couple was watching the entertainment.
Lots of paddleboards were near the sandy beach.
Lots of paddleboards were near the sandy beach.
A pleasant day was enjoyed by many at the San Diego Shaka Fest.
A pleasant day was enjoyed by many at the San Diego Shaka Fest.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Colorful photos of Chicano Park Day celebration!

Cool graphics on the side of a customized lowrider on display at this year's Chicano Park Day Celebration. Many of the cars were fitted with hydraulic systems.
Cool graphics on the side of a customized lowrider on display at this year’s Chicano Park Day celebration.

I headed down to Barrio Logan this morning to enjoy a bit of the 47th Annual Chicano Park Day celebration!

The big festival celebrating Mexican and Chicano culture drew huge crowds as usual from all around Southern California. There was traditional folklorico dancing, Aztec indigenous dance, and a huge contingent of lowriders and motorcyclists who converged to enjoy the scene and showcase their cool rides. Families enjoyed great food, the park’s playground, and a look at artwork and unique gifts at the many vendor tents. It was fun to just hang around, absorbing San Diego’s warm sunshine and the lively entertainment. The famous murals of Chicano Park infuse the much-loved event with a sense of history and potent meaning. The murals tell of the hard-fought struggle for civil rights.

Chicano Park Day this year was dedicated to Ramón Chunky Sánchez, a very popular musician and a leader of San Diego’s Chicano community who passed away late last year. Speakers also provided emotional tributes to the four who died last year at the annual La Raza Run motorcycle festival in Chicano Park when a car tragically plummeted onto the crowd from a ramp to the Coronado Bay Bridge.

On a happier note, I must mention that in January Chicano Park was designated a National Historic Landmark! Chicano Park contains our nation’s largest collection of outdoor murals.

Please enjoy some colorful photos from this morning!

A family heads toward Chicano Park, where a big annual celebration of Latino history and culture took place today.
A family heads toward Chicano Park, where a big annual celebration of Latino history and culture took place today.
The first thing that caught my attention were lots of awesome vehicles. Southern California lowrider culture is unmatched in the entire world.
The first thing that caught my attention were lots of awesome vehicles. Many were fitted with hydraulics. Southern California lowrider culture is unmatched in the entire world.
Cool cars in a world-famous park.
Cool cars in Barrio Logan’s world-famous park.
Motorcycles and their proud owners also rode in from far and wide for the event.
Motorcycles and their proud owners also rode in from far and wide for the event.
One corner of one mural. As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil porque soy Chicano!
One corner of one mural. As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil porque soy Chicano!
Vendor has lots of fun gifts ready for the growing crowd.
Vendor has lots of fun gifts ready for the growing crowd.
These guys were enjoying the lively scene from one of the public park's picnic tables.
These guys were enjoying the lively scene from one of the public park’s picnic tables.
Some old photos at one booth show Chicano Park being claimed and created by activist community members in 1970.
Some old photos at one booth show Chicano Park being claimed and created by activist community members in 1970.
A variety of images that tell some of the history of Chicano Park.
A variety of images that tell some of the history of San Diego’s unique Chicano Park.
A memorial still remains in Chicano Park, where four were tragically killed last year when a driver veered off the bridge above.
A memorial still remains in Chicano Park, where four were tragically killed last year when a driver veered off the bridge above.
A large crowd had gathered around the pavilion to hear family members remember the deceased and thank the community for its undying love.
A large crowd gathered around the pavilion to hear surviving family members remember the deceased and thank the local community for its undying love.
A large crowd, and the festival had barely opened.
A large crowd, and the festival had barely opened.
And then the entertainment began!
And then the entertainment began!
People enjoy Chicano Park Day Celebration among the many expressive murals.
People enjoy Chicano Park Day among the many expressive murals.  A beautiful image of Virgin Mary has a shrine at its base.
Another photo of the festival today.
Another photo of the festival today.
The folklorico dancing produces smiles, cheers and applause. The park's pavilion, also called the Kiosko, was designed to look like a pre-Colombian Mesoamerican temple
The folklorico dancing produces smiles, cheers and applause. The park’s pavilion, also called the Kiosko, was designed to look like a pre-Colombian Mesoamerican temple.
Traditional Mexican ballet folklorico is a delightful slice of Latino culture and much loved in San Diego.
Traditional Mexican ballet folklorico is a delightful slice of Latino culture and much loved in San Diego.
Some bold artwork on display at the festival. I spotted lots of Aztec and Dia de los Muertos designs.
Some bold artwork on display at the festival. I spotted lots of Aztec and Dia de los Muertos designs.
And more cool stuff.
And more cool stuff!
Photograph at one table shows the late Chicano musician Ramón Chunky Sánchez.
Photograph at one table shows the late Chicano musician Ramón Chunky Sánchez.
Many dancers who would perform at the Chicano Park Day Celebration wore resplendent Aztec costumes.
Many dancers who would perform at the Chicano Park Day celebration wore resplendent Aztec-inspired costumes.
Another fantastic sight in culturally rich San Diego.
Another fantastic sight in culturally rich San Diego.
The High Class Car Club out of Los Angeles had lots of amazing lowrider vehicles on display at nearby Mercado del Barrio.
The High Class Car Club out of Los Angeles had lots of amazing lowrider vehicles on display at nearby Mercado del Barrio.
A cool design on the side of one very cool car!
A cool design on the side of one very cool car!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Photos inside the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.

