Oil Painters of America comes to Escondido!

What is Left Unsaid, by artist Daniel Gerhartz.

An extraordinary exhibition of oil paintings by some of America’s finest artists opened at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido a couple weeks ago.

Yesterday I headed into the Center’s Museum to check out dozens of superb pieces that were created by members of the Oil Painters of America.

The Oil Painters of America has several thousand members who excel at representational oil painting, an art that has seen some decline in modern times. According to this page of their website: “Oil Painters of America was founded in 1991 by Shirl Smithson primarily to focus attention on the lasting value of fine drawing, color, composition and the appreciation of light…”

Think of those old masters in a fine art museum. Some of the exquisite works I saw yesterday appear to belong right beside them.

Contemporary art can be amazing, other mediums can be fantastic, but if you want to find a profound sense of humanity and subtle emotion in a canvas, this type of painting is hard to beat.

The exhibition is titled the 30th Annual National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils. The California Center for the Arts, Escondido is privileged to have these works on display. I noticed many of the pieces are for sale.

I loved so many of these fine paintings, it was hard to select a handful to give you an idea of what you’ll see when you enter the museum.

Whatever you do, be sure to pass through the California Center for the Arts’ Museum doors by May 16, 2021, when this fantastic exhibition of traditional oil painting draws to an end.

Taos Light, by artist Huihan Liu.
Considerations, by artist John Michael Carter.
Carpe Diem, by artist Jeff Legg.
Mother, by artist Kathie Odom.
Port Clyde Harbor, by artist Jim Carson.
Saffron In Blue Ridge, by artist Brandon Gonzales.
Into the Sun, by artist Sarah Kidner.

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!

Community sculpture at entrance to Escondido.

If you’ve ever entered or departed downtown Escondido via West Valley Parkway, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a large, quite interesting sculpture a short distance east of Interstate 15. The sculpture stands at the intersection of Valley Parkway and Tulip Street, right next to the Gateway Shopping Center.

The cast bronze sculpture is titled Community. It was created by local artist Jeff Lindeneau in 1990.

The sun’s light forms dynamic human shapes that are “cut out” of the two triangular sections of Community.

According to a City of Escondido walking tour brochure: “This bronze, copper and locally mined granite sculpture celebrates people living and building together to achieve a common goal. The dramatic sculpture’s shape is reminiscent of the mountains surrounding Escondido with a central passageway depicting the valley.”

I like how you can see trees, hillsides, signs, buildings, light posts and electrical wires inside the human shapes. They, too, are part of Community.

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!

Sliding through an enormous bunch of grapes!

I’ve seen people stomping on grapes. Now I’ve observed people happily sliding through them!

That’s because a while back I found myself near the Grape Day Park playground in Escondido. As I walked around taking photographs, I saw a couple of kids descending the Vinehenge slide!

Vinehenge was created by artists Valerie Salatino and Nancy Moran in 2004. It’s a very fun part of the City of Escondido’s public art collection!

According to a nearby information sign, city leaders launched the Grape Day Festival back in 1906. “Thousands of visitors, brought in by the Santa Fe Railroad, enjoyed free grapes, danced, socialized, and engaged in other festivities on these grounds.” Today a very wonderful Grape Day Park features the Escondido History Center Museum Complex, which I blogged about over a year ago here.

Check out these fun pics of Vinehenge and its unique grape slide!

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!

Monuments to freedom by Escondido City Hall.

Several plaques and monuments honoring military veterans can be found around Grape Day Park in Escondido. One tribute, the Wall of Courage, I previously photographed here.

At the east end of the park, between Broadway and Escondido’s City Hall, two marble monuments stand together in the shade of trees.

The four sides of an obelisk display the United States Constitution’s first Ten Amendments, the Bill of Rights, which guarantees our individual rights and liberty. According to a plaque at its base, the obelisk was presented by the Escondido Rotary Club to the City of Escondido on July 4, 1976, during our nation’s Bicentennial.

The second monument honors all veterans who serve to defend that freedom. The memorial was dedicated twenty years later, in 1996 on Veterans Day.

It reads: The eternal gratitude of the citizens of Escondido and the nation is extended to every man and woman, living or dead, who wore the uniform of our military services with honor past, present and future.

A flag flies above both.

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 Wall Speaks: photos of amazing Escondido mural!

An extraordinary 180 feet long mural was painted in Escondido, California last year. The mural celebrates the rich culture and history of this city in San Diego’s inland North County.

