Naoko creates a flower.

I met artist Naoko Ozaki today at the Art Club of San Diego show in Balboa Park. She was very nice and demonstrated Japanese brush painting for my camera.

Together let’s watch her gather brush, black ink and paper, and magically create a flower!

Naoko Ozaki can be found at this website.

Her art is both subtle and powerful.

Like a memory.

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!

Art Club of San Diego creates memory, dreams.

Several years ago I attended the Art Club of San Diego’s summer show in Balboa Park. You can revisit that memory here.

Today, as I walked through Balboa Park past the Casa del Prado, I noticed this group of local artists was having their 17th Annual Art Show.

I love Japanese art. It’s suggestive, dreamlike, and has a deep spiritual quality. Naturally I stepped inside.

I met a group of very nice people. The artists whose creative work was on display were Hiroko Szechinski, Kayo Beach, Kazue Knowlton, Joe Cross, Louise Rendich, Keiko Kitano, Teri Ashabraner and Naoko Ozaki. Their diverse artwork includes ceramics, calligraphy, ikebana (flower arrangement) and brush painting.

I was informed the Art Club of San Diego welcomes new members! If you want to learn more, or perhaps would like to purchase one of their pieces, you can find contact info at the bottom left corner of the following flyer. (Click the photo and it will enlarge for easy reading.)

I was glad my feet turned this way today. As I walked among these precious works of art, I felt I was walking through a beautiful memory, or a dream.

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 of Queen Califia’s Magical Circle!

Come with me. We’re about to enter Queen Califia’s Magical Circle.

We will step from our day-to-day routine into a mysterious maze of fractured white and black, turns and mirrors. We will suddenly emerge into a strange spiritual realm. A dreamlike surreal somewhere beneath our ordinary experience. A secret cosmos.

We will move through a fertile landscape teeming with faces and essential forms and wildly dancing colors and true symbols. Alive with infinitely circling snakes and joyfully soaring birds. We will find ourselves in Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, where our eyes will perceive our own existence more clearly.

Where life is triumphant.

These are the hands of those who assembled the magic.

That is the hand of sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle, who envisioned this magical circle and breathed into it her life.

(Click the photos of signs and they will enlarge for easier reading.)

You will learn:

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is the only American sculpture garden and the last major international project created by the renowned French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle.

Inspired by California’s mythic, historic and cultural roots, the garden consists of nine large-scale sculptures, a circular “snake wall” and maze entry way. The symbols and forms are freely drawn from Native American, Pre-Columbian and Mexican art as well as the artist’s own fantastic imagery.

Queen Califia and the Eagle Throne measures 24 x 22 x 20 feet. It is built of polystyrene encased in urethane skin with applied fiberglass coating over a steel armature.

Working from original clay maquettes, the eight totems were made in similar fashion. They are: Cathead Totem, Birdhead Totem, Yelling Man Totem, Bullhead Totem, Untitled Totem (Bird on a Square), Kingfisher Totem, Step Totem and Snake Totem.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle uses a greater diversity of mosaic materials than seen in any of Niki de Saint Phalle’s other large-scale projects. For the first time she used polished and tumbled stones such as agates, quartzes and turquoise. The results are magical and ever changing.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is nestled in a natural landscape within Escondido’s Kit Carson Park.

Niki’s original inspiration for the garden came while she was reading Assembling California by geologist John McPhee. There he discusses the legend of Queen Califia, a beautiful and powerful black Amazon queen who ruled over the island of California, a paradise of gold and riches.

The information sign includes an article concerning the opening of Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in 2003. “The garden promises to become an instantaneous cultural landmark for the San Diego region–a place where visitors can roam at will, play, touch, dream…”

…a shimmering, virtuoso display of mosaic art…

A short biography of Niki de Saint Phalle. She was born in France in 1930 and raised in New York. She first came to international prominence in 1961 as part of the influential “New Realists,” a group that also included Christo, Yves Klein and Jean Tinguely (whom she married in 1971). In 1994 she moved to La Jolla, where she lived until her death in 2002.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle was completed one year after her death.

Other works of Niki de Saint Phalle can be enjoyed around San Diego. (You can find photos of them by searching this blog.)

Life raises new 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!

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!

The gigantic bronze leaves of Kit Carson Park.

Five enormous eucalyptus leaves seem to have fallen beside a walking path in Escondido’s lush, beautiful Kit Carson Park. You can find them near the adult softball fields, just above Tree Lake.