The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is a cultural gem in downtown's small Chinatown.
The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is a cultural gem in downtown’s small Chinatown.

I recently enjoyed a visit to the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. It’s located downtown in San Diego’s Asian Pacific Historic District. I was graciously allowed to take some photos of the indoor exhibits and the peaceful outdoor garden.

The museum might be small, but it overflows with an important slice of San Diego history. Its many colorful artifacts representing Chinese culture will fascinate your eyes at every turn! I recommend a visit!

Visitors enter the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum during the San Diego Architectural Foundation's OPEN HOUSE 2017.
Visitors enter the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017.
Many colorful sights await inside the historical and cultural museum.
Many colorful sights await inside the small historical and cultural museum.
Someone looks at old photos of San Diego and Chinese residents who helped to build and grow our city.
Someone looks at old photos of San Diego and Chinese residents who helped to build and grow our city.
The museum building was originally a mission, which was moved to its present location in San Diego’s Asian Pacific Historic District.
The museum building was originally a mission, which was moved to its present location in San Diego’s Asian Pacific Historic District.
Extensive archaeological work has been performed in this area, including the block south of the museum. Many artifacts from old Chinatown have been recovered.
Extensive archaeological work has been performed in this area, including the block south of the museum. Many artifacts from old Chinatown have been recovered.
Old photos show archaeological digs in the neighborhood.
Old photos show archaeological digs in the neighborhood.
Some of many artifacts recovered include glass bottles, ceramic bowls, utensils.
Some of many artifacts recovered include glass bottles, ceramic bowls, utensils.
Objects used in everyday life include a rubber ball, marbles, mahjong tile, Chinese dice and go pieces.
Objects used in everyday life include a rubber ball, marbles, mahjong tile, Chinese dice and go pieces.
Historical photograph of Chinese fishing junks anchored in San Diego Harbor around 1887.
Historical photograph of Chinese fishing junks anchored in San Diego Harbor around 1887.
Portrait of the Ah Quin family, one of the most prominent, influential early San Diego Chinese families.
Portrait of the Ah Quin family, one of the most prominent, influential early San Diego Chinese families.
Chinese laundries in San Diego utilized irons, counter bells, an abacus, and other useful objects.
Chinese laundries in San Diego utilized irons, counter bells, an abacus, and other useful objects.
A bridal carriage from the late 1800s made of rosewood, found in Yun Cheng.
A bridal carriage from the late 1800s made of rosewood, found in Yun Cheng.
The limestone Buddha head of the Northern Qi Dynasty, was originally carved into a cave in Shanxi Province.
The limestone Buddha head of the Northern Qi Dynasty, was originally carved into a cave in Shanxi Province.
A temple guardian, from Ming Dynasty. The carved wooden idol has a dragon headdress, robes, glass eyes and a real hear beard and mustache.
A temple guardian, from Ming Dynasty. The carved wooden idol has a dragon headdress, robes, glass eyes and a real hair beard and mustache.
A palm raincoat, called so yee, worn by fishermen and farmers for centuries in China.
A palm raincoat, called so yee, worn by fishermen and farmers for centuries in China.
Colorful woven art, and Chinese shoes and slippers for bound feet.
Colorful woven art, and Chinese shoes and slippers for bound feet.