The mural is titled The Wall Speaks. It was created by artists and long-time Escondido residents Leslie Mayer and Cindy Peters. You can find it along a winding pathway next to a low wall outside the Escondido Community Child Development Center, located at 9th Avenue and Tulip Street.

I headed up to Escondido yesterday to view this colorful artwork, which I’ve heard about on several occasions. It was well worth the trip! I started taking photos on the right side of the very long mural, and worked my way to the left.

Right end of The Wall Speaks at Escondido Community Child Development Center. A walk through the Culture and History of Escondido.
Right end of The Wall Speaks at Escondido Community Child Development Center. A walk through the Culture and History of Escondido.
The Wall Speaks mural was painted by artists Leslie Mayer and Cindy Peters.
The Wall Speaks mural was painted by artists Leslie Mayer and Cindy Peters.
In memory of Enrique Morales, 1969-2019. He built this brick wall. In the distance among the stars is historic Palomar Observatory.
In memory of Enrique Morales, 1969-2019. He built this brick wall. In the distance among the stars is historic Palomar Observatory.
Champagne Village at Lawrence Welk Resort.
Champagne Village at Lawrence Welk Resort.
Dixon Lake trout derby.
Dixon Lake trout derby.
Avocados and Ferrara Winery.
Avocados and Ferrara Winery.
Daley Ranch.
Daley Ranch.
Hillsides lined with orange trees.
Hillsides lined with orange trees.
Rube's Fabulous Country Corner store.
Rube’s Fabulous Country Corner store.
Ups-N-Downs roller rink and Baskin-Robbins.
Ups-N-Downs roller rink and Baskin-Robbins.
Original Escondido High School and Petersons Donut Corner.
Original Escondido High School and Petersons Donut Corner.
Joor Muffler Man and the Escondido landmark archway.
Joor Muffler Man and the Escondido landmark archway.
Cruisin' Grand.
Cruisin’ Grand.
The Escondido Civic Center and Grape Day Park.
The Escondido Civic Center and Grape Day Park.
Old Escondido, including the 1896 A. H. Beach House and the historic Santa Fe Depot.
Old Escondido, including the 1896 A. H. Beach House and the historic Santa Fe Depot.
Child learns about the culture and history of Escondido reading a book titled The Wall Speaks.
Child learns about the culture and history of Escondido reading a book titled The Wall Speaks.
Kit Carson and monument at San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park.
Kit Carson and monument at San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
The mysterious 1929 Big Tepee of A.L. “Abram” Houghtelin.
The mysterious 1929 Big Tepee of A.L. “Abram” Houghtelin.
Kids of Escondido Community Child Development Center play on big Snake Slide inspired by Queen Califia's Magical Circle.
Kids of Escondido Community Child Development Center play on big Snake Slide inspired by Queen Califia’s Magical Circle.
Sombrero Slide at Kit Carson Park.
Sombrero Slide at Kit Carson Park.
Queen Califia's Magical Circle by internationally famous artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
Queen Califia’s Magical Circle by internationally famous artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
Native American grinding acorns and Escondido vineyards.
Native American grinding acorns and Escondido vineyards.
Felicita County Park.
Felicita County Park.
Making adobe bricks at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.
Making adobe bricks at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.
Lake Hodges Pedestrian Suspension Bridge.
Lake Hodges Pedestrian Suspension Bridge.
Lake Hodges Dam.
Lake Hodges Dam.

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!

Holidays arrive at Escondido’s old train depot!

I returned to Escondido yesterday because I wanted to check out an extraordinary mural I’d been told about. During my visit I walked around Grape Day Park, and admired the many holiday decorations that are part of the California Center for the Arts’ outdoor Northern Lights event every evening.

During my daytime stroll through the park, I saw strung lights and Christmas displays and suspended snowflakes and reindeer on the grass that would certainly be very beautiful at night. But my most favorite thing–probably because I like trains–was the historic Escondido Santa Fe Depot and its nearby Pullman Car #92. The holiday decorations at the old railroad station were very unique!

As you can read on one sign that I photographed, the 1888 depot in its heyday “was the nerve center of Escondido, a scene of commercial activity and a social gathering place…The Escondido History Center moved the Santa Fe Depot to Grape Day Park in 1984…”

While the wonderful old train station might no longer be a center for much commercial activity, it definitely remains a social gathering place when the lights come on during the holiday season!

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!

A walk down Escondido’s Grand Avenue.