The huge leaves are cast in bronze. One is gently curved to form a bench. Two stand on their stems to form a graceful arch. One edgewise on the grass seems to be blowing in the wind. The end of one seems to have become pressed into the walking path by passing feet.

These five timeless leaves were created by artist Christine Oatman in 1991. Together they are titled Eucalyptus Leaf Court.

Late this morning I sat on the leaf bench and time stopped. I was very small. As if in a dream, the trees around me were gigantic.

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!

How the most wonderful dreams are made real.

Your most wonderful dreams can turn into reality . . . with effort, optimism and dogged persistence. And patience. And unwavering vision.

Over the years I’ve recorded many instances of extraordinary–even improbable–dreams coming true. I’ve learned about or have met people who raise their eyes toward a distant, shimmering dream, then reach up to grab it.

All of these individuals are motivated by an undying passion.

Here are a few instances that I happen to remember. I’ve blogged about athletes who achieve the pinnacle of success; artists, inventors and visionaries who create astonishing new wonders; students who step confidently into the future…

Click the following links:

Celebration of Champions at Elite Athlete Training Center!

“There is no shortcut to true success.”

More photos of amazing, experimental holographic art!

An amazing cube, like real Space: full of stars!

The fantastic, amazing Harper’s Topiary Garden!

Aviation history at Waldo Dean Waterman Park.

World’s most amazing car, displayed in San Diego!

Cool photos of creativity at Maker Faire San Diego!

Salk Institute architect Louis Kahn: an amazing exhibit!

Founders of Balboa Park linger in Sefton Plaza.

Kid entrepreneurs showcase their creativity!

San Diego school students do amazing things!

What amazing things will you do?

An amazing cube, like real Space: full of stars!

One of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen made its very first appearance this evening in San Diego. Mitchell Walker, who plays didgeridoo in Balboa Park and Seaport Village, has completed an epic project that began as a dream almost 40 years ago. He has officially completed The Great Stellarium Project!

Mitchell’s 30-inch Plexiglas cube which contains a three-dimensional star map–his amazing Stellarium–made its debut in Balboa Park near the Fleet Science Center. The Stellarium was admired by curious passersby, and by astronomy lovers who’d gathered for the monthly stargazing “Stars In The Park” event of the San Diego Astronomy Association.

Mitchell has an irrepressible smile and a great sense of humor. One of his biggest passions is science fiction–Star Trek in particular. For much of his life he’s had a strong fascination with astronomy.

Years ago, Mitchell’s dream to recreate a part of our galaxy was inspired by the star map that figures in the film The UFO Incident. His idea was to design a transparent cube that holds an accurate portrayal of the stars nearest to our sun. His first attempt to invent such a marvel resulted in a cube that was 15 inches square. He still uses that smaller cube as a night light.

The impressive 30-inch Stellarium that debuted today displays our “stellar neighborhood” within 50 light years of Sol, the sun. Our tiny corner of the galaxy took Mitchell a little over a year to build. The 166 stars are obviously not to scale, but the distances between them and their relative positions around Sol are accurate. Each tiny star, attached to a filament that is almost invisible, shines with fluorescent paint in the color that matches its spectral classification. In darkness, under the cube’s black light, the effect is extraordinary.

After the sun set this evening, I sat on a nearby park bench and watched as people stopped to peer into the dreamlike Stellarium. Some pressed a button at the cube’s base to listen to Mitchell’s recorded audio narration.

Clouds unfortunately concealed the night sky. For a magical moment or two, members of the San Diego Astronomy Association abandoned their nearby telescopes and joined their friend Mitchell Walker, to gaze into a wondrous cube full of stars.

Please visit Mitchell’s web page that describes his Stellarium here.

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!

Oil paintings created on San Diego train ride!

Travelling by a train is like moving through a dream. The window beside your seat produces ever-changing visions. Glimpses of the world blink past, one after another. Your eyes are subject to a series of momentary impressions.

It can be hard to capture good photographs when riding the train up the coast from San Diego. You’re moving, there’s a dusty window and reflections to deal with, and of course there’s the critical matter of timing. When I snapped photos yesterday during my Coaster train ride from San Diego to Encinitas, most of the images turned out badly blurred and poorly framed.

So I decided to use the Oilify filter of GIMP’s graphics software to transform the photos of my journey into a series of dreamlike oil paintings!

All aboard! We’re about to leave downtown’s Santa Fe Depot . . .

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!