Looking past the Buddha head at a fantastic, ornate alcove bed.
Looking past the Buddha head at a fantastic, ornate alcove bed.
The gilt red-lacquered alcove bed, or babu chuang, was made of southern elm in the Sichuan province in the late 19th century.
The gilt red-lacquered alcove bed, or babu chuang, was made of southern elm in the Sichuan province in the late 19th century.
Clay Chinese opera figurines represent different scenes. The characters are from local theatrical traditions, and utilize a complicated set of symbolic gestures.
Clay Chinese opera figurines represent different scenes. The characters are from local theatrical traditions, and utilize a complicated set of symbolic gestures.
Display case contains memories of military service.
Display case contains memories of military service.
Punching devices used for the Chinese Lottery of San Diego, which was popular in the Stingaree District and Chinatown. Technically illegal, the lottery was tolerated by the authorities.
Punching devices used for the Chinese Lottery of San Diego, which was popular in the red-light Stingaree District and Chinatown. Technically illegal, the lottery was tolerated by the authorities.
A scene from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The elaborate wood carving depicts the battle that Zhao Yun fought to save the sun of Liu Bei.
A scene from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The elaborate wood carving depicts the battle that Zhao Yun fought to save the sun of Liu Bei.
Manjusri altar table, from the late 19th century. Manjusri is the Bodhisattva of wisdom--he holds a sward that cuts through ignorance and illusion.
Manjusri altar table, from the late 19th century. Manjusri is the Bodhisattva of wisdom–he holds a sword that cuts through ignorance and illusion.
Terracotta horse and general are replicas from the Terracotta Army unearthed at Xian, China. They occupy a corner of the museum's outdoor Chuang Garden.
Terracotta horse and general are replicas from the Terracotta Army unearthed at Xian, China. They occupy a corner of the museum’s outdoor Chuang Garden.
Statue of Confucius, donated by the generosity of the Ministry of Education, Taiwan, Republic of China.
Statue of Confucius, donated by the generosity of the Ministry of Education, Taiwan, Republic of China.
A granite courtyard scene, 1800-1840. In this wall panel, three children representing prosperity, peer out at the street.
A granite courtyard scene, 1800-1840. In this wall panel, three children representing prosperity, peer out at the street.
A tranquil path runs beside water along the north side of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.
A tranquil path runs beside water along the north side of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.
Ornamental carving along the peaceful path.
Ornamental carving along the peaceful path.
Another warrior statue in the cool shade.
Another warrior statue in the cool shade.
Behind the horse is a tombstone made in 1796, the inaugural year of the Jia Qing Emperor. It lacks in inscription, perhaps expressing a power that no words can describe.
Behind the horse is a tombstone made in 1796, the inaugural year of the Jia Qing Emperor. It lacks in inscription, perhaps expressing a power that no words can describe.

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Art and history at the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

People walk along Broadway near the entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
People walk along Broadway near the entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

One of the sites that I visited this weekend during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017 was the SDSU Downtown Gallery. I’d never stepped into the small art gallery before. Rotating exhibits feature the work of faculty and students at SDSU.