On Sunday I returned to Escondido. I wanted to explore Grand Avenue–the heart of historic downtown Escondido–a little more thoroughly.

Earlier this year I visited Maple Street Plaza on a Sunday and took a quick look from its south end up and down Grand Avenue. What I glimpsed wasn’t encouraging. Few people. Inactive storefronts. But had I walked a block or two east I would have found a much more lively scene!

Grand Avenue resembles the historic old main streets of many American towns. What used to be the central business district is now home to a multitude of cozy eateries, specialty shops, salons and antique stores. There’s an old restored movie theater, a Rotary Club street clock, a gazebo in a small sunny park, and a friendly feeling of community. During my walk I saw many families just walking along like me, enjoying a late Sunday morning.

I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about Escondido. If you don’t either, enjoy these photos of Grand Avenue as if we are walking together.

I started at the big Escondido landmark sign at Centre City Parkway and headed east. To see some great mosaics in the sidewalk at the intersection, check out my earlier blog post here!

You see that unusual sculpture in the median? I know nothing about it!

I really enjoyed peering into the window of the Timekeepers Watch and Clock Shop and took several photos. Indeed, my walk felt a little like travelling back in time.

After I passed the south end of Maple Street Plaza, I enjoyed looking into the windows of more antique stores. I noticed more and more people sitting in front of various restaurants enjoying Sunday breakfast or an early lunch. (People are dining on sidewalks and streets this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.)

There’s a very cool display near the entrance to the restored The Ritz Theater, which originally opened in 1937. You can see old film reels and all sorts of interesting equipment that was used in this historic movie house. Unfortunately bright street reflections were impossible for my camera to overcome.

I turned around at Valley Boulevard and headed back west along the opposite sidewalk.

According to a nearby plaque, that great mural on the corner of a building is titled Escondido, the Hidden Valley. It’s by artist Daniel Hernandez.

Finally–you see that cool old car coming down the street near the end of my photos? Grand Avenue is probably best known for its popular Cruisin’ Grand vintage auto show event on Friday nights! (Something I haven’t experienced yet.)

Here we go…

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Beautiful mosaics in Escondido sidewalk!

My Sunday walk along Grand Avenue in Escondido began at Centre City Parkway–the Mercado area across from the big Escondido landmark sign. Just as I started east down the sidewalk my eyes suddenly fell upon a gorgeous tile mosaic at my feet!

A quick exploration of the intersection and I found three more similar mosaics!

I’ve since learned that the four circular mosaics were created by local artist Tama Dumlao and installed in 2003. As you can see, they pay tribute to art, entertainment and shopping in Escondido’s historic downtown, and its Friday night Cruisin’ Grand tradition!

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!

Escondido community paints street barriers on Grand!

The community of Escondido has come together in the past few weeks to paint about a hundred concrete barriers along Grand Avenue with beautiful, inspiring artwork!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, eateries along Grand Avenue in historic downtown Escondido have been allowed to open outdoor patios on the sidewalk and street. To keep lanes of traffic safely separated from diners, ugly gray concrete barriers were placed along the avenue. But those who love to create art saw numerous blank canvases!

The Beautify Escondido mural project has resulted in numerous colorful works of art that promote love, hope, friendship and community, not to mention businesses along Grand Avenue. I see the Escondido Art Association has been instrumental in coordinating this very cool project.

I must admit, when I last visited Escondido on a Sunday and took photos of the Maple Street Plaza, my brief look at Grand Avenue didn’t do it justice. To my eyes Grand Avenue had appeared quiet, deserted. But had I walked a block or two east into the heart of Escondido’s historic downtown, I would’ve seen many people eating, walking, looking in the windows of antique stores, and enjoying life.

I took additional photos of my adventure on Grand Avenue yesterday, and will share them shortly!

Okay, ready to see lots and lots of awesome artwork?

Here we go!

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!

Mother and child sculpture on Escondido bench.

Today I enjoyed walk down Grand Avenue, through the heart of Escondido’s historic downtown. I have many colorful photographs coming up!

During my walk I was struck by a wonderful sculpture in front of Felipe’s Restaurant. Life-size cast bronze figures sit on a public bench. A mother holds a small child, who is reaching curiously into her purse. It’s a celebration of ordinary living.

This public art is by T.J. Dixon, whose many extraordinary sculptures can be viewed all around San Diego. Created in 1990, the piece’s title is Reflections on Downtown.

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!