The building in which the gallery is housed, located at the corner of Kettner Boulevard and Broadway, served as the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway. The historic railway, which served a large area of early San Diego, was established by John D. Spreckels.

According to a short tour and handout I was given, a circa 1900 building at this location served as an earlier San Diego Electric Railway power house, railcar barn and paint shop. Some enormous doors still exist in the building today where train cars would enter and exit. I also learned the extravagant 1897 Los Banos bathhouse stood at the building’s northwest corner–but there remains no trace of that historic old structure.

In 1921, San Diego Consolidated Gas and Electric Company purchased Station B, and two additions to the building were subsequently made. The additions were designed by famed architect William Templeton Johnson.

Today the original Station B power plant contains powerful works of art, and forms a section of the base of the skyscraping Electra Building, a modern residential development built in 2008.

Please enjoy some photos of the gallery and the historic building.

If you love art and find yourself downtown while the gallery is open, swing on by!

I took this photo at another time. Now part of the high-rise Electra Building, this used to be the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway.
Now part of the high-rise Electra Building, this originally was the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway.
Historical ornamentation above the front entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
Historical ornamentation above the front entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
Walk through these beads to enjoy a small but dynamic art gallery in downtown San Diego.
Walk through these beads to enjoy a small but dynamic art gallery in downtown San Diego.
Works on the gallery walls were produced by faculty and students at San Diego State University. Exhibits change every few months.
Works on the gallery walls were produced by faculty and students at San Diego State University. Exhibits change every few months.
Description of current gallery exhibit by faculty and students of San Diego State University. Every Which Way investigates artistic experience and human movement.
Description of current gallery exhibit by faculty and students of San Diego State University. Every Which Way investigates artistic experience and human movement.
Visitor to the gallery checks out thought-provoking artwork.
Visitor to the gallery checks out thought-provoking artwork.
Fear/Less, 2016, by Troy Guard.
Fear/Less, 2016, by Troy Guard.
Works of human imagination along one wall.
Works of human imagination along one wall.
The serigraphs on this wall were made by students in the SDSU Graphic Design program. Imagery depicts ocean and desert ecosystems as migratory environments.
The serigraphs on this wall were made by students in the SDSU Graphic Design program. Imagery depicts ocean and desert ecosystems as migratory environments.
More eye-catching works of art.
More eye-catching works of art.
Some of the pieces are quite unusual and creative.
Some of the pieces are quite unusual and creative.
A short talk begins in the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Just one fascinating tour during the San Diego Architectural Foundation's OPEN HOUSE 2017.
A short tour begins in the SDSU Downtown Gallery–Just one fascinating tour during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017.
We are shown various photos, including Station B behind Santa Fe Depot in the 1960s. The smokestacks were removed in the 1980s.
We are shown various photos, including Station B behind Santa Fe Depot in the 1960s. The smokestacks were removed in the 1980s.
Old photo of Los Banos, a bathhouse which was located just south of Santa Fe Depot. The neo-Moorish structure designed by William S. Hebbard and Irving J. Gill opened in 1897.
Old photo of Los Banos, a bathhouse which was located just south of Santa Fe Depot. The neo-Moorish structure designed by William S. Hebbard and Irving J. Gill opened in 1897.
One of the enormous, heavy doors is opened from inside the historic building. I was told these were used for a railcar barn. Was coal for the power plant unloaded here? I don't know.
One of the enormous, heavy doors is opened from inside the historic building. I was told these were used for a railcar barn.
Our tour walks along Broadway side of the SDSU Downtown Gallery building.
Our small tour group walks down the sidewalk along the Broadway side of the SDSU Downtown Gallery building.
Now we are at the southeast corner of the large Electra Building, which rises above the historic San Diego Gas and Electric building.
Now we are at the southeast corner of the large Electra Building, which rises above the historic San Diego Gas and Electric building.
A symbolic painting inside the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Waves Inside, 2016, by Alison Zuniga.
A symbolic painting inside the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Waves Inside, 2016, by Alison Zuniga.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!